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Time For A Realistic Welfare Idea, Minister

Time For A Realistic Welfare Idea, Minister

Tuesday 20 Jan 2004 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

The Labour Government's long-awaited Jobs Jolt initiative will not work so long as welfare to work programmes remain ineffective, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman warned today.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that Activity in the Community - Labour's key programme to replace Work for the Dole as a catalyst for moving the unemployed into jobs - has largely failed," Dr Newman said.

"Of the 4,946 people who began Activity in the Community in the 2001/02 year, 3,045 are still unemployed. How can a welfare programme be considered successful when less than half - in this case a whopping 61 percent - of participants are not helped?

"Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey criticised Work for the Dole when he became Minister in 1999. With great fanfare, he replaced it with Activity in the Community - an identical programme, except that participants do not have to show up if they don't want to.

"Such a toothless initiative was bound to fail - and it has. Mr Maharey must answer this question: how are the long-term unemployed supposed to gain the habits and routines of the workplace when they participate in a programme which makes turning up to work voluntary?

"Given the abject failure of his star welfare programme, the Minister must now tell us what he intends to replace Activity in the Community with - so that we can feel confident that the long-term unemployed, who are capable of working, find jobs," 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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