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The real problem is not enough jobs

The real problem is not enough jobs

Kay Brereton, Benefit Rights Coordinator at the Wellington People's Centre is disappointed at the tone of the Treasury report to the Welfare Working Group "Key problems and options for reform".

"It is clear from the report that Treasury believes the key problem to be beneficiaries and their lack of motivation to find paid work. And their solution appears to be using a bigger stick, and moving more people onto work focused benefits with sanction regimes," said Ms Brereton.

"Everyday I meet people who desperately want to get a job and be free of the benefit system, these are people who apply for job after job and are willing to take anything, but for them there isn't anything there."

"Currently there is an oversupply of labour which enables employers to cherry pick; this is supported by laws such as the 90 day trial period. What results for many people, particularly those with health issues, caring responsibilities, and broken work histories, is that they are not considered as the best available option and regardless of how many applications they make, until the labour market conditions change these people will not get job opportunities."

"We are told that the taxpayer can not afford the benefit system and that it is unsustainable, in fact I believe that an adult unemployment benefit of under $200 a week is giving the taxpayer very good value for money. Some people seem to have forgotten that the Welfare System was in fact created for times just like these we are currently facing, and to support the sick and those who have lost the support of their spouse."

"I am saddened when I see and hear more beneficiary bashing and blaming, as a nation we are disempowering and marginalizing a significant portion of our population, and then saying it's their fault because they don't try hard enough."

ENDS

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