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UN report challenges National’s war on the poor

10 October 2016


UN report challenges National’s war on the poor

The National government continues to deny the realities of poverty. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child report confirms the entrenchment of poverty in New Zealand and the government’s failure to adequately address it.

“Auckland Action Against Poverty works with beneficiaries every day who are at the blunt end of National’s welfare reforms that are pushing families further into a poverty trap. We know the UN report is accurate,” says Vanessa Cole, a spokesperson for Auckland Action Against Poverty.

“The National government should be embarrassed after the UN criticised their failure to measure and address poverty. Instead, they are praising their punitive approach which denies dignity and access to families living in severe hardship.

“Increasing benefits for families with children by $25 a week does not effectively remedy the deprivation that punitive welfare reforms, benefit cuts, and a housing crisis has placed families in. Whole families are living in their cars, forced to choose between rent and food.

“The government talked up their welfare reforms to the UN for reducing welfare dependency. What this actually means is that more beneficiaries are having their benefits cut and are forced into low-wage, precarious work.

“It seems hypocritical that a government who punishes sole mothers and their children with 70A sanctions for not naming the father on the birth certificate, would then defend their approach to child poverty.

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“Sanctions and cuts to benefits through the government’s work-focussed welfare policy has contributed to the increasing rates of child poverty.

“Child poverty will not be effectively measured or addressed until we start addressing the poverty of parents and caregivers. The government’s focus on child poverty allows them to blame individual caregivers for a system which sustains poverty for the benefit of the wealthy.

“The government needs to significantly increase benefits and stop this war on the poor.”


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