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Time To Prove Job Jolt Is For Real

Time To Prove Job Jolt Is For Real

Wednesday 3 Mar 2004 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

Today's release of the `Limited Employment Locations' alert sheet, for Work and Income case managers, gives Labour an opportunity to prove that the `Jobs Jolt' is more than just window-dressing, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"This sheet - which identifies 259 Limited Employment Locations or `no go' zones - is only part of the solution. More must be done to show that `Jobs Jolt' is not just a poll-driven ploy to attempt to shift the public's attitude that Labour is soft-on-welfare," Dr Newman said.

"While Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey's `no go' zones are mostly small communities - to which few would plan to move - many families there are caught in the dependency trap. Living in deprivation, these families have been on welfare for generations and their children - who are being damaged daily by their welfare lifestyle - face serious risk.

"I want to know whether the Minister plans to support these families into employment or if he plans to leave them on the welfare scrapheap? Tackling entrenched welfare dependency is at the hard end of welfare management, and will be the real test of this Minister.

"Now that these areas have been identified as having no employment prospects, it would be irresponsible for him to continue to pay people to live there if they are capable of working. I am challenging Mr Maharey to tell us what he intends to do to ensure that those living in the `no-go' zones - who are part of the 111,458 people currently on the dole - get work.

"Since paying beneficiaries to do nothing and waste their lives is not fair to taxpayers - or society as a whole - I want to know how the Minister intends to ensure that they become breadwinners for their families and working role models for their children," 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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