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Maharey's New Work Programme Flops

Maharey's New Work Programme Flops

Monday, August 13 2001

Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

The launch of Steve Maharey's new work programme, Activity in the Community, has been a resounding flop compared with the work for the dole scheme which was axed by this Government, figures provided to ACT Employment Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman show.

Answers to Dr Newman's written Parliamentary questions reveal that in the first 13 weeks of the new programme, 1602 people were placed in it.

In sharp contrast, the work for the dole scheme, the Community Wage, attracted some 4300 people in just its first 10 weeks after introduction by the previous Government in 1998.

"In March Steve Maharey crowed that axing work for the dole was 'putting to death a policy which really no-one wanted'. In reality it was putting to death a scheme that worked and replacing it with a politically-correct, socialist-driven, warm fuzzy scheme which provides no incentive for the long term unemployed to get back into the work ethic and out of the welfare dependency trap.

"The normally over-voluble Mr Maharey is noticeably quiet about his new programme now.

"I also note that some 273 people placed in Mr Maharey's new programme didn't bother staying in it for longer than a month. Unlike work for the dole, they know they can quit when they want and not lose their benefit. This Government has consistently displayed an attitude that those who don't want to work don' t have to.

"Steve Maharey is sparing with the truth when he claims that Activity in the Community is 'intended to cater for fewer people because we want more people in real work'.

"Work programmes are designed for the long term unemployed and their numbers are certainly not fewer. According to DWI figures, there are now 52,000 people who have been out of work for more than two years ' that's some 8000 more than when Mr Maharey became minister.

"Mr Maharey has been a dismal failure in dealing with the country's growing long term unemployment problem. He has become the worst performing, most embarrassing Minister in Helen Clark's Government. The Prime Minister must find her loyalty to Mr Maharey for being one of her main henchmen in the brutal leadership coup of 1993 now being tested to the limit.

"ACT says end the nonsense. When in Government we will bring in training programmes which compel people to reacquire the work ethic, to improve themselves to get out of the benefit trap and to build brighter futures," Dr Newman said.

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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