National’s cuts to funding for beneficiaries will once again leave children and their parents with less, Spokesperson for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni said.

“Just like National’s boot camps policy, which evidence is clear would lead to around 80 per cent reoffending rates, National’s traffic-light sanctions policy flies in the face of the evidence and will result in more kids in poverty,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“Labour is focused on supporting people into work, not sanctioning them. Our investment into employment programmes like Flexi-Wage, Mana in Mahi and He Poutama Rangatahi have helped record numbers of New Zealanders off benefit into work – 100,233 in 2022, 25.7% higher than 2017.

“We have prioritised removing harmful sanctions that impacted children. The removal of the section 192 sanction lifted the incomes of nearly 12,000 sole mothers by an average of $34 per week. This was estimated to benefit 24,000 children.

“We also removed the subsequent child policy sanction which was estimated to benefit over 40,000 children. Our changes have resulted in an 87 per cent drop in sanctions that impact children since June 2017.

“What the National Party have failed to realise, which is doubled down by their lack of evidence, is that sanctions can exacerbate already difficult situations. More than 42% of people receiving Jobseeker support cannot work or are working fewer hours because of a health condition or disability.

“Over the course of our term, we’ve delivered outcomes and interventions that have addressed the root causes of some of the challenges families face. The National Party seem to want to compound these challenges,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

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