Wānaka Sun       

Mayor Boult backs calls to extend jobseeker benefit

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 07 May, 2020 | By Pat Deavoll editor@thewanakasun.co.nz

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult has backed calls to help migrants access the government's jobseeker benefit during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Queenstown branches of the Salvation Army and Citizens Advice Bureau and the Queenstown and Wānaka Chambers of Commerce have lobbied Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni to extend the benefit to migrants on essential skills, working holiday and student visas until they are able to be repatriated or placed in new roles.

Mayor Boult said the benefit would help the district's migrant workers, who make up a sizable portion of the area's workforce, to keep their heads above water.

“Due to their visa conditions, migrant workers are some of the worst affected by the lockdown around the COVID-19 outbreak,”Boult said.

“Making the jobseeker benefit available to migrant workers would go a long way towards helping them make it through this extremely tough period. The government has done a commendable job recognising the scale of the problem and the challenges it has posed for those with fewer avenues of support; however, despite their assistance there are still thousands of people without many places to turn.”

The district's QLDC-led Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has received more than 7,000 requests for welfare assistance from members of the community facing significant hardship due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Regardless of where they're from they are a part of our community and will be an essential part of our road to recovery. We all need to do everything we can to help people in this unprecedented situation,” Boult said.

Read edition 973 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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