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Beneficiaries Need Consistency, Not Knee-jerks

Beneficiaries Need Consistency, Not Knee-jerks

How can Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey pat himself on the back for his Jobs Jolts initiatives, when some of the problems he is trying to solve are of his own Government's making, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"While trying to prevent beneficiaries from moving to low employment areas, Mr Maharey is forgetting that it is some of his Government's special initiatives that have been instrumental in luring them to, or trapping them in, these areas in the first place," Dr Newman said.

"By pouring tens of millions of dollars into rural and Maori housing initiatives in isolated areas, particularly in Northland and the East Coast, Labour has encouraged Maori beneficiaries to move to low employment areas - those beneficiaries already there, to remain. The very people Labour is now trying to discourage from these living in areas are the ones it has helped to trap there.

"If Mr Maharey truly wanted to address the unemployment problem, he would put a stop to such housing initiatives. The fact that he will fail to do this, illustrates that this is simply a knee-jerk reaction to pre-empt the criticism that will follow the rise in unemployment figures in Friday's Household Labour Force Survey.

"This Government has a habit of leaping into look good, feel good, sound good, vote catching, popularist projects without adequate planning or consultation. This is why perfectly viable initiatives are doomed to fail, and highlight Labour's inability to govern.

"Discouraging the unemployed from moving to areas with no jobs, while continuing to offer them housing incentives to do just that, shows that Labour has no real commitment to helping New Zealanders out of benefit dependency," Dr Newman said.

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