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Greens issue two-tier welfare policy

10 October 1999

Greens issue two-tier welfare policy

Benefit stand-down periods and differential youth rates must be abolished, as part of an overhaul of the Social Welfare system, the Green Party says.

Green Party Enterprise, Employment and Income Support spokesperson Sue Bradford said the benefit system had to be simplified with a two-tier system of income support.

There should be one base-benefit level across all types of income support, and a second tier of add-ons for each child or specific need, such as disability, she said.

Youth rates had to go.

"It makes no economic, dietary, or human sense to tell someone aged under 24 that they need less money to live on than the rest of us - anyone who is feeding and clothing growing teenagers or young adults will confirm this."

The Green Party supported a reduction in state housing rental levels to 25% per cent of family income.

The party has also pledged to investigate resuming the universal child benefit.

"It is one of the silent tragedies of our time that the only income a mother controlled for herself and her child was allowed to slip away," Ms Bradford said.

The work-for-the-dole scheme - "which punishes people for the crime of being unemployed," Ms Bradford said - should be abolished.

"It's time we stopped treating hundreds of thousands of adults and children as third-class citizens, and worked together in a truly socially responsible society.

"Too much time is spent on arguing about who deserves what and administering complex social welfare schemes. We need something which everyone understands and is simple to administer."

Ms Bradford discussed Green social welfare policies at a Social Policy Forum in Milford, Auckland, yesterday which raised money for the Auckland City Mission.

Sue Bradford 025 243.4239 or 09.4238667

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