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New statistics show Labour is failing Maori

New statistics show Labour is failing Maori

Worrying new figures show Maori make up more than 40% of those receiving the DPB, says National Party Welfare spokeswoman Katherine Rich.

"This Labour Government's committing millions of taxpayer dollars to programmes that just aren't working," says Mrs Rich.

Statistics made available by Work and Income show more than 30% of those registered as unemployed identify themselves as Maori, while Maori only make up around 15% of our population.

"The Government should be asking itself why the rates haven't been retreating at a faster rate, in what are considered to be the best economic conditions in a generation.

"Worse off are young Maori, particularly women, collecting the Domestic Purposes Benefit.

"According to the figures the number of Maori collecting the DPB rose from 34,365 in 1999 to 35,258 in 2001 and then climbed again to 40,203 this year," says Mrs Rich.

"That's a rise of 16% - much of it since the Government moved to abolish work testing for those on the DPB until after their youngest child is 18 years old.

"Now we know why the Government has stopped talking about closing the gaps - because it's simply not happening," Mrs Rich says.

"The softening of the welfare system has lead to a widening of that gap - not a closing.

"Essentially we're sentencing many young Maori women to a lifetime of dependency, we should be encouraging bigger dreams," she says.

"These are the latest in a series of damning figures which show the ranks of long term unemployed have grown by 50% in the past four years.

"At the same time the number of people drawing the invalids' benefit rose from 51,283 in June 1999, to 68,507 in 2003," Mrs Rich says.

"That's a staggering 33% increase in just four years, while over the same period the number drawing the sickness benefit is up 21% from 33,022 to 39,902.

"While Labour might be content to deny these New Zealanders the opportunities afforded by a buoyant economy, National is not.

"The National Party is committed to saving the next generation from welfare dependency rather than creating another generation of welfare dependents," says Mrs Rich.

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