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Labour's Welfare Policy: Positively Addictive

Tuesday 9 Sep 2003 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today demanded that Labour drop its soft-on-welfare approach, and stop sponsoring substance abuse, in light of new information showing that more than 900 Invalid beneficiaries are addicts.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that there are 940 New Zealanders who cannot work, and are being supported by the Invalid Benefit, because they are substance abusers," Dr Newman said.

"Once someone is on the Invalid Benefit, they can remain so for life - yet, of these substance abusing beneficiaries, 163 are under 35 years old, and 75 are under 30. The youngest substance abuser receiving the Invalid Benefit is 17 - meaning they could well live off the taxpayer for another 50 years.

"This is completely unacceptable. While it is clear that the majority of Invalids beneficiaries are in genuine need, the taxpayer should not have to fork out to support drug addicts or alcoholics. This is a clear result of Labour's loosening welfare restrictions and eligibility.

"New Zealanders are a generous people, who are always willing to dig deep for others in need - but we will not be taken for a ride with State-sponsored substance abuse.

"I am calling on Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey to explain to hard-working taxpayers exactly what steps he intends to take to ensure that substance abusers on the Invalid Benefit quit their habit and get a job - rather than expect to be able to stay on it for life," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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