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Beneficiaries Going Backwards

The Minister of Social Services' boasting about benefit increases for April 1 is misplaced, says National's Social Services spokesman Bob Simcock.

"Steve Maharey has no choice - all Governments adjust benefits at this time every year. It is particularly sad to hear him try and claim credit for this move, when in real terms beneficiaries are going backwards.

"The increase is a year behind. Beneficiaries have had to put up with higher costs of living, including a 4.5% rise in food prices, on last year's benefit level. What's more, the adjustment comes into affect on April 1 - the same day as the petrol tax is increased, driving up the cost of living even more for low income New Zealanders.

"While in opposition, Labour and the Alliance supported events like the Hikoi of Hope and bleated about benefit levels. Yet since being in Government, they have done nothing to increase the real value of benefits. Instead they have allowed the cost of living to increase for superannuitants and other beneficiaries.

"This is another example of the 'Maharey principle' in action - say one thing in opposition, do another in Government," said Mr Simcock.


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