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Backwards step for welfare

Backwards step for welfare

Steve Maharey's providing sole parents with an 18-year opt out clause from the workforce and some are bound to use it.

"It's a sad reality, but the truth is that a number of New Zealanders are abusing the DPB," says National Social Services and Employment spokeswoman Katherine Rich.

"Mr Maharey's trumpeting of the latest moves by the Government to assist sole parents into work is classic 1984 news-speak," she says.

"The abolition of the work test for sole parents on Domestic Purposes or Widows Benefits will trap more Kiwis in dependency.

"This is a huge step backwards for the welfare system.

"Many sole parents saw the previous requirement to return to work when their child went to school as exactly the encouragement they needed to get back into the workforce.

"Now the Government's giving them 18 years grace at the taxpayer's expense before they're compelled to start looking for work.

"Returning to the labour force is not just about work, but also about connection with and participation in the wider community," Katherine Rich says.

"The potential raised by this new legislation is for the gap in anyone's CV to extend to 18 years, that'll make returning to work even more difficult.

"Once again the Kiwi worker will be paying the price for Labour's soft approach to welfare," she says.

"There are nearly 120,000 people collecting the DPB and commonsense would suggest those numbers will now skyrocket.

"We'll be watching closely to see if Steve Maharey stumps up with the resources to handle the influx," Katherine Rich says.

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