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Maharey plays word games with DPB policy

Bob Simcock National Social Services Spokesperson

6 November 2001

Maharey plays word games with DPB policy

The Social Services Minister is playing with words when he talks of scrapping work-testing for solo parents on the DPB and replacing it with a work contract, says National's Social Services spokesperson Bob Simcock.

"Steve Maharey's proposal is a sham. He talks of dropping work-testing, yet today he admitted that any new DPB regime would still have to include 'sanctions' if a person doesn't take a job that is available.

"What the Minister is really doing is reluctantly endorsing the DPB policy reforms introduced by National in 1999. He can't argue with the gains that have resulted from these reforms.

"A study out today by the Social Development Ministry proves this progress. It shows that National's reforms achieved all the goals set in 1999 - to get more beneficiaries into work, to reduce long-term benefit receipt, to reduce the number of children raised in long-term benefit dependent families, and to reduce fiscal cost over time.

"Two major findings of the study show that the number of people on a benefit has fallen consistently since the reforms were introduced, and that quality of life has improved as a result.

"Mr Maharey needs to face the facts. Attempting to meet an election promise of scrapping work-testing by introducing a different type of work-testing is hardly going to help those most in need," said Mr Simcock.

Ends

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