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Scrapping Work Testing for the DPB - Kids Lose

Scrapping Work Testing for the DPB will See Kids Lose

Tuesday 4 Dec 2001 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

When all the evidence shows that children do better in families where there is a working parent, it is clear that scrapping work testing for the DPB will hurt the children of sole parents, ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

Dr Newman revealed figures obtained through parliamentary questions that show work-testing worked. The number of people shifting from the DPB into paid employment has risen steadily from 7,328 in the year to October 1997 to 10,329 this year.

"Parents in jobs have more confidence and more self-esteem. Children are the winners. They escape the vicious dependency cycle that ensnares far too many New Zealanders.

"All of the research tells us the same thing: DPB-dependency is harmful. The October Ministry of Social Development survey of sole parents who moved off the benefit and into employment found unsurprisingly that 60 per cent of respondents reported that the overall effect on their families of taking paid work was positive or very positive, with only four percent reporting the effect as negative or very negative.

"Steve Maharey's claim that work testing wasn't working flies in the face of all of the evidence. After 25 years of DPB-dependence rising, work testing has seen the number of people reliant on the benefit gradually start to reduce. The Minister's own in-depth survey completed in October states, `those that did move into employment and off the benefit were more likely to report they were better off financially'.

"In spite of the evidence, Mr Maharey has completely scrapped the requirement for sole parents to look for work. Neither case managers nor employment plans can require any sole parent to look for work when the option to impose sanctions if they refuse has been removed.

"The end result of removing work-testing will be that more sole parents become completely reliant on the DPB. Mr Maharey's short-sighted move will ensnare more families in the vicious dependency cycle.

"Mr Maharey's damaging removal of work testing is solely driven by ideology and his willingness to acquiesce to the 131 demands of the Beneficiary Advocacy Group," said ACT Welfare spokesman Dr Muriel Newman.

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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