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Few extra Hamilton social workers an insult

Bob Simcock National Social Services Spokesperson

13 March 2001

Few extra Hamilton social workers an insult

"Steve Maharey is dreaming if he thinks his response today to CYFS' soaring problems is a serious answer to Judge Brown's report," National's Social Services spokesperson Bob Simcock said today.

"Does he honestly believe two new social workers, plus the borrowing of four part-timers will adequately address CYFS' problems in Hamilton?

"Last year we saw a few extra part-time social workers put into Hamilton but despite Tariana Turia's assurances to the contrary, CYFS problems there just got worse. This latest lacklustre response will be no more successful.

"Are these four part-timers for three months what Mr Maharey meant when he told us that he would respond to each and every one of Judge Brown's recommendations generously and promptly?

"Is borrowing staff what the Minister really means when he talks about working in partnership with the community organisations?

"Mr Maharey's announcement today adds insult to injury, and does nothing to deal with the worry of the families of the 4,000 cases of at-risk children waiting to see social workers. During Labour's short tenure unallocated cases have doubled.

"From 1998 to 2000 the National Government increased CYFS budget by 59%, but last year the Labour government gave CYFS a pathetic 5.2% increase in spite of increased referrals.

"Last year Labour failed to respond to forecast increases and mounting pressure CYFS offices were under. Now, despite having the Judge Brown report in-hand, Labour continues to offer nothing more than syrupy rhetoric and window-dressing," Mr Simcock said.

Ends

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