AUCKLAND ACTION AGAINST POVERTY

Media release 12 September 2012, 2.30pm

‘Investment approach’ not an investment in NZers well-being

Paula Bennett’s new so called ‘Investment approach’ will not be investing in the well-being of New Zealanders, says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Sarah Thompson.

The key focus of the investment approach is to remove as many people as possible from the benefit rolls through whatever means necessary. In reality this will mean that beneficiaries, including parents who already have child care responsibilities and those living with a disability, being hounded into looking for jobs that just do not exist.

As the actuarial valuation that Bennett announced shows, the highest amount of social security is being spent, where it should be, on supporting sole parents who are doing the important work of looking after our society’s children, and to those receiving the invalids benefit who are unable to work because of health or disability.

What the actuarial cost hides is that the vast majority of people receiving benefits move off welfare and into work when the job market and their personal health or childcare situations allow.

If Bennett and co were really interested in decreasing the countries ‘actuarial cost’ then the Government should be investing in decent job creation and looking at removing the barriers to work for those with children or who are differently abled instead of utilising pressure and intimidation to push beneficiaries into work that does not exist.

Similar approaches in the USA saw welfare rolls decrease but in turn poverty and hardship rose as did the number of people living on street corners in cardboard boxes – and this is where Bennett’s penny-pinching might well lead us.

Focusing on the actuarial cost is just another measure to frighten tax payers and voters into accepting the much harsher policies we’ve seen recently and the even more extreme which we expect to be announced next week.

ENDS

For more information:

Contact: Sarah Thompson 021 157 0878 or Chris Zack 021 233 5938

Spokespeople Auckland Action Against Poverty