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Labour Accused Bennett Of Cutting A Benefit That Helped Her

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Carmel Sepuloni
Carmel Sepuloni

Wellington June 18 NZPA - Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has been accused by Labour of cutting funding for training allowances that she benefited from while a solo mother herself.

Labour's associate social development spokeswoman Carmel Sepuloni said Ms Bennett had said she knew how hard life was on the domestic purposes benefit and she wanted those on it to have the ambition to get off the benefit.

Ms Sepuloni said instead of giving more support the budget had cut $3.6 million from the training incentive allowance for sole parents on benefits next year -- an $8.7 million total by 2013.

"How can she cut solo parents off from an opportunity that was essential in assisting her to receive further education?" Ms Sepuloni asked.

In Parliament, Ms Bennett said the Government still wanted to help sole parents with training, but changes were necessary because of the recession.

"This means that we are making decisions accordingly, $22.5 million will be spent on the training incentive allowance in the next year," Ms Bennett said.

"We have not cut the training incentive allowance; we have not cut the training level, we have merely changed the level."

Sole parents would still be helped with a "foundation course or other certificate", but at university level they would be treated as other students, she said.

Labour mounted a barrage at Ms Bennett as she answered the questions in Parliament, accusing her of hypocrisy.

At one point Labour MP Trevor Mallard accused Ms Bennett of making obscene gestures, however he later apologised saying video replays showed this not to be true.

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