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Latest Legislation Further Criminalises Beneficiaries

Media release Wednesday 20 February 2013

National's Latest Intrusive Legislation Further Criminalises And Stigmatises Beneficiaries

Today National has launched yet more legislation aimed at further criminalising and pauperising beneficiaries - and their partners, says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Sarah Thompson.

“People who are not in the welfare system rarely understand how intrusive Work and Income is in judging when and if people are in relationships in the nature of marriage.

“It's no surprise that so much 'fraud' occurs in this area, as one person's 'marriage' can mean something quite different in reality.

“The effect of these changes will be that even more low income people are criminalised because of the State's interference in this sensitive area, and will lose what income and assets they may have.

“An increase in intimate partner violence is another likely result leading from the threat of partner prosecution.

“A new category of beneficiaries will be created called 'low trust beneficiaries' - who will be treated as an inferior class of beneficiary, subject to even more intimidation and harassment than already applies.

“This legislation will further entrench the dangerous place beneficiaries already occupy in the New Zealand psyche as the group of people most discriminated against, as per the recent Human Rights Commission report.

“Increased information sharing between agencies and the fact that MSD has no obligation to let people know they are under investigation are further proof that the government leaves no stone unturned in its bid to prosecute and persecute people on or applying for benefits.

“Auckland Action Against Poverty believes that ultimately the only real solution to this horrendous blame and shame culture is the introduction of a UBI, a universal basic income which will do away with this whole state apparatus of control over human relationships, more reminiscent of a totalitarian state than of a free and compassionate society.


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