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Govt. cuts youth allowances by stealth - Labour

Labour
2000 web siteLabour youth affairs spokesperson Lianne Dalziel says young people have been dealt a dirty blow by the Government's transfer of responsibility for the Youth Corps programmes allowance payments from the Ministry of Youth Affairs to WINZ.

Lianne Dalziel said the transfer, which came into effect today, meant that 16 and 17 year olds on the youth corps programmes will no longer get an allowance - about $95 a week.

While no individual will have their allowance taken away, it does mean that 16 and 17-year- olds starting the programme this week will get no entitlement.

Lianne Dalziel quizzed Youth Affairs Ministry Officials about the change during today's Government Administration Select Committee.

"Basically, they now come under WINZ's community wage rules which cuts out 16 and 17 year olds from getting allowances unless they can prove that they are estranged from their family. This comes on top of denying 16 and 17 year olds the training allowance - a move which Labour also opposed.

"I was shocked that Youth Affairs officials seemed to defend the denial of payments to the younger youth corps participants as being in line with other changes. They also admitted today that they did not discuss the ramifications with WINZ before the changeover was made. It is a major change in entitlement, yet the Government has sneaked it in without discussion or consultation.

"Young people who participate in youth corps programmes - which includes conservation corps and youth service corps - gain skills, confidence and experiences to help them get permanent jobs or go onto further education and training. By cutting their allowances the Government is telling them they may as well be doing nothing," Lianne Dalziel said.

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