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Employment growth exposes Nat’s welfare ‘rethink

Employment growth exposes National’s welfare ‘rethink’

New statistics showing a dramatic drop in the number of people receiving unemployment benefits will prove embarrassing for the National party as it talks tough about future welfare policies, says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

There were 134,416 people receiving unemployment benefits on 31 January 2003, over 16,000 fewer than the 150,880 on the same benefits on 1 February 2002.

Steve Maharey said the fall in unemployment statistics proves the government’s decision to focus Work and Income on getting beneficiaries into work is achieving results. Proposals floated by National to reintroduce work-for-the-dole and to put time limits on benefits put these achievements at risk.

“Dramatically lower unemployment rolls vindicate the government’s approach to welfare. We have freed up Work and Income front line staff to focus on getting people into paid work.

“Under National case managers spent so much time administering the ineffective work-for-the-dole scheme that finding real jobs for beneficiaries was a lesser priority. Worse still, evaluations National themselves commissioned in government showed beneficiaries became attached to their ‘make work’ jobs and stopped looking for real jobs.

“It is therefore astounding to hear the party would reintroduce work-for-the-dole if it were re-elected, and is also considering introducing life time benefit time-limits. Parties which genuinely aspire to form a government have a responsibility to move beyond sloganeering.

“National has constantly refused to acknowledge its welfare policies failed during the 1990s. These statistics make their continued denials much less credible,” Steve Maharey said.

Contact: Michael Gibbs, Press Secretary, (04) 471 9154 or (021) 270 9115, e-mail: michael.gibbs@parliament.govt.nz.

Steve Maharey discusses the parties approaches to welfare in the attached opinion piece.
Unemployment beneficiaries by region and service centre as at 1 February 2002 and 31 January 2003
Region Service Centre 1 Feb 2002 31 Jan 2003

Northland Dargaville 512 514
Kaikohe 1091 995
Kaitaia 1609 1465
Kamo 969 898
Kawakawa 561 482
Kerikeri 697 529
Onerahi 333 304
Whangarei Central 1309 1090
Whangarei South 746 910

Auckland North Avondale 1084 908
Birkenhead 751 701
Browns Bay 716 636
Glen Eden 755 625
Glenfield 758 663
Helensville 314 329
Kelston 382 196
New Lynn 1531 1238
Orewa 675 618
Takapuna 894 682
Takapuna Super 212 13
Waitakere 2879 2614
Warkworth 357 275
West Gate 1052 934

Auckland Central Auckland 5 1
Glen Innes 1744 1583
Highland Park 1399 1221
Mt Albert 1327 1266
Mt Eden 1222 1118
Onehunga 1078 935
Panmure 1167 1155
Pt Chevalier 461 416
Queen Street 1490 1251
Queen Street Super 2 7
Surrey Crescent/Ponsonby Road 1560 1234
Three Kings 1540 1354
Waiheke Island 487 357

Auckland South Clendon 1258 1243
Hunters Corner 855 876
Mangere 2978 2603
Manukau 1350 1133
Manurewa 2118 2102
Otahuhu 1114 954
Otara 1196 1052
Papakura 1659 1614
Papatoetoe 828 899
Pukekohe 855 807
Waiuku 287 239

Waikato Cambridge 286 239
Dinsdale 1528 1575
Five Cross Roads 1436 1474
Glenview 538 574
Hamilton 1323 1171
Hamilton City Super - 8
Hamilton East 1060 862
Hauraki 289 246
Huntly 668 585
Matamata 173 199
Morrinsville 407 412
Nawton 2 3
Ngaruawahia 531 499
Te Awamutu 292 244
Thames 959 829
Waihi 620 546

Bay of Plenty Greerton 1329 1100
Kawerau 873 815
Mount Maunganui 1382 1025
Opotiki 954 874
Rotorua 3461 3114
Taupo 511 409
Tauranga 1634 1395
Te Puke 466 394
Tokoroa 1110 968
Turangi 323 242
Whakatane 1676 1604

Taranaki Hawera 761 704
Marton 378 328
New Plymouth 2322 2065
Stratford 319 347
Taihape 276 198
Taumarunui 540 522
Te Kuiti 416 382
Waitara 568 561
Wanganui 2293 2106

East Coast Flaxmere 860 782
Gisborne 1146 934
Hastings 1927 890
Hastings West - 559
Kaiti 1362 767
Napier 1972 781
Napier South - 914
Ruatoria - 403
Taradale 648 529
Wairoa 606 512

Central Dannevirke 267 379
Feilding 697 705
Foxton 299 273
Horowhenua 1037 1056
Kapiti 928 894
Masterton 1347 1125
Otaki 398 363
Palmerston North 1947 1648
Palmerston North Terrace End 786 676
Student Services 14806 13808
Waipukurau 351 371

Nelson Blenheim 718 492
Greymouth 844 690
Motueka 702 485
Nelson 993 683
Richmond 267 160
Stoke 237 133
Westport 558 460

Wellington Johnsonville 827 818
Kilbirnie 1232 1233
Lower Hutt 1441 1367
Naenae 1454 1603
Newtown 1379 1521
Porirua 2895 2580
Upper Hutt 1281 1313
Wainuiomata 826 791
Wellington 1055 2158
Wellington City 1202 77
Wellington Super 162 136

Canterbury Ashburton 284 203
Christchurch 1733 1533
Hornby 504 390
Kaiapoi 312 326
Linwood 734 651
Linwood Super 2 -
New Brighton 1580 1243
Papanui 1396 1128
Papanui Super 2 -
Rangiora 645 344
Riccarton 1357 955
Riccarton Super 2 1
Shirley 874 679
Stanmore 1341 936
Sydenham 1793 1286

Southern Alexandra 99 84
Balclutha 199 187
Dunedin 19 10
Dunedin City 2056 1744
Dunedin North 544 518
Dunedin South 968 788
Dunedin Super - 1
Gore 261 216
Invercargill 2318 2177
Mosgiel 362 286
Oamaru 455 374
Queenstown 57 48
Timaru 1432 1239

Other 223 340

TOTAL 150,880 134,416

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