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Ed Sheeran

Protest highlights changing attitude to dole

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Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni is welcoming a change in the public perception of beneficiaries.

At Manurewa this morning Auckland Action Against Poverty launched a campaign tp push MPs and candidates to support an increase in benefit rates.

Ms Sepuloni sees the protest as a sign of how the discussion of benefits is changing, with the public no longer slagging off beneficiaries as they did during the nine years of the previous government.

She says there are constraints on the Government's ability to deliver change at the pace some people want, but it has lifted the base benefit rate by $25 a week, introduced and then doubled the winter energy payment, indexed benefits and got rid of section 192 so women who weren't able to name the other parent aren't being punished.

"A lot has been done but I don't think it's a bad thing that the public is still pushing us to do more because we are making up for decades of under-investment in the welfare system and decades of stigmatisation so I'm quietly relieved that the public narrative of beneficiaries and the welfare system has changed," Minister Sepuloni says.

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