If our experience in New Lynn this week is anything to go by, thousands of New Zealanders of all ages have had an already marginal existence made even tougher because of Paula Bennett’s welfare policies and departmental inadequacies.
Even seasoned advocates running a beneficiary ‘impact’ outside Work and Income in New Lynn this week have been shocked at the numbers of people in dire need says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Sue Bradford.
“In the last few days we have worked with many families who are living with constant hunger and cold, and who are having to wash all their clothes by hand in the middle of winter.
“We’ve helped people who are seriously ill but still hounded to find work as a ‘Job Seeker’ rather than being paid the Supported Living Allowance they are entitled to.
“We are finding many who have been turned down for Work and Income assistance to which they are entitled, or who are on the wrong benefits, meaning they are trying to survive on even less money than an already minimal welfare system allows them.
“If our experience in New Lynn this week is anything to go by, thousands of New Zealanders of all ages have had an already marginal existence made even tougher because of Paula Bennett’s welfare policies and departmental inadequacies.
“On top of that, Government housing policies which have severely reduced access to state housing mean many beneficiaries are simply unable to find or afford decent accommodation and are living in damp, overcrowded and filthy conditions.
“It is deeply ironic that while there is huge angst about the difficulty middle class families have in buying a suitable home, there is little public mention of the families living in cars, garages or being shunted from one unsuitable situation to another.”
Today is the last day of our ‘impact’, and media are invited to attend at any time between 9.00am – 1.00pm outside the New Lynn Work & Income office, 5/9 Hugh Brown Drive.
An ‘impact’ involves three days of intense individual beneficiary advocacy, helping hundreds of people obtain their full entitlements from Work & Income.
AAAP and other advocacy groups have joined together to provide up to 25 advocates each day, while Work & Income has put on an additional 20 staff to deal with the extra work. A short video from the impact is attached.