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Maharey’s U-turn on Welfare Privatisation Welcome

Maharey’s U-turn on Welfare Privatisation Welcome

Wednesday 7th Feb 2001 Dr Muriel Newman Media Release -- Social Welfare

ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman has welcomed news that a partnership will be formed in Hamilton between private welfare agencies and the Department of Child Youth and Family Services to deal with a backlog of suspected child abuse cases.

“ACT has been advocating a one-stop-shop community based team approach which would see key agencies working together in a collaborative manner under one roof. This plan falls a long way short of that, but at least is a step in the right direction after so many moves in the wrong direction.

“I realise how hard it must have been for Social Welfare Minister Maharey to undertake in effect a partial privatisation of some welfare services. In opposition he advocated a completely different approach. In media statements then he rounded on the National Government and said it was ‘intent on destroying’ the then equivalent service to CYFS so that its functions could ‘be taken over by local communities and business’.

“Little more than three years ago Mr Maharey was bemoaning a lack of funding and expressing ‘serious concern’ when there were around 700 cases of suspected child abuse which had not been allocated to any social worker.

“So now as Minister, Mr Maharey has received extra funding – but is looking at around 4000 unallocated cases. Last year was dubbed the year of shame because of the numbers of our young that were killed. With this year a little more than a month old, three children have already died at the hands of adults.

“This Minister’s dogged insistence that our terrible child abuse problem could be handled by throwing money at it has failed him utterly. So now he is turning towards the very policies he so stridently criticised when in Opposition. I urge him to complete the U-turn in thinking and adopt a community-based approach to this problem, which would at last see the numbers of child abuse cases reducing,” Dr Newman said.

ENDS

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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