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Current Welfare System Leaves People Unable To Meet Basic Costs And Means “Ongoing Struggle” - Poverty Action Waikato

A Waikato-based poverty action group is calling for the Government to take urgent action to increase benefits by a substantial amount on the two year anniversary of the release of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group report.

Poverty Action Waikato, which works with local campaigners and individuals on benefits, has been told of how the welfare system does not provide enough for very basic costs, and causes anxiety.

Shepherd Isaac, a Poverty Action Waikato campaigner, describes the stress and strain caused by the rules and culture of the welfare system: “For me, being on a sickness benefit has meant ongoing struggle. I wanted to get well, but the stress and strain of living on a benefit makes this really difficult.”

Anna Casey-Cox of Poverty Action Waikato says: “Poverty, exclusion and stress go hand in hand. A lack of income tears at the heart of our community, making life too tough for many.”

Poverty Action Waikato is one of 75 organisations that signed a letter to the Government calling for benefits to be increased by Christmas 2020. A large number of those organisations have continued the collaboration, and are calling for the Government to raise benefits by a substantial amount in Budget 2021 on 20 May, to ensure everyone who needs it has a liveable income.

Dr. Gaurav Shama, MP for Hamilton West, agreed with Poverty Action’s demand to increase benefits at a meeting in Hamilton at Community Waikato on 19 April.

“It was good to hear Dr. Sharma say that he supports our demand. Life on a benefit has been too hard for too long. Now we just want action”, Shepherd Isaac says.

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