Govt considers work scheme for Canterbury cleanup

2:02 pm on 6 September 2010

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is looking at whether a work scheme could be set up to help with the clean-up in Canterbury.

Ms Bennett is briefing the Cabinet on Monday on the welfare response to the quake, with Work & Income personnel providing advice and emergency assistance to people.

The minister says there is also an opportunity to look at whether a work programme could be of use.

Ms Bennett says an enhanced Taskforce Green scheme was deployed after the 2004 Manawatu floods.

She says a similar scheme could be established with people on the unemployment benefit, paid a wage to take part in the clean-up.

Calls to help-line

More than 2500 calls have been made to a Government help-line for people affected by the earthquake.

The helpline is being run by Work & Income to provide advice and referrals to other services.

Work & Income has also been calling senior citizens known to live alone in the region to confirm they are safe and well, with 10,000 contacted so far.

Ms Bennett says fewer than 100 people have applied for emergency welfare payments, but she expects demand to increase.