The Key Message: “and when it all turns to custard … blame the poor!”Posted on June 12, 2012 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press Releases
“Bennett’s determination to punish solo mums is unhealthy and dangerous” said MANA Leader Hone Harawira in opposing the second reading of the Social Security (Youth Support and Work Focus) Amendment Bill. “It’s like she’s trying to eradicate anything that reminds her of her own history”.
Paula Bennett is the Minister of Social Development, responsible for sponsoring the bill.
“Over the past few weeks she has suggested WINZ staff tell women on the DPB to go on the pill. She followed that up with an open discussion on the idea of sterilising poor mums. And now she’s proposing this bill to force women on the DPB to go to work as soon as their baby turns one – as if there’s any jobs out there …”
“This from a Maori woman who was once on the DPB herself, got state aid to go to university and a state loan to buy a house” said Harawira “a Maori woman who said it was too hard to work while raising a baby so she went back on the DPB”.
“The same DPB that she now reckons all other mums will have to work for”.
“But all the jobs are all in Australia and with government’s zero growth budget it is unlikely that any young mum forced to go to work with their one year old baby is going to find a job here in the foreseeable future”.
“This bill doesn’t just target women on the DPB either. It will also cancel the Independent Youth Benefit, cutting off support for young people during a very important period in their lives. Again, that wouldn’t be so bad if there were jobs to go to but there aren’t”.
“This bill has been opposed by the Children’s Commissioners Office, the Child Action Poverty Group and the Human Rights Commission but is still likely to go through” said Harawira “because unlike National’s bigger class sizes policy which was dumped because it upset a large group of National voters, this bill will only hurt the poor and the defenceless – the sector that doesn’t vote National and therefore the sector that National attacks”.
A leading expert on poverty and social security issues, Professor Mike O’Brien, described the bill as “one of the poorest pieces of work this country has seen in the social policy field in the last half century … Without a commitment to [creating] jobs and employment, a social security policy is like trying to make a two legged chair stand up with one leg missing – it will inevitably fall over and fail. All the available evidence makes it very clear that it is the availability of jobs which determines the numbers receiving benefits, not the punitive and overseeing measures contained within this Bill”.
“Letting company director Paula Rebstock chair the Welfare Reform Group report which was the basis of this bill, shows a continued reliance on failed free-market ideas to drive this government’s social policy. And the social problems which will flow from this philosophy will only be made worse with Rebstock’s recent appointment as effectively the new boss of Work and Income”.
“A quick look at the front page of today’s leading daily newspaper showing the alarming statistics of Kiwis leaving in record numbers every day for work and a better life in Australia is a sobering reminder of the failure of National’s economic and social policy agenda. You can only kick people so hard for so long before they just pack up and leave”.
For more information please contact Malcolm Mulholland on 027 765 6380