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Labour budgets for increases in key benefits

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

26 January 2005

Labour budgets for increases in key benefits

"Helen Clark clearly needs to be reminded that her Government is expecting the number of New Zealanders living on key benefits to rise over the next three years," says National Party Leader Don Brash.

He is responding to her claim today that National 'lacks ambition' with its target to reduce welfare dependency from over 300,000 to 200,000 over the next ten years.

"While National is focussed on breaking the cycle of dependency and ending the rorts, Labour is budgeting for the battling Kiwi taxpayer to be paying for even more welfare dependency.

"If ever there was a time when beneficiary numbers should have fallen to record lows, it is now. Instead, we have over 300,000 working-age adults on benefits, about 15% of the workforce (*1). Around 109,000 are on the DPB, around 79,000 on the Unemployment Benefit, and some 119,000 on the Invalids' and Sickness Benefits.

"The latest fiscal projections show that the numbers are projected to increase by a further 18,000 within three years. The contrasts between National and Labour in this area could not be more stark."

Dr Brash is also accusing Labour of being "disturbingly astray" on claims the Australian work for the dole scheme has been a failure.

"Australia has learned a lot about work for the dole since the pilot scheme which Steve Maharey and Labour keep referring to.

"Since the full scheme has been introduced, analysis shows that one third of those referred to work for the dole dropped off the benefit before they were due to begin the scheme.

"Labour is describing this result as a failure. This again tells working New Zealanders something about Helen Clark's ideological view on welfare," says Dr Brash.

ENDS

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