|Not a member? Sign up now!|
New Zealand needs jobs rather than scare tactics to manage benefit costs, the Green Party said today.
“The Government has a habit of using misleading numbers to undermine our social welfare system. They want to cut benefits when they could be cutting unemployment,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
A Sunday paper reported today that the Government’s Welfare Working Group is looking at projections on the long-term costs of welfare. Mrs Turei said that, on its surface, the report looked like a hit piece.
“A society where everyone gets a fair go has been the Kiwi dream for generations, but this Government seems hell-bent on taking it apart,” Mrs Turei said.
“The truth is that about 80% of Kiwis who use the unemployment benefit are on it for less than a year. They need a helping hand and then they move on, but John Key’s Government wants to tell a different story.”
The projections from the Centre for Social Research and Evaluation claim that beneficiaries will spend 8-11 years on welfare, according to today’s newspaper report.
Ms Turei noted that nearly 250,000 New Zealanders were without work or wanted to work more hours, and that the unemployment rate had been high for years despite John Key’s job summit. “We’re in favour of steps like building more state houses which would give us construction jobs and tackle a big social problem at the same time.”
Long term beneficiaries also include New Zealanders who are on the invalid’s benefit. “We’re talking about Kiwis with devastating injuries or illnesses like cerebral palsy,” Mrs Turei said. “I want to live in a country where we keep our promise to look after all New Zealanders in need.”