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Dole Deal Is To Soften Up Aussies

26 February 2001

"Helen Clark's deal on social welfare with Australia will have Aussie's laughing all the way to the bank" said Max Bradford National's spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, and Bob Simcock, National's spokesperson on Social Welfare.

"Kiwis shouldn't be conned by the NZ prime minister. This deal won't save the NZ taxpayer anything. As unemployed New Zealanders in Australia will now have to come home, the full cost of the dole will have to be paid by the New Zealand taxpayer, rather than part paid by Australia.

"It is a good deal for the Australians. They won't have to pay for kiwis on the dole any longer, and they will continue to get tens of thousands of our best trained and educated people in their workforce without having to pay a bean. The Aussies have scored a real coup over the Labour/Alliance government," said Mr Bradford.

"It is hard to understand why Clark has done this on such a favourable basis for the Australian government. Is it to make the bitter pill of New Zealand welshing on it's defence responsibilities with our most important security partner easier to swallow?"

"The deal suggests the real intention was to convince the Aussies the savings they make can be spent to fill the hole left by the New Zealand Government's hollowing out of our defence capability.

"Clark has all but said that the New Zealand Air Force contribution to the Australian/NZ joint air strike capability at Nowra is over. The full Orion maritime air surveillance role has the skids under it so that is another cost the Aussies will have to pick up."

"The Prime Minister should tell New Zealanders what the real reason for the social welfare deal is. It's clear it has nothing to do with getting a good deal for kiwis and everything to do with softening up the Aussies so this government can walk away from the hard parts of our defence relationship with Australia."

"It won't stop Aussies calling kiwis bludgers. Instead of bludging on the Aussie dole we'll be seen as bludging on Australia's defence force."

Ends


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