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Cuts to vital safety nets for women and children a sad day

Cuts to vital safety nets for women and children a sad day for New Zealand

Deep government cuts to vital safety nets and anti-violence services put vulnerable women and children in the path of real harm, says Labour Deputy Leader and Social Policy spokesperson Annette King

Front-line organisations are growing increasingly concerned about government cuts to the sector. The latest revealed sees women's refuges and front-line anti-violence workers around New Zealand losing $700,000 in funding.

"Social Development Minister Paula Bennett decision's to sign off on $700,000 worth of cuts, which will badly erode vital services to protect the vulnerable, is a sad day for New Zealand," Annette King said.

"In the same month as Ms Bennett says how she is 'incensed' every time she hears a story of child abuse, she is stripping away vital funding to safe havens for battered women and children and crucial anti-violence and child advocate staff nationwide.

"Perhaps this is one of the 'nice-to-haves' John Key and Bill English keep talking about.

"Her actions give the lie to government rhetoric that it is all about cutting 'backroom staff' and 'creating efficiencies' so that those on the front line have more resources.

"These cuts expose government spin for the sham that it is.

"They also clearly show the folly of the government's ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach, when John Key and Paula Bennett know, like everyone in the sector knows, that resources going into prevention measures are desperately needed.

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"As one practitioner says: 'the child advocates [which are being cut] were specifically about building a stronger protection - trying to get a little bit back from the top of the cliff to build a stronger capacity within communities for prevention. New Zealand will be virtually locked into a cycle of shocking child abuse unless more resourcing is put into really good quality prevention'.

"That says is all. Paula Bennett is presiding over a hollowing out of essential services for the most vulnerable people in our society. The potential for greater harm than ever is extremely worrying," Annette King said.

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