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Benefit numbers rise in Invercargill

More and more Southlanders are struggling to put a roof over their heads and are in need of Government support, MP for Invercargill Sarah Dowie says.

“In the two years since this Labour-led Government came to office, the number of Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants and benefit advances handed out has skyrocketed.

“The Ministry of Social Development’s figures for the September 2019 quarter show 250 people called on the Invercargill Work and Income Centre for assistance, exploding from 46 at the same time in 2017. That amounted to the taxpayer forking out $156,000, a 370 per cent increase.

“The number of benefit advances given in Invercargill, which is a one-off payment to help pay an essential bill or emergency cost, paints a similar picture. From issues 972 grants at a cost of $389,000 in September 2017, MSD’s most recent figures show this has ballooned out to $568,000.

“Under the previous National Government the number of people seeking assistances was far less due to our strong economy and better job creation. The current Government’s policies have led to an increase in the cost of living, and New Zealanders are feeling it.

“Off the back of the confirmed SIT mega-merger, uncertainty surrounding Tiwai’s future and Labour’s continued disdain for farmers, the message is clear: Southlanders can’t afford this Government.”

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