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Government's Decision Offensive To Common-Sense

The Government has pushed ahead with a change to the Community Employment Group scheme - despite being warned the move was likely to set the "closing the gaps" agenda back by up to two years

Cabinet papers released under the Official Information Act show that the State Services Commission advised strongly against moving control of the CEG scheme from the Department of Work and Income to the Department of Labour.

The SSC submission to Cabinet says: "The State Services Commission does not support this proposal... (The implications) could include the high risks of not achieving the community employment/closing the gaps objectives during the change period, which could be 18-24 months before services are firmly re-established."

It also warned of significant restructuring costs, disruptions and a loss of staff morale due to yet more structural change.

Treasury also recommended against the change - saying there's no evidence it would produce better outcomes.

"But Cabinet has put ideology before common sense, and pushed ahead with the change regardless," National's Employment spokesman Bob Simcock said today.

"Steve Maharey has put politics before people, and that says a lot about him as a person. It shows a wilful disregard for the people who rely on the CEG scheme to improve their prospects.

"Schemes like the Community Employment Group are there to help people improve their lives. Mucking round with that scheme, against the advice of Treasury and the SSC, is yet another example of this Government's offensive belief in its own infallibility," Bob Simcock said.


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