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Government Reinvents Wheel to Get Rid of Rankin

Government Reinvents Wheel to Get Rid of Rankin

Thursday 22nd Mar 2001 Dr Muriel Newman Media Release -- Social Welfare

ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said the Government’s reported plans to undertake a massive restructuring of social welfare are simply an enormous smokescreen through which it can get rid of Department of Work and Income head Christine Rankin.

“It has been clear this Government is not extending Ms Rankin’s contract, which ends on July 1. The problem the Government faces however is that Ms Rankin has met virtually all of her targets set out in the DWI’s purchasing agreement with the Government – thus making her very difficult to get rid of.

“Clearly Ms Rankin has indicated she will not leave her post without a fight. Any attempt to terminate her employment without valid reasons could potentially cost the Government a seven-figure sum in compensation.

“So, to avoid such embarrassment, Helen Clark is now proposing another total reinvention of welfare services.

“Creation of the DWI had a one-off cost to the taxpayer of $44 million. However, this Government in response to Parliamentary questions last year admitted that the creation of the DWI one-stop-shop would produce net benefits to the taxpayer of nearly $23 million in the 2000/01 financial year – rising to over $24 million in future years.

“What improvements will result from a re-amalgamation of welfare services? In addition, because of the complexity of this proposed restructuring the actual cost to the taxpayer of this new proposal could be higher than the $44 million spent creating the DWI .

“This latest proposal shows the Government is more interested in how it looks than in doing a good job for the people of New Zealand. I urge Ms Clark and her colleagues in the interest of common sense to reconsider this proposal and concentrate on providing welfare services which do the best job for everybody,” 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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