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Work For The Dole Will Still Be Compulsory

Work For The Dole Will Still Be Compulsory – Official

Friday 16th Jun 2000
Dr Muriel Newman
Media Release -- Social Welfare

With government officials revealing yesterday that work for the dole would still be compulsory, Social Services Minister Steve Maharey’s grand plans to ‘reinvent the welfare state’ now appear to be nothing more than a mere name change for the community wage.

ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said the fact that welfare was invisible in the budget was an indictment of a Minister who had no vision for welfare and no new ideas of his own.

“There was no increase in overall employment scheme funding and no details on what the Government planned to do, except change the name of Community Work to “Activity in the Community”. Further, while the Government’s own officials said that the renamed work for the dole scheme would still require the unemployed to take jobs in the community, the Minister was saying the opposite.

In answer to a written question from Dr Newman the Minister for Social Services, Steve Maharey replied on the day before the budget that ‘participation in Activity in the Community will not be mandatory’ and that job seekers could choose whether or not to participate and would not face sanctions for choosing not to work.

“It now appears from the confusion and lack of detail that Steve Maharey’s promise to ‘scrap the community wage’ was, in the Minister’s own words, “just one of those things that you say in Opposition”,” she said.

“Steve Maharey has already told beneficiaries not to bother turning up for work. He has said that under his changes, they won’t face penalties. Now it appears that his grand plan to change the scheme may only be a name change, and those who don’t turn up, will face sanctions,” she said.

Dr Newman said the Government must move quickly to clarify the growing confusion over whether or not beneficiaries should be turning up for work.

“This ‘do we, or don’t we’ turn up to work confusion is costing beneficiaries the chance to get motivated and back into work. Steve Maharey is making a mockery of the benefit system and that’s unfair on taxpayers,” said Muriel Newman.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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