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Splenetic Outbursts Do Not A Spokesperson Make

17 May 2001

Splenetic Outbursts Do Not A Spokesperson Make, Maharey Tells Simcock

National's befuddled social services spokesperson Bob Simcock has really lost the plot in Parliament again this week, says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

Mr Simcock claimed during Parliament's question time this afternoon that there had been 'huge' growth in foodbank useage across the country. In fact independent reputable research to be released points to a reduction in demand. The claims came hot on the heels of an insensitive gaffe in the House yesterday when he tried to link the opening of new Government one-stop-shops in rural communities with the children killed in those communities.

Mr Maharey said Mr Simcock would do well to stop talking New Zealanders down and to check his facts before making silly statements in the future.

"As a former Opposition social services spokesperson, and now as the Minister, I know how important it is to check the facts before rushing down to Parliament with inaccurate information.

"Tomorrow the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services is to release the results of its ongoing Poverty Indicator Project. I understand that far from showing a 'huge' increase in food bak demand – as Mr Simcock asserts – demand has begun to drop away in most areas. This includes my own city of Palmerston North.

"The research again points to the significant impact of the introduction of income-related rents on low income New Zealanders. It also points out that more needs to be done to tackle poverty and the Government acknowledges this. It is very rich that Mr Simock who represents a party that actively created poverty now pretends to care.

"Just as with his totally inappropriate comments about child deaths in the House yesterday, Mr Simcock really has to learn to control himself.

"The Government is happy to have its record of advancing the position of disadvantaged New Zealanders compared with their decline under the National Government Bob Simcock was a member of any day," Steve Maharey said.

Ends

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