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Housing women stops child poverty - Mana

Housing women stops child poverty - Mana Women's Policy released

Mana is the only party to provide a practical path out of poverty for sole mothers and their children says Mana Social Wellbeing spokesperson Sue Bradford.

'Many children living in poverty have a sole parent mother living a difficult and hard pressed life,' she says.

'It's quite simple; if the mother is poor the child is at risk.

'Last night's screening of the Inside New Zealand documentary on child poverty will rightly have shocked many people. That programme was quite clear about the relationship between housing and child poverty.

'Mana has designed a unique programme that would see the accommodation supplement paid to sole mothers used to assist them into their own homes.

'At present millions of taxpayer dollars are handed over to prosperous landlords in rent subsidies each year.

'This is welfare for the rich and the money would be much better spent paying off a home for a sole mother and her children.

'This would give both mother and children a real stake in society. They would gradually build up equity, their children would be healthy and secure and the exorbitant rents that the taxpayer subsidises at present would fall.

'Once a family is settled in their own home both mother and children are in a position to concentrate on their education and gaining employment.

'It would also help woman as they grow older. The Retirement Commissioner has made the point that home ownership is the best form of retirement provision a person can make.

'It is far more sensible to get low income people into their own home than to put them at the mercy of the financial sector through compulsory savings schemes.

'Put alongside our commitment to build 20,000 new state houses and our intention to extend the range of options for assistance with home purchase for all low income people (including sole fathers) we will start seeing some real change in the dreadful statistics that are the shameful legacy of every government of the last two decades'.

'When it comes to the poverty of women and children every other party is offering platitudes and making promises we know they won't keep because they never have in the past.

'Mana has practical solutions that will work because we care about the people in need and are not fooled by the nonsense neo liberal economists keep trying to shove down our throats.'

The full Mana Wahine policy includes a commitment to providing ongoing and stable funding to women's refuge, rape crisis and men's stopping violence groups, ensuring strong representation of Maori women at all levels of elected government, the reinstatement of the Training Incentive Allowance and a range of other measures.

Sue Bradford

Mana candidate for Waitakere, national spokesperson on issues of Housing & Social Wellbeing.

To follow is Mana's Wahine policy:


Women’s Policy – Mana Wahine

Mana is committed to the wellbeing and dignity of all women in Aotearoa, with a particular focus on those who bear the brunt of structural racism and poverty and of family and sexual violence.

Mana is also particularly conscious of the ways in which wahine Maori have suffered particular discrimination and suffering since the time of colonisation, remaining disproportionately in situations of powerlessness and poverty until the present day.

All of Mana’s policies are aimed at bringing tino rangatiratanga to the poor, the powerless and the dispossessed, including women and children.

However, it is important that we also acknowledge particular areas where progress must be made to advance the human rights and best interests of wahine Maori – and all low/no income women - in Aotearoa today.

Economic equity - overall, women in Aotearoa still earn less than men. Mana supports:

    Legislation aimed at progressing pay and employment equity.

    Strengthening the ability of workers to bargain collectively for better wages and conditions on the job; lifting the minimum wage to $15ph by April 2012, and pegging it to two thirds of the average wage each year from April 2013.

    Lifting welfare benefits to at least pre-1991 equivalent levels, and extending the In Work tax credit to the children of beneficiary parents.

    Establishing a special low interest ‘Mother’s Fund’ targeted at women with dependents who would never otherwise achieve home ownership, giving them equity and stability, and a stake in society which they will not be able to achieve otherwise.

Mana recognises the right of women to be good parents for their children. Mana supports:

    Government recognition of the fact that the work of raising our babies and children well is as least as important to individuals, the economy and society as being in paid employment.

    The extension of paid parental leave to at least one year.

    A gradual increase in paid parental leave payments up a maximum of 100% of the average male wage.

    Increasing resources for parenting education in schools, and for quality family and parent support programmes in the community.

    Mana opposes all moves to force sole parents to be work tested from the time their babies are one (or older), while providing real support to those mothers on benefits who do wish to access work and training.

Mana is aware that sexual and family violence continues to have a devastating impact on the lives of women and children in Aotearoa today. Mana supports:

    The promotion in every way practicable of a culture of non violence in the home, school and communities.

    Resourcing and supporting parenting education in schools, and increasing funding for quality parent and family support programmes in the community.

    Providing stable, sufficient funding for women’s refuge, rape crisis, men’s stopping violence groups and other organisations working to support those affected by family violence.

    The provision of free counselling and well subsidised legal support for those affected by family and sexual violence.

    Mana opposes the way in which the roll out of Whanau Ora programmes has meant that funds for addressing domestic violence have been cut to those providers who were not included within Whanau Ora. Establishing new programmes, no matter how valid or needed they may or may not be, should not be used as an excuse for withdrawing funding from existing roopu carrying out essential work in our communities.

Health & education – Mana supports:

    Safe, reliable and appropriate contraception should be free and accessible to all. No women should be ‘encouraged’ by Work and Income or other state agencies to take long acting contraception, as is currently being proposed in National’s welfare plans. The state should not play a role in controlling or determining women’s reproductive lives.

    Reinstating the Training Incentive Allowance to women on the DPB who wish to access all levels of tertiary education; and restoring funding to adult and community education which has been a critical pathway for many women to find pathways into paid work and further educational opportunities.

    Moving progressively to ensuring that all low and middle income families have access to free, quality early childhood education (including for under-3s), and supports the rapid establishment of community or state owned centres in areas of greatest deprivation and need.

Wahine Maori – Mana supports:

    Ensuring strong representation for Maori women at all levels of elected Government and in the employment practices of national and local government.

    Ongoing adequate funding support for the Maori Womens Welfare League and other roopu providing specific support and other services for indigenous women.

    Working to end discrimination against wahine Maori in all practices and policies of government and local government.

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