New Zealand Labour Party

Cancer support changes far too little, certainly late

Anne Tolley’s belated backtrack to finally allow Jobseeker clients suffering from cancer to submit only one medical certificate to prove their illness fails to adequately provide temporary support for people too sick to work, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.

“I’ve been calling for greater support for those with temporary illness and have had a members’ bill in the ballot for more than a year, but only now has Anne Tolley partially implemented one of the changes I proposed.

“The Government has failed to improve the support available for clients with medical conditions for far too long, and this policy change is merely a shadow of what’s needed to support Kiwis too sick to work.

”"Instead of allowing people with cancer to be on the Supported Living Payment, the Minister still wants to tag them as Jobseekers. If people are too sick to work, and under considerable stress because of their condition, how can they seek work?

“We have heard over and over again how difficult it is for people with cancer and other illness to get on to the Job Seekers Benefit so they can access the right financial support. This creates undue stress at an already difficult time.

“In order to make a positive difference, the policy changes need to include all those who may be unable to work temporarily due to illness, and they should not have to go on to the Jobseeker Support to get financial help.

“Labour is committed to providing real support for New Zealanders who need it, and that is why I have had a members’ bill in the ballot for over a year that will improve Work and Income support for people with temporary medical conditions,” says Carmel Sepuloni.