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National’s welfare reforms – sinister first steps


Media release Sunday 14 August 2011

National’s welfare reforms – sinister first steps

Auckland Action Against Poverty is suspicious that Mr Key’s apparently benign focus on young people is simply a pilot for more draconian measures against all beneficiaries in the near future.

‘Intensive work with young people is absolutely necessary and we applaud the goal of getting more young people into work, education and training,’ says Sue Bradford, a spokesperson for AAAP.

‘However we are gravely concerned about several aspects of the new initiatives contained in Mr Key’s speech today.

‘The first is the proposal to ‘make it worth someone’s while to get these young people back on track.’

Welfare has become big business for well connected private and community providers in the US and UK, who are paid large fees for getting people off benefits.

Often these companies are actually getting the unemployed into dodgy jobs or inferior training, while the provider creams off a very tasty fee.

The second danger lies in the move to income management for young people in receipt of the Independent Youth Benefit (IYB).

Income management is the system used, for example, in Australia’s Northern Territory, where the state takes control of most of a person’s income support.

Now National is proposing to hand almost all of the pitiful amount a young person on the IYB receives - $167.83pw – to an adult, leaving a ‘limited amount’ for the young person to spend as they choose. Our fear is that this system will be expanded as National expands its welfare reform agenda.

The rhetoric around young people coming from John Key and the National Party is almost identical as that emanating from the Conservative Party in the UK.

National shouldn’t expect to do the same thing as the Conservatives and expect results that are any different.

AAAP brings together unemployed people, beneficiaries, students, unionists, church people and others working for a fairer society which puts the wellbeing of low income people above the welfare of bankers and investors. Recent actions include a picket of UK pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith and an occupation of Paula Bennett’s office following the release of the Rebstock report.

© Scoop Media

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