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Will National Support Welfare Reform?

Will National Support Welfare Reform?

Wednesday 29 Jan 2003 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today responded to Dr Don Brash's suggestion to abolish the unemployment benefit, saying that while the dole has a legitimate role, changes are needed to halt the downward spiral of benefit dependency.

"Figures released to my Parliamentary Questions show that, under Labour, long-term welfare dependency has grown by more than 10 percent, with 6,166 people having been unemployed for more than a decade," Dr Newman said.

"These figures show that, while New Zealand has a very real problem with entrenched welfare dependency, abolishing the Unemployment Benefit is not the right way to go.

"ACT believes that those who can work, should work. They need organised days to develop skills and habits for the workforce, to help them overcome their barriers to work with the assistance of childcare support, transport help and relocation assistance. We should also be introducing time limits on benefits to create a sense of urgency.

"It is widespread welfare reform that New Zealand urgently needs, and National should be supporting that view.

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

ENDS


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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