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Mana releases welfare policy

Mana releases welfare policy - refuses to accept Key's 'growing underclass'

John Key's admission yesterday that the 'underclass' is growing proves that even in National's own terms their social policies are an abject failure, says Mana's Social Wellbeing spokesperson Sue Bradford.

'The NZ Council of Christian Social Services reports this morning that since Work & Income slashed food grants, record numbers of people have become dependent on charity food parcels.

'Work & Income now require people to go for budgeting help before grants are given, but no agency in the country can stretch dollars that simply aren't there.

'Benefit levels are simply too low for most people to live on. Work & Income treats people with intimidation and contempt on a daily basis.

'On top of this, we have the threat of National's welfare reforms should they return to power after November 26, reforms that are almost certain to be based on the dangerous and contentious Rebstock report.

Mana seeks to end child - and adult - poverty as fast as possible. Key Welfare policies include:

Full employment must be a top priority of government.

Provide a one off hardship grant of $1,000 for everyone aged 18 and over who is on an income of $30,000 or less, whether on a benefit or in paid work, to be paid by Christmas 2011.

Work long term towards implementing a Universal Basic Income/Universal Tax Credit system where everyone aged 18 and over would receive a minimum, livable, tax free income. Among other things, this would eliminate the huge costs involved in our current shame-and-blame system of income support.

Lift benefits to at least pre-1991 equivalent levels, ensuring people have enough to live on without constantly going into debt.

Restore the Training Incentive Allowance so that people on the DPB can access all levels of tertiary education.

Extend the In Work Tax Credit to the children of beneficiary parents.

Radically change the culture of Work & Income so that people are treated with dignity and respect.

Throw out the Social Security Act 1964, & write new law based on a simple, fair system, founded on principles of manaakitanga. End punitive measures like stand down periods, which reduce working people to abject poverty on a regular basis.

Mana's full welfare policy Click here.

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