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Government to harness benefit advocacy groups

Hon Steve Maharey
Minister of Social Services and Employment
Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education)
Minister for Community and Voluntary Sector
MP for Palmerston North

20 January 2000

Government to harness benefit advocacy groups expertise

The Minister of Social Services and Employment, Steve Maharey, said he was pleased with the progress made at a meeting today with beneficiary advocate groups on improving the delivery of social services by government agencies. Today’s meeting was the first post-election opportunity for the groups to meet with the Minister.

“I’m very pleased that we will be able to harness the expertise of beneficiary advocacy groups. Their grass-roots knowledge will be very useful to us. Part of the change agenda we have as a Government is building the capacity of government agencies to be excellent providers of social services.

“Over the last nine years these groups have been very critical of the previous National Government’s approach to welfare services. National responded by cutting their funding in an attempt to silence their criticism. I am signalling a new start. We do want to listen to advocacy groups and we will make available to them opportunities to share their valuable experience.

“I’m currently exploring with WINZ how we can replicate today’s meeting regionally across the country because I also want us to be able to harness the talents of those groups who couldn’t come to Wellington today. Getting their collective skills and expertise on board is a major step forward in improving our social security services”, Mr. Maharey said.

ENDS

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