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Naughty Johnny strikes again

Naughty Johnny strikes again

John Tamihere's controversial comments in an Auckland newspaper today demonstrate that Helen can't keep a good MP down, says National Social Welfare Spokesperson Katherine Rich.

Mr Tamihere is back in print today confirming his stance on reform of the welfare system.

"I agree with John Tamihere that the best time to reform welfare is when the economy is going well and that's why reform needs to happen now.

"For three and a half years Labour has done the opposite by softening requirements such as removing work testing, eliminating work for the dole and making it easier to get special benefits.

"In a time of relative economic prosperity Labour has completely missed the opportunity to reform the welfare state, and do anything about growing welfare dependency.

"Even after the best economic conditions in a generation the welfare roll, according to the DEFU, is predicted to increase dramatically by 2007.

"The cost of the invalids benefit will nearly double on Steve Maharey's watch from 600 million to 1.2 billion. The unemployment benefit, the DPB, the sickness and invalids benefit are all tracking upwards despite the Minister waxing lyrical about low unemployment rates.

"The Minister cannot continue to ignore the positive results from the United States. The States has also enjoyed good economic times, but coupled with increased requirements and greater assistance, welfare rolls have halved since 1996.

"Prime Minister Helen Clark would do well to listen to some of John Tamihere's comments and take them on board, rather than force him to apologise for saying things he really believes," Mrs Rich said.

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