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An attack on NZ values and social security

16 October 2001 Media Statement

Maharey – ‘time-limited benefits’ an attack on New Zealand values and social security

Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey has explicitly rejected adopting time-limits on welfare benefits.

“The Labour Alliance Government is about getting people into sustainable jobs, and there are now more New Zealanders in paid work than at any time in our history. We face uncertain times, but we do so with a very strong labour market.

“The National Party and ACT advocate time-limited benefits and this appears to be the anchor of their social policies. Mr English talks about confronting the problems of poverty and disadvantage in an honest and practical way, while the default Opposition spokesperson on social services and employment, Muriel Newman, says that time-limited benefits will be introduced if there is ever a change of government.

“Policies such as these have been followed in some parts of the United States – the result has been a deepening of poverty among the poorest families with children.

“A recent report shows that nearly a quarter of former welfare recipients have returned to welfare in the United States, with 12% not connected to work or to the welfare system.

“The Labour Alliance Government is committed to the primacy of employment as the engine of economic and social development, and as a source of self-esteem. We absolutely reject foreign notions such as time-related benefits. Our commitment is to the New Zealand way, and core New Zealand values of social security and assistance for those in need,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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