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Labour's welfare trap is set to become a prison

22 May 2004

Katherine Rich MP National Party Social Services Spokeswoman

22 May 2004

Labour's welfare 'trap' is set to become a 'prison'

"If people think the present welfare system is a trap, this week's Budget will make it a prison," says National Party Social Services spokeswoman Katherine Rich.

"A previous Labour Prime Minister suggested too many people thought the welfare system would provide them with an 'armchair ride to prosperity'.

"If he were alive now he'd be disappointed Labour is set to re-upholster the welfare chair and add a couple of comfy cushions," she told the National Party's Southern Regional Conference during a speech in Queenstown today.

Mrs Rich is referring to the well flagged spending priorities in Thursday's Budget, which is set to deliver bigger welfare payments and allowances to low and middle-income families.

"Labour is shuffling around some of the cash it has taken from workers during four years of over taxation - it's likely at least half of it will go to those on welfare.

"Helen Clark wants to make beneficiaries of more Kiwi families, when she should be allowing working New Zealanders to make their own spending decisions.

"Making welfare more attractive is no vision for New Zealand.

"We need imagination and we need innovation. Already we spend $20 million each day on benefits - we need a fresh approach.

"Sadly, Labour is squandering a real chance to make a difference in all our lives in its cynical attempt to buy votes," says Mrs Rich.

ENDS

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