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National behind times with broker comments

24 September 2003 Media Statement

National behind the times with employment broker comments

Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment Rick Barker says National MP Katherine Rich is behind the times with calls to lower the caseloads of Work and Income case managers.

“It is pleasing to see Katherine Rich MP is catching up with the pace with her call for the reduction in the ratio of clients to staff in Work and Income. This current Labour Progressive Government has been working on this steadily over the past few years.

“I am pleased to be able to report that clients on the unemployment and Domestic Purposes benefits are expected to be at a ratio of 150-170 clients per staff member, not the 400 claimed by Katherine Rich yesterday. These caseloads will be reduced further for targeted groups of beneficiaries as part of the “Jobs Jolt” package which aims to get more New Zealanders into paid employment.

“Since this government has been in power, the number of people on the unemployment benefit has fallen dramatically. In January 2000 there were over 160,000 people receiving the unemployment benefit, today there are around 94,000; a drop of 66,000. Unemployment is at record lows and the Government is confident that with the Jobs Jolt scheme, modern apprenticeships and investment in research and innovation, we can have employment rates rise even further.

“What Katherine Rich has suddenly realised yesterday, the Government has been doing for years,” Rick Barker concluded.

ENDS

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