Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


‘Open your eyes’ Caritas tells select committee



30 November 2012

‘Open your eyes’ Caritas tells Committee considering welfare changes

Catholic social justice agency Caritas has told a Parliamentary select committee to open its eyes to economic realities in its legislative oversight of government welfare changes.

‘There’s no point extending job queues by asking the ”blind and the lame”, and others in difficulty, to keep on proving they are seeking work,’ says Caritas research and advocacy coordinator Lisa Beech.

‘Increasing the size of the job queues at this time is unreasonable,’ she told the Social Services Select Committee considering the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill this week. ‘Having 400 people in line for 10 supermarket check-out jobs rather than 200 is not going to make more work magically available. But it is making life much harder and more stressful for people.’

Under the Bill, an invalid’s beneficiary who is reclassified as a ‘job-seeker’ will face a cut in income from $256 to $213 a week – effectively a benefit cut of $42 per week.

‘The blind will not see, and the lame will not walk as a result of this legislation,’ Lisa Beech told the Committee, ‘But their incomes will be cut while they are sent out to search for jobs that are simply not there. That is far from being good news for the poor.’

Caritas CEO Julianne Hickey said that Caritas opposed the Bill because, like the Welfare Working Group which preceded the legislation, the Bill focused on the motivation and behaviour of individuals who receive benefits, rather than the economic and structural context of unemployment.

‘Assumptions that the root causes of unemployment are to be found in the behaviour of individuals has resulted in legislation which focuses on individual behavior,’ she said.

Caritas challenged the Select Committee to fulfil its constitutional role as representatives of the Legislature in overseeing the power of Cabinet – the Executive branch of government.

Lisa Beech told the Committee they had not yet been fully informed about the serious concerns of the community to the measures proposed in the Bill, despite three years of engagement by Caritas and many other organisations in the processes of the Welfare Working Group, Alternative Welfare Working Group and the Select Committee process around the first phase of welfare reform.

‘The role of the Select Committee is not merely to rubberstamp decisions of the Executive, or to provide some kind of legal proofreading of minor details of legislation.’

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Labour: Little Announces New Shadow Cabinet

“Labour had an impressive intake of fresh faces after last year’s election and newest MPs have now had a year to show what they’re made of. This reshuffle rewards hard work and continues my drive to renew our Caucus line up." More>>


Because Reasons: Someone Reckons David Seymour Is Politician Of The Year

Trans Tasman's 11th annual Roll Call has thrown a curve ball this year, ignoring the likes of John Key, Bill English, and Winston Peters to pick its politician of the year from the ranks of the new generation. More>>


Whaling: NZ Deeply Disappointed By Japan's Decision

“New Zealand is strongly opposed to whaling in the Southern Ocean. We call on Japan to take heed of the 2014 International Court of Justice decision and international scientific advice concerning their whaling activities.” More>>


Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



More RSS  RSS News AlertsNews Alerts
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news