Auckland Action Against Poverty would like to send our support to Metiria Turei for making a stand for beneficiaries and unemployed workers facing the cold face of neoliberal capitalism.
“The resignation of Metiria is a symbol that our political parties support the votes and desires of the wealthy over the poor,” says Vanessa Cole, Co-ordinator of Auckland Action Against Poverty.
“The treatment of Metiria by the media and glorified public opinion is emblematic of the way we treat the poor and unemployed in this country.
“The sustained attack on social welfare over the last 40 years enables people to blame the poor for their situation and justifies punitive policies which place people in further financial hardship.
“The wealthy have to justify poverty by blaming the unemployed for unemployment in order to mask the reality that the wealthy profit from poverty.
“Poverty is not an individual behaviour or choice. It is, however, a political and economic choice by the rich who continue to accumulate wealth at the expense of those who actually produce it.
“Sole mothers are workers, underpaid and under-resourced, and we should be outraged that they are being punished by a system which is supposed to protect them.
“People are forced into poverty through low benefit rates, precarious work, inadequate state housing supply and punitive policies imposed by the toxic culture of Work & Income.
“For the unemployed workers who come to see us seeking advocacy, having to choose between food and rent is not a real choice when the threat of eviction is looming over their heads.
“Metiria’s treatment shows what happens to people who break the silence on this war against the poor, and AAAP thank for her taking this stand at great personal cost.
“The struggle for a welfare system which provides enough income and support for people to live with dignity will continue beyond the ballot box.
“This is a war on the poor, and we must stand up and fight back together.”