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Blueprint: Promises We've Heard Before

Friday 21 Feb 2003 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today questioned Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey's Care and Protection Blueprint 2003.

"While the intent of the Blueprint launched today is laudable, I worry that it will become just another `feel-good, look-good' talkfest, which promises much, but delivers little," Dr Newman said.

"The Blueprint is full of aspirations, but weak on solid proposals to turn around the systemic failure which dogs social service delivery in New Zealand.

"For example, the Blueprint tells us that agencies must be committed to working together. Yet the report, issued last week - on Government agencies' failures to deal adequately with the young people charged with killing Michael Choy - shows that this goal is a faint hope.

"What is really needed, if we want agencies to work together in a co-ordinated fashion, is a one-stop shop along the lines of that set up by the Starship Hospital - a community-based agency with welfare, health, education and police working together with a common goal of reducing child abuse in their community.

"Realistically, the best way to support children and ensure their safety is to encourage strong families. Removing the incentive to family breakdown and long-term welfare dependency, as well as reducing the financial stress on working families, would significantly improve the outlook for New Zealand children. Yet I see no such initiatives in the Blueprint.

"As a priority to making New Zealand a safer and better country in which to raise children, ACT would embark on a programme of welfare reform, returning welfare to being a safety net for those who cannot work, and a hand up to work for those who can. Further, a tax break for working families would ensure they are in a better position in which to provide for their children," Dr Newman said.

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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