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United Future: Tamihere deserves to be heard

United Future: Tamihere deserves to be heard

United Future leader, Peter Dunne, today backed Youth Affairs Minister, John Tamihere, and his outspoken views on the New Zealand welfare system.

"While I appreciate the Prime Minister's desire to present a unified front with her Cabinet colleagues, Mr Tamihere's criticisms of the welfare system are too important to be smothered in a welter of finger-pointing and name-calling," he said.

"Just look at the figures - approximately a third of all New Zealand children, 321,000 of them, are in households that receive their major income from a benefit; there are now 409,000 New Zealanders getting all their income from welfare; we now spend just under 21/2 times more on welfare than we do on education; and since 1960, Government spending on welfare per head of population has increased by more than 500%.

"These are numbers that cannot be ignored and it's my belief that full public discussion on how to change them is required, rather than telling people like Mr Tamihere to go and stand in the corner with his face to the wall," said Mr Dunne.

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