Budget ignores beneficiaries’ reality, protest at Key’s lunchtime speech tomorrow

AUCKLAND ACTION AGAINST POVERTY

MEDIA RELEASE -15 May 2014

Budget ignores beneficiaries’ reality, protest at Key’s lunchtime speech tomorrow

“Five years of social havoc cannot be undone by announcing $493 million extra for children and families,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Alastair Russell.

“Extending paid parental leave, free GP visits for under 13 year olds and increased Parental Tax Credit is the sum total of an election year Family Bribe. But true to form, the increased Parental Tax Credit excludes beneficiaries.

“Mr English proudly cited a reduction in the numbers of people receiving benefits with no information as to where they have gone. Unemployment remains static at 6%. If the unemployment rate has not lowered, then where are the unemployed now getting their income from?” asks Mr Russell.

“$20 million for an additional 6000 apprenticeships is the sum total of National’s ‘unrelenting focus on work’ and is simply inadequate.

“The only other cursory references to addressing unemployment are an incentive to move to Christchurch for 1000 beneficiaries, and an additional 8000 places in Work Readiness Programmes.

“The Christchurch initiative has received damning criticism from local housing groups and employers who have suggested that this 1000 people will end up in tents in Hagley Park. Work Readiness Programmes are completely redundant when there is no work to be ready for.

“In spite of a few band aids for families hurting after 6 years of National, the Budget contains no job creation. It also contains no Living Wage, and there is no way the unemployed share in this illusory strong economy.

“The disconnect between English’s talked-up ‘rock star’ economy and the reality experienced by low-income New Zealanders is startling. We work with people every day who face the choice between feeding the kids or paying the power bill. This Budget provides very little meaningful relief for those at the very bottom,” says Mr Russell.

AAAP will be hosting a protest outside John Key’s post-Budget address to the Transtasman Business Circle from 11.45am tomorrow outside the Sky City Conference Centre in Federal Street.

Ends