Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Time For Truth On Sickness Benefit

Time For Truth On Sickness Benefit

Monday 26 Jul 2004

Dr Muriel Newman - Press Releases - Social Welfare

Any Minister who can make sickness beneficiary numbers grow more in four years than they did in four decades should be looking for a new job, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that, as of the end of June 2004, as many as 44,128 people were in receipt of a Sickness benefit - an increase of 11,260 since Labour took office," Dr Newman said.

"This is astounding. Especially when you consider the fact that in 1980, around 40 years after the Sickness Benefit's creation, there were only 7,500 recipients - almost half the number that Labour has managed to sign up in only four years.

"Labour inherited a welfare system where, for the first time, sickness beneficiary numbers had begun to drop. By absorbing the Sickness Benefit into the work-tested Community Wage, the previous National Government had cut the numbers from 36,400 in 1998 to 32,600 at the end of November 1999.

"Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey had different ideas, however. A puppet of the Beneficiary Unions, he reinstated the Sickness Benefit as a standalone benefit upon taking office and, once again, the numbers began to rise.

"The Sickness Benefit, however, is not a priority for the Minister. His focus appears to be more on finding ways to keep unemployment figures down - which is why, by turning a blind eye to able-bodied beneficiaries signing up to the Sickness Benefit, he is condoning this practice.

"But I have news for Mr Maharey: low unemployment figures mean nothing if they're matched by high Sickness Benefit numbers. Given the courageous outcry by doctors who are being placed in an impossible situation, I am calling on the Minister to undertake an urgent inquiry into the growth of Sickness Benefit numbers. Excusing it on the back of international trends simply doesn't wash," Dr Newman said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election