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Social Policy Is Part Of The Drive For Prosperity

Social Policy Is Part Of The Drive For Prosperity – Maharey

A modern welfare state should play its part in the drive for a more prosperous economy says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

Speaking at the Economist-organised Roundtable with the New Zealand Government today, Mr Maharey said that for too long the debate about social policy and the welfare state had been based on a fruitless argument.

"On one side there have been people who simply want more spending. On the other we have people who want to end the welfare state.

"It is time to move on from this debate to ask how investment in social policy can be part of building an economically prosperous and socially just nation."

Mr Maharey said the Government's welfare policies ranged across several portfolios and are aimed at boosting the capability of all New Zealanders to thrive in a changing world.

"Our tertiary policies are directed at developing a more strategically focused system to ensure educational and research programmes are linked to building a knowledge society.

"Through policies like Modern Apprenticeships we are working with industry to guarantee a skill base for the 21st century.

"The Government is scrapping the Community Wage with its focus on welfare and replacing it with a drive to get more people into real jobs in a growing economy.

"We have begun on the development of a benefit system which is simple, flexible and enables people to take paid work opportunities.

"Instead of arguing about whether or not we should have social welfare it is time to modernise the welfare state so it can meet the needs of New Zealanders in the global economy. That is what the Government will do and we look forward to including business in the exciting work that needs to be done," Steve Maharey said.

Contact: Michael Gibbs, Press Secretary, (04) 471 9154 or (025) 270 9115.

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