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National will stop growing welfare dependency

National will stop growing welfare dependency

There will always be a welfare safety net in New Zealand. National believes in this and I want to emphasise that at the very outset, National Social Welfare spokesperson Katherine Rich said today in releasing her discussion paper Saving the next generation from welfare dependency.

"But rather than being part of the solution, the present welfare state has become part of the problem," Mrs Rich said. "The Labour Government is ignoring the growing welfare dependency problem. National is the only broad-based political party prepared to tackle it, and harness our potential, for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

"National believes the growing dependency on welfare in New Zealand is adversely affecting the well-being of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders. We have to find a better solution. Welfare dependency wrecks lives.

"Few have stopped to question why, after three years of the best economic conditions in a generation, welfare dependency is escalating. Without significant welfare reform, New Zealand has no chance of reducing this growth," she said.

The paper discusses welfare ideas from Australia, Canada, the United States and the UK and follows months of research. "While these countries are having success in implementing a number of new ideas, the New Zealand Government is taking New Zealand down the opposite path towards greater welfare dependency.

"The measures I have raised, which include greater assistance for teenage mothers, time-limited benefits and work for the dole, are aimed at reducing dependency and improving well-being. "I understand that there are some welfare recipients who will never work, due to mental or physical disability, but for others the welfare system should be seen as a safety net offering temporary support before they get back to work.

Mrs Rich said remaining on welfare long-term was damaging to people's lives, but moving off welfare and into work built self-esteem, increased incomes and created further opportunities for employment.

"National's goals are simple: reduce dependency and improve wellbeing. This minority government is ignoring the coming crisis in welfare dependency. Only National is prepared to tackle it, and make a difference for the benefit of all New Zealanders," Mr Rich she said.

For the paper see:

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