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Bennett’s sanctions against kids must stop

22 October 2013

Bennett’s sanctions against kids must stop

Paula Bennett must immediately stop her benefit sanctions regime following new revelations it is actively hurting children, the Green Party said today.

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) research today damns Ms Bennett’s sanction regime for harming children, failing to monitor the full impact of the sanctions on children, and putting their wellbeing behind her drive to get beneficiaries into work.

“Minister Bennett needs to stop her sanctions regime, or tell New Zealand how many children she is prepared to harm if she won’t,” said Green Party income support spokesperson, Jan Logie.

“CPAG’s analysis is new information and is a very useful contribution to understanding the Government’s brutal reforms.

“Paula Bennett has to ask herself the question – does she intend to be the Minister that puts more children into poverty or does she want to be the Minister to protect children from poverty?

“At the moment her sanctions policies are putting more kids and their families at risk.

“CPAG has highlighted how the children of beneficiaries are being singled out for different treatment than other kids. They’re being forced to attend preschool at 3, when other children don’t have to, and if their parents don’t send them parental income is halved. This is unnecessarily harmful to those children.

CPAG found a worrying lack of information about the sanctions is being collected by the Minister, which amounts to her putting her fingers in her ears and her head in the sand.

“We would like to see the Ministry undertake monitoring to provide transparent public reporting as recommended by the Welfare Working Group.

“I have repeatedly called for a comprehensive evaluation of the implementation of the Government’s Welfare Reforms. CPAG’s research highlights just how important this is. These reforms affect the most vulnerable people in New Zealand. We need to be sure they are not causing more harm.

“The fact that the Government does not have adequate data on the outcomes of key reforms is simply unacceptable, Ms Logie said.

ENDS

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