Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

The Way Out Of Poverty Is Work

A woman who has worked for Plunket for 30 years recently contacted me about the need for social welfare reform. She said that if welfare was working, families who had been on welfare the longest would have the best gardens, their homes would smell of cleanliness and home cooking, and the children would be well nurtured and cared for. Instead, she said, their gardens were often the worst in the street, their homes smelt of booze and cigarettes and filth, and the children were often neglected and unhealthy.

If the symptoms of intergenerational welfare are so clear, and the effects so damaging, I wonder why professionals who work in the field have not collectively called for widespread structural reform... or maybe they have, but no-one has listened. While countries all over the world are making significant changes to welfare in order to prevent damage to children, parents and indeed, whole families, New Zealand has done little.

What is worse the political parties on the left want to reverse the only real initiative to have emerged in the last decade - the community wage. The major impact of the community wage has been to take away the notion that a benefit is a right and a lifelong entitlement and replace it with the notion of a reciprocal obligation. By encouraging long term unemployed job seekers to become work ready by participating in community work, many have progressed into full time employment.

It is time that the opportunities that the community wage scheme provides are offered to all other job seekers. After all, finding work these days is a full-time challenge. A programme is already in place, which helps to build the discipline, and the skills as well as developing the right attitude, and all job seekers would gain from participation.

The Rangitira Trust in Otara has helped 70% of its community wage workers find a job. Their "graffiti busting" team has cleaned up Otara, bringing pride back into the community, helping to make it a safe place to raise a family. The Trust exemplifies not only the value of the scheme but also the importance of community delivery of welfare services. People who live in the community and who care are better positioned to help others find a job than government bureaucrats do with their focus on Wellington.

This election is producing clear choices for the future of welfare - The Alliance wants to abolish the community wage scheme and make benefits more generous, Labour wants to simply abolish the scheme, and National wants to retain the status quo. Only ACT wants to extend assistance programmes so that welfare provides a hand up to work. Only ACT acknowledges that the welfare trap damages children and that is the way out of poverty is work.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

The Pike River Mine Drift will be re-entered, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced today.

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little...

“The advice I have received indicates that it is likely to be around February before the re-entry proper gets underway, by breaching the 30m seal.” More>>

 

Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>

ALSO:

Rebuilding: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>

ALSO:

Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>

ALSO:

"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>

ALSO:

Govt Loses In Supreme Court: Call For Debate On Prisoners' Right To Vote

The court earlier this week upheld a High Court decision which found that a law restricting a prisoner's right to vote was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels