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Brash promises policies of the past

25 January 2005 Media Statement

Brash promises policies of the past

Dr Brash rolled out his Orewa speech today to reveal the same policies the National Party made use of in the 1990s, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

"Dr Brash wants a return to the policies of the 1990s based on punishment rather than opportunity. This government rejects the approach taken by Dr Brash. A decade of applying these policies have told us that they don't work," Steve Maharey said.

"The government has adopted a positive and proactive approach to getting people into jobs and the results are clear.

"Dr Brash is deeply worried - New Zealand is in the best shape it's been in for decades. The number of New Zealanders in work has grown by 230,000 since the Labour-led government was elected. This year we are able to save $770 million because of the increased number of people moving into work.

"With only 3.8% unemployment we are now focussing on getting more long-term unemployed people into work and helping sickness and invalid's beneficiaries back into the workforce.

"We are continuing to slash case manager loads to ensure that beneficiaries are taking every opportunity to get a job, and stepping up the number of mandatory work training opportunities for the long-term unemployed to make sure they have no excuse for not getting a job.

"Tonight Don Brash failed to provide any policies that will make a difference. He has mentioned nothing that will provide an incentive for people to get back into work, only to punish them for being out of work.

"Where are his policies for providing young people with a successful pathway from school to work, for getting sickness beneficiaries access to the healthcare they need to get back to work, for quality childcare for sole parents?

"Where are the financial incentives to ensure that a move into the work force is worthwhile for people on benefits?

"If New Zealanders want to back a government that makes a difference on welfare they need look no further that Labour's track-record."

ENDS

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