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August 7, 2017 | by  | in Politics |
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The Party Line

At a policy launch on July 16, Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei revealed that she had misled Work and Income as to the number of people living in her flat while on the benefit in the late 1990s. She stated that “whatever way I split up my dole-day money, I still did not have enough to get by at the end of the week.” At the time Metiria was a studying, solo mother. Her admission has sparked significant debate, and following her announcement numerous people have shared stories on social media about struggling while on the benefit, under the #IamMetiria hashtag. Political questions aside, do you think that the current welfare regime is working as it should?

 

Young Nats — Lower North Island

The emphasis of this National Government’s approach to welfare reform has been supporting those on the benefit into long term and stable work, as this is the most successful way to assist those in need. Since 2008, we have seen the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs and large investment in job seekers support, giving work opportunities to those in need.

Additional to this, in 2015 the National Government announced the first rise in core welfare rates since 1972, providing for an increase of up to $25 per week after tax. This shows that the National Government is supporting those truly in need either into work or during long-term hardship.

The Young Nats are proud of the Government’s work in the welfare space and continue to support a comprehensive and strong safety net for those in need.

— Sam Stead

Greens at Vic

Our welfare system is designed to keep people in poverty. The 1990s National Government commissioned a review of the minimum amount of money it costs to live, took the most modest estimate, slashed it by 20 per cent, and set the dole at that level.

Benefits are intentionally too low for people to survive on. 40 times more government money is lost to tax avoidance than to benefit fraud — wealthier people commit more fraud, and fraud that creates a much bigger burden on the taxpayer.

Metiria is brave to stand up and fight for beneficiaries in a deeply hostile media environment. We are so proud to call her our co-leader. Greens at Vic welcome our party’s policies of raising benefit levels by 20 per cent and raising the minimum wage progressively to $20.

The only vote to end poverty in this election is a party vote for the Greens — we are fighting for the the many, not the privileged few.  

— Elliot Crossan, Young Greens Co-Convener

 

Vic Labour

The current welfare regime is punitive and full of catch-22s for those just trying to feed their kids and survive the day to day. Labour created the welfare system in the 1930s to address the reality that not everyone can work or is able to find work. Capitalism systematically requires unemployment. But the unemployed deserve a dignified life, alongside those who are single parents, disabled, or otherwise need assistance.

When parents are faced with a choice of lying to the government or feeding their kid, the moral integrity of the system is called into question. We must urgently reform our welfare system (always a necessary part of our social safety net), but we must also make sure we provide work to those who need it. These two kaupapa have always been a historic mission of the Labour Party and we will do it again in government.

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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