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Welfare policy punishes children

Welfare policy punishes children

Kay Brereton Coordinator of the Wellington People's Centre says:

"The Welfare Policy announcements made by the National Party yesterday are going to punish the children of beneficiaries because their parents are not in paid employment. Raising the next generation is arguably the most important job in society, but the proposed reforms of the National Party clearly signal that paid work must take priority over parenting. What's more they seem to think that parenting stops when your child is 14 and can legally be left alone, I am sure that many parents of teenagers would feel very uncomfortable with this and would tell you that the teenage years are challenging for parents, rather than a time when their child can be left to his or her own devices. Many sole parents do work, and all would like to, the existence of a support network of family and friends is what enables these people to juggle their parenting responsibilities and paid work, it also requires a flexible workplace which can cope with parenting demands happening during work time.

"This policy is a direct attack on women, 9100 women will have their benefits cut amounting to a saving of $85,000 a week in benefit payments. Further the qualifying age for Sole Parent Support is being increased to 19 from 18, we will not make teenage sole parents disappear by ignoring them! It also punishes those children who are born to a sole parent on benefit by forcing their parent back into the job market when the child turns one year old, these children are innocents and should not be punished for the actions of one parent, where are the responsibilities of the other parent? Will they be levied higher child support?

"We all know that there are no jobs but National's policy isn't about getting people into jobs, it's about reducing the number of people on benefit, the recent benefit reforms have shown how this can be achieved through the work testing regime. In the majority people are being sanctioned for not attending a Work and Income appointment, or not satisfying a case manager that they have been looking hard enough for a job, rather than because they turn down work. The implicit assumption that people are on benefits because they are lazy is simply untrue, people are on benefits because they need assistance to support their family, they aspire to work. The promulgation of the assumption of laziness in fact creates further barriers for people to move from benefits into the paid workforce, as it makes employers wary of employing someone the Government has told them is lazy."


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