AUCKLAND ACTION AGAINST POVERTY
Media Release – Friday 13 June
Work and Income fail to provide support
Auckland Action Against Poverty has today raised further examples of the harsh reality of Paula Bennett’s welfare reforms.
“The National Government continues to ignore the social and economic reality of beneficiaries. Their individual needs and circumstances are not addressed by Work and Income. The government has no focus on job creation, whilst remaining focused on harassing beneficiaries, ” says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson, Alastair Russell.
“A 48 year old man has had heart attacks, a serious brain injury, heart surgery and a defibrillator inserted into his heart since 2012. His heart surgeon wrote a letter to his GP in 2013, “in support of him being placed on a longer term benefit.” Work and Income continued to treat this man as a Jobseeker, fully able to work until he sought support from one of our advocates. His individual circumstances were ignored by Work and Income.”
“A man with 3 children needs a fridge and school uniforms for his children. When he applied for bond money to move into a flat Work and Income left him to pay $400 of the bond putting the family into further financial hardship. Work and Income had the ability to help him and his children with all of these things and declined to do so.”
“A woman with a 2 year old child paying rent of $450 per week wanted to move into a cheaper flat. She had transport costs from going to job interviews. She also needed money to buy tyres to get a Warrant of Fitness for her car. Work and Income declined to help her.”
“A woman caring for a 4 year old child has rent arrears and faces eviction. She needs a washing machine as she rents one at $16 per week. She has had her wallet stolen and now has no photo ID and can’t open a bank account. Work and Income have declined to help.”
“In each of these cases Work and Income have acted with total disregard for the person’s situation. All of these people are determined to do their best for their kids. Rather than Work and Income using their discretion as set out in legislation to help, they make life as hard as possible. These situations are only resolved with competent benefit advocacy support,” says Mr Russell.
“Paula Bennett states beneficiary numbers have reduced by 15,000 in the last 12 months. She provides no statistics to show where these people have gone to or that they and their families’ situations have improved.”
“We are alarmed that whilst beneficiary numbers reduce the unemployment rate remains static. Ms Bennett can provide only 3 anecdotes to show that welfare reform is a positive thing. She provides no information about the 14,997 others.”
“The reality of welfare reform is one of on-going harassment, denial of lawful benefit entitlements and poverty. Ms Bennett and her government have no plan for job creation. They do not support a Living Wage. Ms Bennett’s welfare reforms remain a disaster,” says Mr Russell