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K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Steve)

Belinda Vernon


National Work and Income Spokesperson

20 July 2000

K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Steve)

Suggestions that a Universal Benefit will simplify the benefit system are wishful thinking, National's Work and Income spokesperson Belinda Vernon said today.

"On the one hand the Minister says he wants a simple system; on the other he's proposing a system which requires individual tweaking for each beneficiary. That is not a recipe for simplification.

"A core benefit available to everyone must necessarily be set at the lowest level. Add ons for individual circumstances must therefore be applied for.

"Every beneficiary will either want or need to apply for those add ons - resulting in a bureaucratic labour-intensive process with huge potential for errors and inconsistencies.

"The Minister is talking about increasing the discretion of case managers - which will result in disagreement and dispute.

"Some beneficiary groups are welcoming the proposal because they are concerned about the number of mistakes made within the current system. Yet the 'tailoring' now being proposed by the Minister will greatly increase the potential for error.

"It's a policy that sounds good in theory but won't deliver in practice. It gives the illusion of simplicity - but if you drill down it is complicated and messy. It is clear that a lot more work is required," Belinda Vernon said.

Ends

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