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John Key: Misleading The Nation On Youth Benefit

Rotorua Peoples Advocacy Centre

MEDIA / PRESS RELEASE 4th February 2008
Attention: Cherie Taylor: Rotorua Daily Post

JOHN KEY: MISLEADING THE NATION ON YOUTH BENEFIT ENTITLEMENTS: RPAC

Spokesperson Paul Blair stated today that:

“ In recent times Rotorua teenagers that fell into the “18 and 19” year old category, had to take Court action on the Ministry of Social Development to get their full and correct entitlements and treatment from WINZ.” “ At least they had the right to vote.”

“ Now John Key is misleading the nation as to the benefit rights and entitlements of 16 and 17 year old teenagers. (Apparently this is deliberate. His office is staffed with qualified research personnel who clearly know better). These young people have no vote to fight back with against this election year demonisation and blatant falsehoods about their rights.”

“Mr Key has told the nation that if 16 and 17 year olds do not take up the offer of his free education vouchers, then those 16 and 17 year olds will not be getting any social security benefits under National, should National become the Government in 2008.”

“That statement is totally misleading and deceitful to the public of New Zealand”, he said.

“There are no welfare benefits for 16 and 17 year olds right now! Telling the nation that these non-existent benefits will somehow be cut under National, is Orwellian and deceitful.”

“Section 14 of the Social Security Amendment Act (No 2) 1990 (1990 No 74) knocked out entitlement for 16 and 17 year olds from the Unemployment Benefit, raising the minimum age of eligibility to 18 years. Similarly, section 8 of the Social Security Amendment Act (No. 2) 1991 did the same to the Sickness Benefit. All other benefits have been consequently brought into line so that in general NO 16 OR 17 YEAR OLD can get a statutory social welfare benefit.”

“Now, about “16 or 17” years after those benefits have been abolished, John Key is threatening to cut them off!” The Government at the time of the locking out of 16 and 17 year olds from the basic benefits, had to recognise a serious gap in our law and enacted the Independent Youth Benefit for 16 and 17 year olds that were forced to live independently from their parents or guardians, so they had some income support.”

“RPAC urges the Government to hold John Key to account for this blatant deceit on the nation but also to act positively and set up an independent inquiry into the policy objectives, operation, and success or otherwise, of the Independent Youth Benefit programme.”

ENDS

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