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Get It Together, Maharey

Get It Together, Maharey

Steve Maharey's attempt to discredit work for the dole, and his soft-on-welfare tinkering, have cemented him as the weakest Welfare Minister in New Zealand history, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"The Minister knows that Work for the Dole was New Zealand's most successful work skill programme. In its short life it gave tens of thousands of the unemployed the dignity of valuable work experience. More than 4,000 community organisations, from one end of the country to the other, took part - Work for the Dole worked," Dr Newman said.

"Mr Maharey's so-called evidence that Work for the Dole failed is largely based on a different programme - and he knows that. By being economical with the truth, Mr Maharey is deliberately misleading the public and discrediting the programme.

"Work for the Dole was scrapped by Labour to satisfy one of the 120 demands of the Beneficiary Union. It was replaced with Activity in the Community, a programme identical to Work for the Dole - except for the fact that participants can refuse to turn up. Activity in the Community has proved to be a total flop.

"Despite strong job growth since Labour has been in power, the Minister's record is abysmal. His own official statistics show the number of long-term unemployed on the dole for more than 10 years have increased from 5,566 to 6,166

"ACT has led political parties in its advocacy for Work for the Dole for years, and is now delighted that National is considering supporting, what is, a core ACT policy," said Dr Newman.

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