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Greens challenge Labour to debate social policy

Greens challenge Labour to debate social policy

The Green Party's Social Services spokesperson, Sue Bradford is challenging Labour to debate social policy.

"Helen Clark is reported as saying that we are 'completely out of our depth' on social policy," said Sue Bradford. "We would be delighted for the opportunity to compare our policies in public with Labour.

"Child poverty, welfare reform and unemployment are issues really close to my heart and things I have been campaigning against for much of my life. If Labour thinks I'm 'out of my depth' then why doesn't Social Services Minister Steve Maharey front-up for a debate?

"The tragedies that we have to face up to are that 173,000 people were registered as unemployed in March, that four out of five households using foodbanks have children, that one in six Northlanders are looking for a job.

"Helen Clark asks 'Where's the money to fund our solutions?' There is a $2.3 billion budget surplus. This government is committed to a universal benefit for our elderly but not for our young. Shouldn't we treasure them - and treat them - equally?

"There is much that Labour has done and much that it promises to do, that we applaud. However, we want to keep them honest and on target.

"We released our children's policy, Every Child Matters, two weeks ago. Some commentators have already compared the real solutions offered in that document with the lack of specifics in Labour's Agenda for Children, launched on Thursday.

"The Green Party is not so arrogant as to claim we have all the answers and not so blinkered as to dismiss other solutions to child poverty. We think this country's social ills are important enough to debate. We hope Labour does too."

ENDS

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