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Maharey Impotent Over DPB Dads

Maharey Impotent Over DPB Dads

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today accused Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey of incompetence, in light of new information showing an increase in the number of DPB mothers refusing to name the father of their children.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that the number of women receiving the DPB, who refuse to name the father of their children, has risen 26 percent - from 13,996 to 17,657 - since Mr Maharey became Minister," Dr Newman said.

"This means there are more than 17,000 fathers who are escaping responsibility for their children. What is worse, of course, is that now taxpayers are left to fork out, to raise more than 32,000 children.

This is totally unacceptable. Mr Maharey inherited a welfare system where - under initiatives like work testing - total numbers on the DPB had dropped. Under this Minister, however, they have risen.

"I raised this issue three years ago. Under pressure, the Minister agreed that these numbers were `unacceptable' - and then did nothing more than inflation index the $22 a week penalty for DPB mothers who won't name their children's father.

"Once again, Mr Maharey has proven himself incapable of making hard welfare decisions. The Minister must publicly explain just what he plans to do about these worsening numbers. It's time he dropped the spin," Dr Newman said.

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