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LabourLand: Poor Workers, Rich Beneficiaries

LabourLand: Poor Workers, Rich Beneficiaries

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today condemned the Labour Government for enabling beneficiaries to live the high life off the sweat of hardworking New Zealand families.

"Parliamentary Questions - just released to me by the Revenue Minister Michael Cullen - showed that in the March 2001 financial year, of the people who earn more than $60,000 a year and pay the top rate of tax, some 780 had incomes that come in whole or in part from welfare benefits," Dr Newman said.

"How can the Government claim to be managing social welfare properly when it forces working families to support beneficiaries who lead far more affluent lifestyles than they themselves can afford? Imagine how someone on minimum wage - $17,680 a year - feels, paying taxes to support a beneficiary who receives $60,000 or more for doing nothing?

"Labour is punishing working families in order to reward beneficiaries. Since Labour has been in power, in real 2003 dollars, the average after-tax pay of working families has fallen 2.4 percent, or an average of $1,456 a year. Meanwhile, benefits have increased.

"Social services in New Zealand are being driven by the Beneficiaries Unions. The Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey has already implemented a number of their outrageous demands including scrapping Work for the Dole, writing off benefit fraud and removing work testing of the DPB.

"That hardworking families must pay for beneficiaries to make more than them is unacceptable, and demonstrates the flaws in our welfare system. Labour is penalising working families, ensuring they get poorer, while helping beneficiaries become richer.

"ACT has always called for welfare reform - a need that is becoming ever more urgent. Social welfare must return to its original design - a short-term safety net for those who truly need it. The welfare system must be overhauled. It is completely unacceptable that taxpayers pay beneficiaries to lead lifestyles that some working families can only dream about," Dr Newman said.

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