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Welfare reforms an attack on beneficiaries

AUCKLAND ACTION AGAINST POVERTY

Media release Monday 15 July 2013

Welfare reforms an attack on beneficiaries

Auckland Action Against Poverty will hold information stalls outside three Work and Income offices on Monday the 15th of July – media and public welcome.

The latest welfare reforms, which come into effect today, will have a brutal impact on the well-being of hundreds of thousands of children and adults who are dependent on the state for survival, says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Sarah Thompson.

“All New Zealanders who end up on welfare will have more hoops to jump through – or face punitive measures as the Government attempts to push them into low-paid insecure work – no matter what the downstream cost.

“This is not about getting people into decent work – it’s not about job creation. It’s about cutting costs by pushing vulnerable people off the books.

“AAAP has already been working with increased numbers of beneficiaries over the past couple of months as more and more beneficiaries are being sanctioned for any accidental misstep – or sanctioned due to Work and Income error.

“In addition, Work and Income's gate-keeping culture has seen a growing number of people being incorrectly denied both financial support and the right to even apply for various supports.

“Both of these measures – sanctions and gate-keeping – are used by the Ministry of Social Development to keep numbers and costs down, and the latest welfare reforms will be the newest big stick in their artillery.

“AAAP will be stepping up both its one-on-one advocacy and political work calling for a programme of decent job, a living wage and higher benefit payment rates.”

ENDS

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