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Pathways to Opportunity

18 June 2001 Media Statement

Pathways to Opportunity


Prime Minister Helen Clark and Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey today released a Government statement on the development of the social security system.

Pathways to Opportunity: Ngä ara whai oranga offers a new approach to social security for people of working age in New Zealand.

The publication sets out the contribution a social development approach can make to the development of an innovative economy which can create jobs and provide opportunities for all New Zealanders. It outlines the Government's moves to rebuild the social security system around a social development model.

Helen Clark said the Government wants to build the skills and talents of all New Zealanders to ensure they have an opportunity to succeed.

"The First Labour Government established the present social security system in 1938. It now falls to the Labour-Alliance Government to build on that proud past and have social security making a full contribution to New Zealand's economic and social development this century.

"The $5.4 billion we spend each year on benefits should not only provide security, but also an investment in people's potential.

"Today's statement describes the beginnings we have made and the steps now in train to realise this goal."

Steve Maharey said the Government wanted to move past the unproductive "more versus less" argument which has dominated the political debate around social security.

"Social security must be more than a fortnightly payment. The system needs to evolve as a carefully considered social investment to lift people's capacity today, so they can look after themselves tomorrow.

"Our approach to reforming New Zealand's social security system focuses on six key components:
- building a simpler benefit system;
- making work pay and investing in people;
- supporting families and children;
- building partnerships with the community;
- outlining mutual responsibilities; and
- tackling poverty and social exclusion."

Mr Maharey said Pathways to Opportunity: Ngä ara whai oranga was the first of a number of documents relating to social policy to be published over the coming month. Others were a report on social indicators, and the framework to be used to co-ordinate whole-of-government responses to social exclusion in our society.

ENDS

Copies of Pathways to Opportunity: Ngä ara whai oranga are available from Mr Maharey's office, (04) 470 6552 or can be downloaded from www.executive.govt.nz.

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