Solutions sought to poverty
It's time for Kiwis to start working together on solutions rather than pointing fingers at problems, an anti-welfare reform rally organiser says.
A small crowd gathered in central Hamilton yesterday as part of a nationwide protest against the Government's proposed welfare reforms.
A peaceful protest march of about 30 people was held between Hinemoa Park and Garden Place before the group, which expanded in number, listened to guest speakers and shared ideas about how to improve the lives of struggling Waikato families.
Organiser Leah Gilbert said she was keen for the event to be an opportunity for families and individuals to network and come up with tangible, helpful solutions to everyday problems.
"This is not just about national-level policy or legislation."
Ms Gilbert was concerned negative attitudes towards issues such as poor housing and hungry children was detrimental and usually overlooked the fact that every family and individual's situation was unique.
"There's a lot of stereotyping, and some really nasty discussions going on about poverty."
Ms Gilbert, a mother on the domestic purposes benefit who is studying at Waikato University to improve her employment chances, said she was keen to focus on solutions for everyone in need.
"It's not just beneficiaries who are struggling.
"I think it's really terrible we don't look after low-paid workers to the point they are envious of people on a welfare."
She said some of the people she worried most about were redundant former middle-income earners who did not have the life experience of coping on a small budget.
Labour MP Sue Moroney, social anthropologist Mike Goldsmith and Rose Black, from Waikato Poverty Action, were among the guest speakers.