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Benefit Sanctions Will Punish People Who Need Support

The National-led Government’s plans to arbitrarily increase benefit sanctions will have a lasting impact on the people who need our support the most.

“Today’s announcement confirms the Government’s goal of pushing more people into poverty via benefit sanctions,” says the Green Party spokesperson for Social Development and Employment, Ricardo Menéndez March.

“Sanctions do not work. They do not support people into meaningful employment, nor support them to participate fully in their communities. Taking away people’s incomes only makes it harder for people to get by.

“This Government is quickly building a legacy of cruelty. Instead of supporting people to provide for themselves and their whānau, this Government has actively sought to push people further and further into poverty.

“Now, today, we have yet another measure to penalise the poorest people. It is a symptom of the politics of cruelty that is driving this coalition’s policies and steering New Zealand backwards.

“For years, successive governments have been imposing requirements that make people’s lives harder - instead of the tailored support people need to find a job or retrain. After more than a decade of running work-readiness workshops, there is no decisive evidence to show they actually support people into good employment. Penalising people who are struggling does nothing to create decent jobs.

“We can prevent the further entrenchment of poverty across Aotearoa by lifting income support, adequately supporting families who transition into employment and ensuring disabled people are treated with respect and dignity.

“The Green Party has been the only political party who has consistently stood against benefit sanctions and we will fight to ensure everybody has what they need to thrive. Bold and permanent solutions to lift people out of poverty exist. We just need the Government to do it,” says Ricardo Menéndez March.

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