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Comment on Downtown Community Ministry report

Two reports published by the Downtown Community Ministry and the Wellington People's Centre underline the importance of simplifying New Zealand's welfare system and clarifying the rights and obligations of beneficiaries and the Government, says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

The reports raise complex technical and legal issues relating to the operation of the benefit system which will need to be carefully considered.

"These reports raise complex technical issues which the Government will need to carefully consider.

"As the responsible Minister I am required to ensure our benefit system meets the needs of beneficiaries and protects the interest of taxpayers.

"Official advice is that the Department of Work and Income has been operating within the law and the relevant Ministerial directive.

"The clear issue however that arises in these reports is that there is some confusion as to what is an entitlement, and what is a discretionary benefit. I shall be acting quickly to clarify the situation.

"The Government is committed to ensuring that beneficiaries do receive what they are entitled to. It is in the interests of both beneficiaries and taxpayers that the system is fair, transparent and fiscally-responsible," said Steve Maharey.


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