(NZ) Alliance calls for Minister of Social Development to resign

The Alliance Party says the Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett should resign after releasing private details of income of two solo mothers who had criticized cuts to training allowances.

Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says the situation is an example of the arrogance of power – and it shows the Minister does not have the moral integrity or basic political judgement to hold her position.

“It is the right of every citizen of New Zealand to express their political views without having the State bully and intimidate them by using private information.”

She says the Government is using taxpayers money to fund media smear tactics against some of its most vulnerable citizens.

Ms Murray says it is ironic that the National Party, which promotes itself as an advocate of individual rights, is abusing the power of the State to attack individuals.

She says the most disgraceful aspect of the actions of the Minister was that the women involved were trying to get back into training in addition to their work in raising a family.

“The Minister is talking nonsense that people are getting a ‘fair go’. Working class New Zealanders and beneficiaries do not get a fair go as we now have a user pays education system where those from wealthy backgrounds have unfair advantages.”

Ms Murray says many solo mothers among others need a helping hand at a difficult time in their lives and it is remarkable that someone like Paula Bennett who must personally understand their situation is prepared to attack them in such a way.

“The Alliance Party says that beneficiaries are not second class citizens, they are New Zealanders who have the right to make their views heard.”

Ms Murray says that the Government has started off down a very dangerous path.

“Does this mean that any public employee, for example, who may disagree with the Government, could have their income details or employment agreement obtained by a State smear squad and handed over to the media?”