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Bennett denies women same education support she had

16 February 2011

Bennett denies women same education support she had

The Government should reinstate the Training Incentive Allowance for sole parent beneficiaries in higher level degree courses, in light of new evidence that students are unhappily turning to prostitution in order to make ends meet, the Green Party said today.

In a report in the New Zealand Herald today, sole parent Tania Wysocki revealed she has turned to prostitution in order to pay for childcare and travel costs associated with her study because she is not eligible for the Training Incentive Allowance due to being accepted into a degree level course.

“Tania wants to make a better life for herself and her kids but the Government’s policy is holding her back and makes it almost impossible for her to study,” said Green Party Income Support spokesperson Jan Logie.

“The reality for mums like Tania is that by the time they travel to and from class, study all day and then feed and take care of their kids, there is very little time to work and even fewer jobs that slot into their available hours.

“Going into sex work because you can’t see any other options is not a free choice.

“The Government wants to move people from benefits into work. But the reality for many sole parents is they require more support than the Government currently offers.

“The TIA used to pay for course costs and help out with childcare and transport to study cost. Students should not have to unwillingly turn to prostitution in order to cover the basic costs associated with getting a degree.”

The TIA it is no longer available for degree-level courses after a 2009 decision by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

“The crazy thing is that if Tania did a lower level course she would get the TIA. But because she has been successfully accepted into a higher level course to become a vet nurse she is not eligible,” said Ms Logie.

"Reinstating and extending the axed Training Incentive Allowance (TIA) would help approximately 10,000 people on benefits to upskill and improve their employment prospects at very little cost to the Government.

"The Ministry of Social Development's own research shows that people who receive the TIA move off the benefit six months earlier, on average, than those who don't.

"Paula Bennett got the TIA to get a university education while on the benefit, but she is denying the same level of opportunity she got to women like Tania who want to make a better life their kids.

"Reinstating the TIA would have a positive impact on child poverty rates, by helping sole parents move off subsistence-level benefits more quickly, and it would help those with illnesses and impairments to move into work that's appropriate for their level of impairment.

"We need to close the gap between the haves and the have nots. Making sure women on the DPB get a fair shot at education helps create a more equal society that is better for everyone.”

ENDS

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