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NZ is too Heavy for the Knowledge Wave Surfboard

NZ is too Heavy for the Knowledge Wave Surfboard

Tuesday, August 7 2001
Richard Prebble Press Releases -- Economy


New Zealand will never ride the Knowledge Wave while the number of people on welfare continues to rise, ACT leader Richard Prebble says.

"How is it, at a time when unemployment is falling, that there are now 60,000 more able-bodied people on welfare than at the height of the economic restructuring?" Mr Prebble said.

"The average cost of welfare is $10,500 per beneficiary. So 60,000 extra able-bodied people on welfare costs $634 million a year ' or $12.2 million a week.

"The Reserve Bank Governor, Don Brash, asked a good question at the Knowledge Wave Conference: 'Why does an able-bodied person get welfare anyway?' Why not just give such adults a job? Any job.

"There are now more than 100,000 adults who claim not to have been able to find a job for a year or more. I have met employers from Northland to Invercargill who have told me they will give a job to anyone who is willing to work.

"Do we have an obligation to pay benefits to able-bodied adults who are not willing to work? Can we afford to? Why does any able-bodied person qualify for 100 percent leisure time at the taxpayers' expense?

"Imagine what we could do for teachers' pay if our welfare rolls were lower.

"ACT is the only party that has had the courage to raise welfare reform as an election issue. With one adult in three on welfare there's no way New Zealand can ride the knowledge wave ' we're too heavy for the surfboard," Mr Prebble 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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