Press Release – Auckland Action Against Poverty
The report on Solutions to Child Poverty highlights that accessing all major benefits and in-work payments is not always straightforward and recommends monitoring the take-up by eligible families, says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson, Sarah Thompson. “This problem of accessibility was witnessed in droves yesterday by AAAP and other North Island Advocates at our group’s beneficiary ‘Impact’ outside of Work and Income Onehunga,” says Ms. Thompson.
“Many experienced advocates involved in our event noted the lack of people’s access to supplementary assistance because of Work and Income’s culture of unfairly denying people what is rightfully theirs and the humiliation incurred when scrutinised by Work and Income.
“One woman who came along said she hadn’t come to Work and Income sooner because she felt humiliated by Work and Income’s constant questioning and judgment.
“This kind of treatment places the onus of people’s poverty squarely on their shoulders when, in reality, the problem is the widening gap between income and what it costs to survive.
“As the EAG report recommends, benefit rates need to be monitored to ensure they keep up with economic productivity and the cost of living – which, since cuts in 1991 has not been the case.
“Our rally this afternoon from 12pm-2pm across from Onehunga Work and Income aims to highlight the failure of this Government’s policies to reduce poverty, with Jacinda Ardern, Jan Logie and John Minto speaking to their parties’ welfare policies.”
Press Release – Auckland Action Against Poverty – December 10
Auckland Action Against Poverty, with advocates from the North Island, were shocked today to see such a saddening need for food grants at the Onehunga ‘Impact’, says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Sarah Thompson. “Over three quarters of the people we saw today needed a food grant in order to feed their family.
“One woman, Jane, had been working 18 hours per week but then her job dried up. Her husband has just found 15 hours of work but with three children to feed, his pay won’t cut it. She was happy to walk away with a $150 food grant but she said what they really wanted was a job with regular full time hours.
“The same was true of Andrea, the mother of five children. Her husband earns $600 per week, but with five children and rent at $450, what’s left is not enough to keep them nourished. She too left with a food grant for $200.
“There are additional forms of financial assistance, but unfortunately many people do not know they are available or, they’re being denied them unfairly. We look forward to seeing many more people tomorrow and Wednesday to ensure they’re receiving what is rightfully theirs.
“In addition, from 12pm – 2pm on Tuesday, across from Onehunga Work and Income, AAAP will be hosting a ‘Recession Buster’ rally to challenge the Government on its lack of job creation. Jacinda Ardern, Jan Logie and John Minto will be in attendance to talk about their parties’ welfare policies, in addition to speakers from community groups.
“We hope that beneficiaries and low wage workers taking part in the Impact will have a chance to engage with some of the issues around welfare reform, as well as see that there are alternatives to National’s horrendous policies.
“We are focusing on the Onehunga community for the Impact however all beneficiaries and low paid workers are welcome, bring I.D. We have quotes for essential items such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners, fridges and more.”
Press Release – Auckland Action Against Poverty – December 9
Auckland Action Against Poverty and other northern advocates will coalesce outside of Work and Income Onehunga this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to work with beneficiaries in the Onehunga Community to ensure they get the support that is rightfully theirs.
Work and Income have a culture of denying people their full entitlements so this event – what is called an ‘Impact’ – aims to get people the financial support that is rightfully theirs, says AAAP spokesperson Sarah Thompson.
“During the three days, from 9am to 4.30pm, we aim to work with large numbers of beneficiaries to ensure they’re receiving their full entitlements.
“On Tuesday the 11th from 12pm to 2pm, we are also holding a rally across from Work and Income Onehunga with political speakers including Jacinda Ardern, Jan Logie and John Minto who will speak to their party’s welfare policies.
“During the Impact we expect to find many people who are not receiving Temporary Additional Support and the Disability Allowance - additional support that beneficiaries are frequently not informed of.
“We expect to find people needing an Advance Payment of Benefit for things like rent and bond, due to the increase in overcrowding and the lack of available Housing NZ houses. And we expect to find many people in need of Food Grants as a result of the increase in unemployment and poverty.
“By working with these people we aim to work around some of the budgeting requirements.Â Beneficiaries don’t have a budgeting problem, they have a problem of insufficient funds with benefit payments too low to get by”, says Ms. Thompson.
“Work and Income will have over 12 extra staff each day at the Onehunga office to deal with the influx. We are focusing on the Onehunga community for the Impact however all beneficiaries and low paid workers are welcome, bring I.D. We will have quotes for essential items such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners, fridges and more.”