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Labour Ignores 130,000-Strong Latent Workforce

Labour Ignores 130,000-Strong Latent Workforce

Thursday 28 Oct 2004

Dr Muriel Newman - Press Releases - Social Welfare

It is easy to see the Labour Government's failure in the welfare portfolio when it takes an international organisation to point out the flaws in our system, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"But the big question now is whether Labour will heed the findings of the OECD report - which recommends that more sole parents be required to work - or whether it will follow its usual practice of using spin to pretend everything is all right," Dr Newman said.

"I predict that Labour will follow the latter course of action, and bury its head in the sand. But, try as it might, the Government cannot hide from the fact that our welfare system is now holding the country back.

"The OECD found that half of New Zealand's sole parents are currently on welfare. What it did not mention was that 53,860 of the sole parents on the DPB actually have school-aged children. With a little support, these sole parents would be able to return to the workforce.

"That they have not received such support - and, under Labour's stewardship, probably never will - is a salient reminder that we have a Government committed to growing welfare, rather than reducing it.

"Add to this the fact there are currently more than 83,000 people in receipt of the Unemployment Benefit - and that some beneficiaries have been on the dole for more than a decade - and Labour's failure is clear for all to see.

"This Government is failing New Zealand. By not requiring over 130,000 able-bodied beneficiaries to work, Labour is exacerbating the worker shortage that is now limiting our growth, and condemning sole parents and the unemployed - who could build a future for themselves independent of the State - to a lifetime of benefit dependency," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

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