15 Aug 2011

Young beneficiaries need right support, Maori Party says

8:17 pm on 15 August 2011

The Maori Party says teenage beneficiaries will need to be matched with the right support worker if National presses ahead with its new welfare reform policy.

The National Party is proposing beneficiaries aged between 16 and 18 have their welfare payments controlled on their behalf by a support provide whose job it would be to get the young person into work, education or some type of training.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says it's critical the teenager and worker are perfectly matched.

"We need to be building relationships with these young peole making sure that if we're going to them on to any kind of budget management or money control, that we do that with people who understand them and work alongside them and who in fact build on their skills."

Mrs Turia says the Maori Party agrees some people, though not many, are not spending their benefits the way they should be, but says that is not something confined to 16 or 17 year olds. She says there are pockets of people who don't spend wisely, but it is also about the many people on benefits not able to manage and cope.