5 Oct 2012

Welfare reform protests held throughout country

6:52 pm on 5 October 2012

Protests against the Government's welfare reforms have taken place throughout New Zealand with hundreds of beneficiaries and supporters taking part.

Work and Income offices were picketed and rallies held as part of a National Day of Action on Friday.

Union members, workers, MPs and beneficiaries shouted slogans criticising the Government and its new welfare policies calling them benefit bashing.

Green MP Jan Logie attended the Wellington protest says she is hearing from food banks and community groups that beneficiaries have never experienced such hardship.

Invalid beneficiary Richard Stephens says he has been looking for part-time work for over a year and struggles to survive following the most recent reforms.

Mr Stephens says he has often had to make a choice between spending his weekly allowance on food or medication.

Protest groups say they are planning more days of action in coming weeks.