Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Poverty is Government's Shame, Not Ours!

Issued August 2006

Poverty Is Government's Shame Not Ours!
Fight Back Against the Second Wave of Attacks Against the Poor

Replace the In Work Payment with

Real Increased Family Support for All!

One in Four Families Living in Severe to Significant Hardship!
The Ministry of Social Development's Living Standards Report 2004, says that the proportion of families with children living in severe and significant hardship rose from 18% in 2000 to 26% in 2004.
This group is composed almost entirely of beneficiaries. This means we often can't afford basic items like heating, medical bills, or fresh fruit and vegetables. The economy grew by 17% at the same time.
While our incomes fell, employers made big profits.

Beneficiaries Miss Out on Real Family Support Increase.
Did you know that the Government recently made significant increases in Family Support to all families? However it slashed benefits by approximately the same amount at the same time! That's why you didn't notice a big increase in your income. This is a hidden benefit cut

“Working For Families” Discriminates Against Beneficiaries! No “ In Work Payment” for Us!
The Government's “Working for Families” package provides an In Work Payment (tax concessions)
to families on low to middle incomes; but it excludes families of those living in the worst poverty, beneficiaries! At least 175,000 New Zealand children will get nothing from the package, including children of around 40% of Maori families, and 30% of Pacific Island families
The Child Poverty Action Groups is taking the Government to Court for this shameful discrimination.

Reverse the 1991 Benefit Cuts!
The recent deaths of the Kahui twins brings home the terrible effects of generations of poverty brought about by the massive job losses caused by the economic restructuring of the 80's, followed by the slashing of benefits by as much as 24 % in December 1990, and the Employment Contracts Act in 1991.The hardest hit include Women , Children, Maori, and Pacific people. This is economic violence towards the most vulnerable members of society.

Don't Blame us for Unemployment!
Employers needed to lay people off work in order to bring wages down, and to have a pool of unemployed ready to take on any work when required.
To add insult to injury, those who lost their jobs were then blamed for being unemployed!
Now that employers want workers again, everybody is expected to work, including mothers of young children, and the severely sick

Mothering is work!
Mothers are raising the next generation of citizens, workers and tax payers.
Mothers on the DPB are heroically attempting to bring up their children at levels of severe hardship. We are then blamed for any social problems in our communities, as well as for draining the economy.
Some parents are forced by extremely low wages to work long broken shifts at any time of the day or night; and are unable to give their children the attention they need.

Full Funding of Women's Refuges and Social Services
If the Government is serious about stopping violence, it must fully fund these services now.

We need affordable housing now!
The Government has sold off most of our state houses, and the Accommodation Supplement helps landlords to charge sky high rents! Some of us who help each other by sharing housing to reduce costs, are attacked for being in “clusters”! We have the right to live together to help make ends meet! We also need to be able to afford to live alone.. Mothers who need to leave violent relationships need a living DPB. It's our right!

Reinstate the Special Benefit
In 1991, benefits were deliberately set below the level of people's basic needs.
Many people, especially single parent families, were forced to apply for top ups such as the Special Benefit to make ends meet. The Special Benefit was designed to meet special needs, and could be adjusted according to the beneficiary's circumstances.
Now, the Special Benefit has been abolished, and replaced with a drastically reduced Temporary Assistance Grant. It is capped, and if you need more assistance, you won't get it.

Stop Wayne Mapp's “90 Days and You're Sacked” Bill.
Jobs Jolt, introduced in 2004, has led to record numbers of people on unemployment benefits having their benefits suspended for failing work tests. This has caused unbearable hardship.
If this Bill is successful, beneficiaries could be forced to take work and to sign clauses allowing employers to sack us within 90 days, without any reason.
If we refuse, we face a benefit stand down. If we take the job, we face a stand down when we are sacked! We must unite now against this Bill ! Only a strong union movement, together with a united community can win against attacks upon workers' and beneficiaries' rights.
Unite! opposes this Bill.

No More Benefit Cuts! No Work Testing of Mothers and Invalids!
The Government plans to introduce a Single Core Benefit. Its purpose is to achieve a “rapid return to full time work”, and save itself seventy million dollars. All benefits will be reduced to the level of the Unemployment Benefit. Those with children or health needs will have to apply for top ups. Mothers and invalids will have to be available for work, whether suitable for their family or health needs or not.
We must unite to fight these attacks now! Social Needs must come before employers’ needs.

Unions and Communities Together! Beneficiaries and Workers UNITE!
Unite! is a union for low paid workers, unemployed and beneficiaries. We can help each other!
When we all stand up for our rights, in a union movement, we can achieve a living income for all!
Join us! Let us know about your struggles! Come to Our meetings!
We meet on the third Saturday of the month at 11 am at the Avondale Community Centre.
If you would like to know more, and to confirm meeting times, telephone Keith: 8369104.

Issued by the Waitemata Branch of Unite!

August 2006


janet's library said...

This is really dangerous for beneficiaries who may be forced into work, then sacked, then refused a benefit because they have been sacked!
We need to resist all sackings, and make sure all our unions do too, especially UNITE! The good thing is- you can stay in UNITE no matter what; and the Waitemata Branch is a voice for beneficiaries in the union.

janet's library said...

PS I was writing about Wayne Mapp's "90 Days and Your'e Sacked!" Bill. We defeated it before; but Key's Government rushed it in before Christmas.