75th anniversary time to restore dignity to welfare state
Social Development Spokesperson
13 September 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT
75th anniversary a time to restore dignity to the welfare state
Tomorrow marks 75 years since social security was introduced in New Zealand and a time to restore dignity to our welfare state, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.
“Our welfare state has been subjected to significant changes, many of which have been negative. We have lost dignity in our social security system, particularity in the way people are treated.
“Michael Joseph Savage established the welfare system with the belief that every New Zealander was entitled to a ‘reasonable standard of living in days when they are unable to look after themselves’.
“Savage never viewed the welfare state in isolation and nor should this Government. Its purpose is give people the opportunity to make their lives better -- be it through further work or training.
“The Government has been more interested in narrowing these opportunities, rather than broadening them through policies which have resulted in fewer out of work young people getting help and scrapping the training incentive allowance.
“Savage did not want to see a New Zealand divided into the deserving and undeserving poor, and yet Paula Bennett’s social obligations do exactly that.
“With welfare comes rights and responsibilities, but it should also come with basic dignity. If we want people to feel confident, able and well enough to move into work, we need to create a supportive transition for those who can and dignified ongoing support for those who cannot.
“A Labour government will return the focus of our welfare system to training and education,” Jacinda Ardern says.