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National Welfare Policy Is A Start

Thursday 4 Jul 2002

National's new welfare policy to put all young unemployed people into work or training is a step forward, but well short of the radical welfare reform needed, ACT spokesman on Social Welfare Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"The problem is that National's new Youth Transition Programme does not go far enough.

"What has National say to the 55,000 unemployed beneficiaries who have been languishing on the unemployment benefit for the whole time that Labour has been in power - aren't they worth helping?"

"And what about the 100,000 women on the DPB whose children form part of New Zealand's child poverty statistics - shouldn't they be a priority?

"Tossing $20 a week to people on welfare and forgetting them, as the Labour government has done, is simply not good enough.

"ACT believes that all those who can work, should work. They need organised days to develop the skills and habits of the workforce, helping them to overcome their barriers to work, with the assistance of childcare support, transport help, and relocation assistance.

"It is widespread welfare reform that New Zealand urgently needs - National should be lifting its sights," Dr Newman says.

"New Zealand has 400,000 working age adults on benefits today, with 4 full-time workers supporting each beneficiary. New Zealand cannot grow with so many people thrown on the scrap heap, and only ACT is advocating the real welfare reform of compulsory 40 hour work or training weeks, and five-year life time limits on benefits." concluded Dr Newman.

Ends

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