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Maharey Must See OECD Report For What It Is

Maharey Must See OECD Report For What It Is

Wednesday 27 Oct 2004

Dr Muriel Newman - Press Releases - Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today urged Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey to see the OECD report `Babies and Bosses' for what it is - an incentive to help sole parents move back into work.

"Rather than using spin and rhetoric to dismiss this report - which found that half of all New Zealand sole parents are supported by welfare - Mr Maharey should use it as an indication of what the Domestic Purposes Benefit has become under his stewardship," Dr Newman said.

"The DPB began to grow from the moment it was created, soaring rapidly from 14,000 in 1973 to 115,000 in early 1998, and forecast to hit 124,000 by 2002. But, by the time Labour took office in 1999, measures introduced by the previous National Government had not only halted this relentless growth, but lowered them to almost 110,000.

"But Mr Maharey scrapped Work for the Dole and Work Testing and, four years later, the numbers are the same. His soft-on-welfare approach has literally stopped the reduction of DPB numbers in its tracks and, now, the DPB is a life-long benefit for many sole parents.

"ACT does not support punitive measures like cutting the DPB - as recommended by the OECD report. But - at a time where a chronic worker shortage is limiting our growth, and all research shows that welfare dependency damages children - something must be done.

"Sole parents need to be assisted into work. Work Testing, benefit time limits and support - such as childcare or after-school care - would provide an incentive for these sole parents to become the breadwinners of their family, create a better life for their children and take control of their future," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

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