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Maharey reissues National’s 1998 welfare policy

Maharey reissues National’s 1998 welfare policy

Confirmation that the National Party is unable to move on from the policies which lost it the 1999 election will come today when it releases its welfare statement, says Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

Steve Maharey today released his own pick on the likely contents of the welfare statement – Jenny Shipley’s 1998 proposed Code of Social and Family Responsibility.

Steve Maharey said ‘back to the future’ bumper sticker welfare policies failed in the 1990s and would fail again if National ever got the chance to try and implement them.

“All the indications are that National’s welfare policy will decisively show that the party has not moved on from the 1990s. It is likely to contain a few more beneficiary bashing ideas but will mostly rehash things National tried, and which failed, when they were in government.

“National spent almost $2 million consulting on it’s proposed Code of Social and Family Responsibility, sending glossy leaflets to every household. 93,000 submissions were received on the Code (about a 6.7 percent response rate) and they were overwhelmingly against it, forcing National into an embarrassing backdown.

“It is deeply ironic that National is still coming up with these kinds of beneficiary bashing ideas because the beneficiary population has fallen to levels dramatically lower than they themselves presided over. Unemployment, for instance, is down 33 percent since we came to office. The number of working age beneficiaries (both work-tested and non work-tested) was 386,000 in 19999 and now stands at 345,000 people.

“We know that reform of the welfare system is essential because we have to give people more support to find and keep paid work. We intend to keep the reform programme moving forward because it is turning around lives of thousands of New Zealanders.

“The government has six simple reform principles: building a simpler benefit system; making work pay and investing in people; . . / 2 supporting families and children; building partnerships with the community; outlining mutual responsibilities; and tackling poverty and social exclusion.

“The bumper sticker policies National will promote today are intellectually dishonest because the party knows they did not work when they last tried them.

“They are politics not policy. They tell us more about the internal wrangles for ideological supremecy within the National Party than they reveal about that party’s true agenda if it was ever to govern New Zealand again.

“It’s clear that neither Bill English or Katherine Rich believe these ideas could work in practice. They can only be floated as potential ‘policies’ because National knows they will never have to implement them,” Steve Maharey said.

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