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Government Active At Reducing Social Disparity

Government Active At Reducing Social Disparity – Maharey

Reports released by Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey today detail the active steps taken by the Government in its first year to reduce inequality amongst New Zealanders.

The reports cover the labour, employment, social services, immigration and senior citizens portfolios. Mr Maharey said that the Government has an ambitious programme right across the social sector and it was looking to build on the creditable list of achievements began in 2000.

"As a new Government in 2000 we inherited a badly fractured society. The rich-poor gap grew alarmingly over 'eighties and 'nineties.

"The reports released today cover the initiatives taken in our first year. Some have been considered by the Cabinet committee on closing the gaps, others are presentations developed for a series of pre-Christmas community briefings on the Government's broad social policy achievements.

"Policies like restoring the value of superannuation stopped 300,000 older New Zealanders falling below the poverty line. Regionalising and better targetting the employment services offered by Work and Income is getting more people into paid work.

"The Government is committed to addressing the causes of inequality wherever they occur. Every New Zealander deserves the best start in life and the opportunity to grow and achieve their potential.

"In line with mainstream thinking internationally, we have also chosen to harness the skills and expertise of community-based organisations, Maori social service providers and other groups in order to maximise programme effectiveness.

"This year the Government plans to consolidate the gains made in our first and to bed in the changes. We want to significantly lift the well-being of all New Zealanders.

"We promised to govern in the interests of all New Zealanders. The initiatives detailed in these reports reveal the depth of that commitment," Steve Maharey said.

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