12 Jul 2010

Alternative welfare group to include Maori

10:18 pm on 12 July 2010

A member of the alternative Welfare Working Group says Maori will be a top priority as the roopu of church and beneficiary rights groups challenges any radical rewrite of the welfare system.

Former Green MP Sue Bradford sys the Government group appointed in April to identify the best ways to reduce long-term welfare dependency is out of touch with beneficiaries, especially the number who are Maori.

She says the mandating groups were very keen to have Maori on the working group as they figure disproportionately among beneficiaries who will be severely affected by the Government's plans.

Ms Bradford says the alternative group aims to provide realism and balance when the official welfare report comes out in December.

The six-member working group includes Bishop Muru Walters, who chairs the Anglican Church's Social Justice Commission, and Mamari Stephens, a lecturer in welfare law at Victoria University.