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10th Day of Xmas; let people have a say on welfare reform

17 December 2010

On the tenth day of Christmas, let people have a say on welfare reform

On the ‘tenth day of Christmas’, the Green Party today released a submission guide for responding to the Welfare Working Group’s options paper, and urged the group to extend its submission deadline past Christmas Eve so that more New Zealanders have a chance to have their say.

“The Welfare Working Group’s options paper presents the Government with a smorgasbord of largely punitive measures that would punish beneficiaries and their children,” Green Party Work and Income Spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said.

“The group’s relentless focus on moving people into work at all costs could lead to new policies next year that seriously harm beneficiaries and their children.

“It’s really important that New Zealanders have a meaningful chance to have their say on the Welfare Working Group’s paper, but they were given only a month – the last month before Christmas – to make submissions.

“It seems highly unlikely that the group will meet over Christmas, so why not extend the deadline into mid-January and give more people a chance to respond?” Ms Delahunty asked.

The Green Party today released a submission guide for responding to the Welfare Working Group’s paper, including detailed discussion points on many of the proposed options.

“We support the Alternative Welfare Working Group’s call for welfare reform to be focussed on ‘the relentless pursuit of wellbeing’ rather than work at all costs,” Ms Delahunty said.

“It’s particularly important to keep children in mind at all times. Measures like increased work tests and sanctions for parents on the Domestic Purposes Benefit fail to recognise the important work of caring for children, and could see children considerably worse off.

“Every child needs a secure home, food to grow healthy and strong, quality public education, and a safe environment. For children whose parents rely on a benefit, these essentials are not assured.

“Any reform of the welfare system must be aimed at guaranteeing the essentials to every child so that everyone gets the best possible start in life.

“Welfare reform focused on child wellbeing is on the Green Party’s Christmas wish-list to guarantee the essentials for every child, narrow the gap between the haves and the have-nots and build a fair society that’s better for everyone,” Ms Delahunty said.

Each working day before Christmas, the Green Party is highlighting a key issue related to inequality, and presenting Green solutions to those issues.

A copy of the Green Party’s submission guide on the Welfare Working Group’s options paper is available here: http://www.greens.org.nz/takeaction/submissionguides/submission-guide-welfare-working-group-options-paper

ENDS

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