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Jobs Joke of 10 'not so new' programmes


Jobs Joke of 10 'not so new' programmes

National says New Zealanders won't be fooled by the Government's latest bid to "dress up" existing programmes and sell them as new ways to get people into work.

National's Social Services spokesperson, Katherine Rich, says the Jobs Jolt package is nothing more than Steve Maharey's attempt to hide the mounting problem of welfare by reheating some old ideas.

"The Minister admitted this today in Parliament when he tried to explain it away by saying "little in this package is new...it is an expansion of policies," says Mrs Rich.

"Steve Maharey's trying to pretend he's taking a tougher line, when all he's doing is acknowledging National's concerns that there are far too many people trapped on welfare.

"Treasury projections show that welfare numbers are going to increase significantly over the next few years.

"Nothing is this package is going to allay community concerns that too many people are struggling on welfare," says Mrs Rich.

THE GOVERNMENT'S 10 'NOT SO NEW' PROGRAMMES

Funding to develop industry partnerships..." this has been available for years, even under New Zealand Employment Service." Intensive new services for isolated areas...."case managers have the right (as per legislation) to call in clients for an in-depth interview at any time. Case managers have been in place since the days of Income Support." Contracted specialists to provide one-on-one..."this is what the contracted services budget is for. It can be used to contract a service or programme for a group or an individual." Special Assistance for Sole parents ... " this is what replaced the work test for Sole Parents. A Training Incentive Allowance is also available (and has been for years) for sole parents to retrain to return to the workforce. Case managers tailor individual plans for sole parents." Information Technology Training...." funding has been available for tertiary education for years to Invalids and DPB beneficiaries under the Training Incentive Allowance. For those on the Sickness Benefit and Unemployment Benefit, around $250.00 for work related training courses and free on a TOPS training programme." Stronger focus on long term..." WINZ has always had a strong focus on long term unemployed (208+ (weeks) on the register). Under this Government there have been several "special drives" to reduce the hard end of the register." Support for the Mayors Taskforce..." in Dunedin, there has always been a WINZ member on the Mayors Taskforce Core Group. WINZ has provided staff to groups in other cities." More will be expected.... if refuse to relocate..." WINZ have always had the ability to stop benefits if people chose to live in an area where there were no jobs." Enhanced management of sickness..." this was being implemented late last year." Work Testing 55-59..."everyone who receives the Unemployment Benefit is work tested. This age group can apply for an exemption. It's this option which has been removed." Steve Maharey says benefit suspension is a better tool than a stand-down sanction - spot the difference - either way you get no money," says Mrs Rich.

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