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Why Work For A Living?

Why Work For A Living?

Thursday 19 Feb 2004 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today demanded that Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey explain just what it is that exempts aspiring artists from having to work for a living.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that, at the end of January 2004, there were 1,990 aspiring artists registered on the Pathways to Arts and Culture Employment (PACE) programme," Dr Newman said.

"It is completely unacceptable that Labour has decided that these 1,990 people are eligible for State assistance. These are able-bodied New Zealanders - in fact, those seeking jobs as clowns and acrobats are probably more able-bodied than most.

"How can the Government justify these figures? Why is an aspiring Maori culture entertainer, tattooist or body-piercer less obliged to work than an aspiring lawyer or doctor?

"While a career in the arts is a very worthwhile profession, it is no more or less worthy than any other. Aspiring artists should be treated like everyone else, and should be expected to support themselves through other work while seeking their ideal occupation.

"Only a politically correct, `arty', soft-on-welfare Labour Government could allow almost 2,000 New Zealanders to be a drain on taxpayers' money while our country is in the midst of a skilled and unskilled Labour shortage," Dr Newman said.


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