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Minister Must Follow IMF Recommendations

Minister Must Follow IMF Recommendations

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today welcomed the recommendations of the latest International Monetary Fund report, that New Zealand beneficiaries should be subject to tighter rules and restrictions while claiming welfare assistance.

"ACT supports the IMF recommendation, that welfare reform should be the Government's key priority in order to improve New Zealand's economic performance, and urges Finance Minister Michael Cullen to see the light," Dr Newman said.

"The Minister has been very quick to accept credit for the country's strong economic performance - which the IMF actually attributes to the economic reforms and tax cuts of the 1980s and 1990s. Yet, at the same time, he dismisses the need for further work on welfare reform, ruling it off the agenda.

"Mr Cullen must decide whether or not he accepts the findings of the IMF report. He cannot pick and choose, or claim that some points are valid and others are not - especially if he wants to take credit which is not his to take.

"ACT has always called for tighter controls on welfare - including time limits, and the requirements for 40-hour work weeks of education, training or job search to help support and encourage beneficiaries back into the workforce.

"Benefit dependency is becoming a career option in New Zealand. If Mr Cullen has the nerve to take credit for our positive economic performance, then he must also have the nerve to urgently address the increasing welfare problem," Dr Newman said.

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