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Figures Prove Maharey's Failure

Figures Prove Maharey's Failure

Friday 10 Oct 2003 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today questioned how Labour could pretend it has a competent Social Services and Employment Minister, when new information shows a 65 percent increase in the number of people unemployed for more than four years - at a time when labour shortages are reaching critical proportions.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that the number of people registered unemployed for more than four years has risen from 10,526 to 17,447 - an increase of 6,921 since Labour became the Government," Dr Newman said.

"Meanwhile the Institute of Economic Research quarterly survey of business opinion shows that employment initiatives are at their highest since 1994, with many firms reporting extreme difficulties in finding skilled and unskilled labour. In fact, 16 percent report labour shortages as the single factor that most limits their ability to expand output.

"What will it take for Labour to realise Mr Maharey is ineffective? Mounting evidence - rising long-term unemployment and beneficiary numbers - prove he is more hindrance than help.

"Add to this the Minister being caught fudging the lines and making incorrect statements - claiming zero migration between the Unemployment and Sickness Benefits when there is clearly significant movement between the two - and Mr Maharey must be proving an embarrassment to his Labour colleagues.

"This Minister claims small triumphs by moving the short-term unemployed into work, while ignoring those who need the most help - long-term unemployed. Rather than doing the hard work of moving these people off the benefit, he leaves them on the scrapheap.

"The true test of a welfare minister's ability is to reduce long-term unemployment. Clearly, Mr Maharey is failing in this, but uses rhetoric like smoke and mirrors. Even his own party must see that its Minister has turned welfare from a hand-up, to a hand-out," 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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