Government Prioritises Punishing Beneficiaries Again

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

Frivolous check-ins with beneficiaries are the Government’s latest plan to find excuses to punish those on the Job Seeker allowance and add to the stigma they face.

“The Government is more interested in punishing the poor than actually helping people into good employment,” says the Green Party’s social development spokesperson, Ricardo Menéndez March.

“The Government cannot be serious about supporting people into work when their target of getting 50,000 off a benefit includes people leaving because they died or entered a relationship, as opposed to only measuring work exits.

“This ‘new’ idea about check-ins with MSD for beneficiaries sees the Coalition doubling down on policies that don’t work: people on benefits routinely hauled over the coals to meet with advisers to be grilled on their suitability to employment, or risk having their benefits cut.

“We’ve seen in previous decades how check-ins contributed more to the negative stigma of being unemployed, and there’s no evidence that they help people into meaningful employment. But this Coalition has a habit of taking the country backwards.

“The Government can measure how many people they punish, but refuses to measure whether seminars actually help people into employment. Seminars on top of sanctions will see beneficiaries pushed further into poverty and further away from employment.

“Instead, the Government should establish networks for more tailored support for people to retrain and prepare for work opportunities suitable to their skillset.

“The Greens would instead remove benefit sanctions, end poverty by having liveable incomes and provide tailored support to connect people with jobs that match their skills and aspirations,” says Ricardo Menéndez March.

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