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Young Need Support To Escape Dependency Trap

Wednesday 14th Mar 2001 Dr Muriel Newman Media Release -- Social Welfare

ACT MP Dr Muriel Newman is reintroducing a Private Members’ Bill to ensure young unemployed people are fully supported in their search for a job. The bill will go into tomorrow’s ballot.

"Any country that values its young needs to make certain that they successfully manage the transition from school to work," Dr Newman said.

"I have reintroduced the Social Security (Youth Fulltime Work Enhancement) Amendment Bill to ensure New Zealand’s youth are fully encouraged to escape the welfare dependency trap.

"This Bill will mean under 20-year-olds on benefits will participate daily in personalised, organised activities to enhance their chances of getting a job. Required activities would include training, job search, community work, and CV writing. It is envisaged this work would take up 40 hours in the week.

"It is important that young people not in jobs learn the kinds of skills and disciplines they need for fulltime employment. By spending 40 hours a week preparing for fulltime jobs, this will reduce problems they could have adapting to the workforce. It is time for an enlightened approach to ensure young people no longer fall through the cracks of the social welfare system.

"ACT is currently working on a comprehensive overhaul of welfare policy. Last weekend, party members energetically examined a range of suggested policies.

"We enjoyed constructive, robust discussion about ideas including: child-care help for sole parents, time limits for welfare, and competitive delivery of welfare services. While this feedback was highly fruitful, no policy decisions have been made as yet.

"We’re going to look further at some ideas, and design an array of strategies to give us a welfare system which provides the intended hand up for people in need – but does not encourage individuals into a lifestyle of welfare dependency with the ensuing social problems.

"It is imperative that we take a fresh look at our welfare system so we can we help those families entrenched in second and third generation benefit dependency. We must address the associated problems of child abuse, alcohol and drug addictions, teenage pregnancy and youth suicide, with all urgency.

"ACT intends to address the causes of social decay in New Zealand. This Bill is a firm step in that direction," Dr Muriel Newman said.

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