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Vulnerability Report confirms experiences at coal face

MEDIA RELEASE

For immediate use

From: Poverty Action Waikato

Date: 1st of July 2011

Vulnerability Report confirms Waikato experiences at the coal face

Poverty Action Waikato is deeply concerned by the findings of the latest Vulnerability Report released by the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services. (www.justiceandcompassion.org.nz)

“This report confirms the stories we are hearing from the coal face in the Waikato. Many people are struggling to meet their basic needs, food and electricity are becoming luxury items, and there are not enough opportunities for our young people” says Anna Cox, Poverty Action Waikato.

The report states that the increases in basic living costs such as food, power, petrol and rent have been much greater than the increases in benefits and basic wages.

“There are no surprises in this report. Our clients are ravaged by increasing living costs but their incomes have stayed the same. We need to ensure that people have the financial resources to meet their basic needs, or we all suffer the consequences in increasing stress, violence and crime in our communities” says Clare Mataira, Hamilton Budgeting Advice.

The vulnerability report also shows that the numbers of people receiving unemployment benefits have increased by 214.9% since 2008 and that over the last 2 years Māori youth unemployment has risen from 18% to 28.8% with Pasifika rates rising to 28.1%. During March 2011 there were 1,698 18-24 year olds receiving the unemployment benefit in the Waikato region, a higher number than in any other age group.

“We need to provide sustainable opportunities for our young people, particularly for Māori and Pasifika youth. Community Max, employers’ subsidies and other Youth Training schemes can make a big difference. We have some very successful examples in our region that prove the economic returns possible on this social investment. However, often the providers of these programmes have to jump through many administrative hoops and loops and are provided with little infrastructural support. We need long-term investments that enable these initiatives to succeed.” Anna Cox says

ENDS

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