October 27, 2014

Officials from the Department of Social Services last night confirmed in Senate Estimates that Kevin Andrews lied about a mandatory one month wait period for working age payments in New Zealand.

Department officials also confirmed that the Minister had been briefed prior to the budget on the New Zealand welfare system. He had no excuse for spreading these lies.

Appearing on Sky News in June, the Minister said:

“In New Zealand everybody who is seeking to get welfare payments, the dole equivalent, has a one month waiting period.”

This is not true. New Zealand does not have a mandatory one month waiting period.

The Minister made it up.

This was a cynical attempt by Kevin Andrews to try to con the cross-bench and the Australian people into accepting his harsh plan to leave young jobseekers with nothing to live on for six months. 

The evidence in Senate Estimates confirms recent advice by the Parliamentary Library which said that:

“[w]e have been unable to find a waiting period that matches the description Minister Andrews has given previously”

And that:

“There doesn’t appear to be formal one-month waiting period that applies to the main unemployment benefit payment in NZ”

It is absolutely appalling that the Government would deliberately spread false information to try and justify a radical withdrawal of all support to young people on Newstart.

The reality is that this measure will leave young jobseekers with nothing to live on for six months. It risks pushing them into poverty, homelessness and social isolation.

Whether for one month or six, Labor will oppose any attempt by this government to leave young people with no income support.


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