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Back to the future with Labour's policy

Back to the future with Labour's policy

National says Labour scrapping work testing for the domestic purposes benefit from today will discourage some parents with children from working, adding to the growing number of people supported by welfare in this country.

National Social Services Spokesperson Katherine Rich says the Social Security Amendment Act gives parents and opt-out clause from work, when the Government should be actively encouraging them back into the workforce.

"Most kiwis thought that asking parents to be available for part-time work once their youngest child was at school was fair. Making work optional is a big step backwards.

"Working is not just about money it is about self esteem and participating in the community. After 18 years of not working many parents simply won't have the confidence or inclination to get back out there.

Mrs Rich cited the comments of the OECD's Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, John Martin, at the Knowledge Wave Conference when he said that the enforcement of work tests played an important part in successful OECD welfare programmes.

"New Zealand is doing the exact opposite. It is ideology rather than common sense which has us going against the trend of other successful OECD countries' welfare programmes by removing the expectation of work.

"A major United States study released at the weekend also supports encouraging women on welfare back into work.

Published in the latest issue of Science Magazine, the study of 2,400 children found that despite fears that children would be harmed when their mothers left welfare for work, the children were no worse off. "It finds that some children benefited from the role model of working mothers and that their home life improved both financially and socially.

"The current Government is creating more welfare dependency by the removal of the work test for the domestic purposes benefit today," Mrs Rich said.

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