Protestors slam welfare reforms

Key and Bennett accused of protecting rich

Last updated 15:10 05/10/2012

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Government is accused of protecting the rich and turning their backs on the poor during an Action Against Welfare Reform protest today.

Dozens of protesters, including Mana party member and serial activist John Minto, gathered in Henderson to vent their frustrations over sweeping welfare reforms.

Key and colleagues John Banks and Paula Bennett were accused of benefitting from the welfare state, but then turning their backs on 99 per cent of the population.

"John Key himself grew up in state housing and his mother was a solo parent enjoying all of the benefits of the welfare state. That enabled him to enjoy a decent education and eventually led to him being able to become the parasite he has become," Minto said.

He was also critical of current moves to transform state housing.

"If you look at housing, state houses are being pulled down or moved off their site, and the land prepared for private property investors to come in and build housing," Minto said.

"When the Government moves and gets rid of state housing it means that people lose their income related rents, they have to go private and people move from having to pay $90 a week, if you're on benefit, to paying $300 a week so it's another way to screw the public."

Henderson lawyer Michael Kidd said the divide between the rich and the poor in New Zealand had never been greater.

"I think there's a lot of hypocrisy going on with the Government when John Key in his first term as prime minister made $5 million in profit from investments," he said.

Kidd said it was inappropriate to constantly attack and target the poor. A number of his clients who cannot get legal aid are being prosecuted for welfare breaches "because they forgot to or couldn't declare a job or earnings", he said.

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