Reforms risk harming another generation of children

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Child Poverty Action Group is endorsing the open letter that Professor Innes Asher has sent to members of the Ministerial Group on Welfare Reform, and which was tabled in parliament this afternoon.

Social policy spokesperson Dr Mike OBrien says the Welfare Working Groups proposals have insufficient focus on reducing the poverty experienced by one in five New Zealand children.

The recommendations argue that parents should be encouraged and supported back into the workforce, and we support this if and when working is appropriate. The key must be that there is flexibility within the system to account for the needs of young children and different circumstances of sole parents, including situations where they are escaping domestic violence.

Sadly, the proposals highlighted by Professor Asher show the Welfare Working Group has something much more rigid and punitive in mind. This includes sanctions for non-compliance and slashing the threshold for earnings from part-time work, which risk placing further strain on families already struggling with inadequate incomes. As happened in the 1990s, we now risk leaving another group of children even further behind, said OBrien.

CPAG urges the Ministerial Group to think carefully before adopting measures that will clearly adversely impact on young children. Its time to support families, not punish them.
Professor Ashers letter – Copy_of_Letter_to_MG_re_Welfare_Reforms_27_June_2011.doc

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