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Maharey's Pet Dinosaur: SWIFTT

Maharey's Pet Dinosaur: SWIFTT

Wednesday 17 Mar 2004 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

When will Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey stop pretending nothing is wrong with the SWIFTT computer system, when new information shows it is costing millions of dollars each year, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that the Labour Government has spent a total of $32 million in taxpayers' money on the SWIFTT system over the past four years," Dr Newman said.

"Of this, around $14 million has been spent on system enhancements and application support costs. This flies in the face of Mr Maharey's attempts, in Question Time today, to dismiss any suggestion that there are problems with SWIFTT.

"Try as he might, the Minister cannot hide the fact that the problems with this system have persisted for six years. Another fact he cannot hide is that he has taken up to $16 million from operational budgets to keep this dinosaur running.

"This is completely unacceptable, and raises serious questions about the management planning around the replacement of this system. Also of concern is the regularity with which Mr Maharey raids employment programme budgets to paper over the SWIFTT problems.

"It is time for Mr Maharey to front up. He is taking money - which should be used to help beneficiaries move back into the workforce - and pouring it down the SWIFTT dinosaur's throat. It is time he admitted these problems are real and ongoing, and actually did something about it," 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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