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Labour must admit failing Maori on the DPB

Katherine Rich MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

14 October 2003

Labour must admit failing Maori on the DPB

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Katherine Rich says the Social Services Minister should check his facts before claiming there has been no rise in numbers receiving the DPB.

"The New Zealand public has been told two different stories in as many days as Steve Maharey looks to explain away his Government's soft approach to welfare - but neither is accurate," says Mrs Rich.

"Mr Maharey claimed today there has been no rise in the numbers receiving the DPB, but figures from his own Department show there has been.

"Total numbers on the DPB grew by 2000 between June 1999 to June 2003 from 107,713 to 109,295," says Mrs Rich.

"He's also hidden significant increases in other DPB benefits such as women alone, which has climbed from 1026 to 2805, while the numbers on the caring for sick and infirm DPB have gone from 2172 to 3246.

"Mr Maharey has also claimed that the increase was due to Work and Income tidying up its records - and he has inferred that a significant number of the 13,000 people who previously didn't provide their ethnicity were Maori.

"Given that Maori make up about 15% of our population, I challenge Mr Maharey to back it up," Mrs Rich says.

"The reality is that 40% of those currently receiving the DPB are Maori and they have been denied the opportunities afforded by the best economic conditions in a generation.

"The Government's move to drop work testing has also encouraged a new generation to see the domestic purposes benefit as a viable career choice.

"The Minister must now admit his Government has failed Maori and do something about it - rather than trying to sweep the issue under the carpet," says Mrs Rich.

Ends

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