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Greens: Save On Welfare Without Harsh Cuts

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

There's an easy way to save on welfare without delivering harsh cuts to our most vulnerable citizens: raise the minimum wage and invest in real job creation, the Green Party said today.

"The minimum wage is so low that often people working full-time on it still need welfare support to make ends meet," Green Party Work and Income Spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said.

"By picking up the shortfall between the minimum wage and what it takes to make ends meet, the Government effectively subsidises businesses to keep wages low.

"Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour could save hundreds of millions of dollars from the Government's welfare budget.

"That's a much fairer way to save on welfare than harsh cutbacks that kick our most vulnerable citizens when they're down," Ms Delahunty said.

Ms Delahunty was commenting ahead of the Welfare Working Group's final report tomorrow. The report is expected to recommend punitive changes like benefit time limits, increased work testing, and even benefit cuts.

"These harsh changes will punish beneficiaries and their children," Ms Delahunty said.

"John Key said last week that beneficiaries make poor choices and could make ends meet if they just budgeted properly. He must be looking out of the rose-tinted windows of his Government BMW.

"A solo mum on the domestic purposes benefit in Porirua with two kids aged five and one has just a hundred dollars a week after covering rent, food, and power to meet all her other expenses.

"Instead of making life harder for people like our solo mum in Porirua, we need real job creation policies from this Government. You can't push people off benefits when there are no jobs for them to go to.

"Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and investing in real job creation would save money from the welfare budget without making life harder for those who desperately need state support," Ms Delahunty said.

"These changes would help to close the gap between those who have the most and those who need the most, because a more equal society is better for everybody."

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