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MPs shut out of “diverse” welfare forum

MPs shut out of “diverse” welfare forum

Green MPs have been shut out of this week’s Welfare Working Group forum, the Green Party said today.

“The forum is supposed to bring together a diversity of views and opinions, but that apparently does not stretch as far as opposition welfare spokespeople,” Green Party Work and Income spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said.

Ms Delahunty registered for the forum on 19 May – the day registrations opened – along with Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei and a staff member.

All three received emails confirming their attendance the next day. Late last week they received a second confirmation email including the forum timetable, only to receive a retraction announcing that their registration could no longer be accommodated to due high demand.

“Of course the forum should maximise the participation of community and volunteer organisations, but this doesn’t mean shutting out opposition MPs,” Ms Delahunty said.

“The Green Party has a strong relationship with beneficiary advocacy and community groups, a distinct policy position, and a strong track record of leadership on issues of work and income. We would have made a positive contribution to the forum.

“We were also hoping to learn from those present at the forum to inform our position on work and income issues in Parliament, but even our advisor has been excluded.

“We would have been happy to send just one representative in order to free up spaces for community groups, but total exclusion at such late notice is unacceptable.

“I suspect we have been targeted for exclusion for our opposition to the Future Focus legislation. We also exposed confusion over the appointment of Peter Saunders as an advisor to the Welfare Working Group.

“You have to wonder how ‘diverse’ the forum will be if opposition MPs are being shut out at the last minute,” Ms Delahunty said.


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