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Maharey Misleads Parliament

Tuesday 21st Nov 2000

“Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey has today deliberately misled Parliament,” said ACT Employment Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman.

“In response to a question in the House, the Minister said that Community Work was a $ 43 million dollar failure. But that is wrong, and the Minister knows it,” Dr Newman said.

“The $43 million was the cost of setting up WINZ as a one-stop-shop to case manage beneficiaries. While it cost $ 43 million to set up, it is on public record that it was then expected to save $24 million a year over the next five years, a net saving of over $60 million.

“This expenditure is totally separate from the cost of the Community Wage, as the Minister well knows. Last September, in opposition, Mr Maharey asked a parliamentary question to find out the cost of establishing the Community Wage. The answer he received was $2.1 million in total set up costs.

“Mr Maharey knows that, but has deliberately mislead Parliament in order to turn public opinion against the Community Wage. He wants to discredit a highly successful scheme - which showed that within six months of participants finishing their community work, a remarkable 54% went on to further work or training - for his own ideological purposes.

“It is an outrage that a Minister of the Crown, for political purposes, has so deliberately misled the House. I am writing to the Speaker to lay a complaint, and to ask that he be required to apologise.

“While it has become obvious that Mr Maharey is willing to say anything to suit his own political ends, I draw the line at misleading the House” said Dr Newman.


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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