AUCKLAND ACTION AGAINST POVERTY
Media release Wednesday 13 February 2013
Today’s Salvation Army report is yet another wake up call that National’s response to poverty, homelessness and unemployment is pitifully inadequate, says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Sarah Thompson.
“We note that the Salvation Army have picked up a dangerous trend that we’ve observed for some time – the growing gap between the numbers of people out of work and those actually getting an unemployment benefit.
As report author Alan Johnson says “We can’t understand how the benefit takeup has declined at the same time as joblessness has risen”.
“One answer to this discrepancy, as experienced first hand by our advocates, is that some longstanding employees are pushed out of jobs, then made to wait 13 weeks or more before getting a benefit, when in fact they should be receiving it within 1-2 weeks.
“Another factor is the whole drive by Work and Income to do everything possible to make life so unpleasant for people registering unemployed, that many simply give up early on in the process, if they apply at all.
“These policies are driven by Paula Bennett’s determination to get 100,000 people out of the welfare system within 10 years, and will only contribute to deeper poverty, homelessness and despair.
“We agree with Salvation Army spokesperson Major Campbell Roberts that an immediate and vigorous plan of action is needed, one that includes: ensuring all those who are eligible for a benefit are receiving their full entitlements; a programme of decent job creation; and a living wage for all.”