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Dodgy Changes Will Not Fix Problems

Dodgy Changes Will Not Fix Problems

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today criticised the Labour Government's Cabinet reshuffle.

"It is a sad day for the taxpayer when a soft-on-welfare minister is put in charge of Housing, a portfolio that requires strength and fortitude to manage. Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey's track record with welfare shows that, under his stewardship, state housing waiting lists will explode as more families become welfare-dependent, and fewer families move out of their state house," Dr Newman said.

"The Budget predicts that beneficiary numbers are set to rise dramatically, with more than 9,000 moving onto the dole and DPB over the next three years. If it were not for the Treasury publishing these figures on its website, the full effect of the Minister's softening of our welfare system would not be known.

"To make matters worse, the Government has now placed Child, Youth and Family in the hands of junior minister Ruth Dyson. How can she be expected to succeed when a more experienced Minister has failed? While the Government may try to justify this move, the fact is that CYF is simply a hot potato that Mr Maharey could not rid himself of quickly enough.

"Both CYF and Housing are critical portfolios. The challenge for Ministers Dyson and Maharey is to reduce the waiting lists for children to see social workers, and for families to get houses. Their failure to do so will confirm that neither are up to the job," Dr Newman said.

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