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Brash continues to be wrong on welfare

26 January 2005 Media Statement
Brash continues to be wrong on welfare

Once again Don Brash has shown he doesn't understand welfare issues, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

"Dr Brash's claims that beneficiary numbers are forecast to rise by 18,000 over the next three years ignores the facts.

"For every year this government has been elected, Treasury has forecast a rise in the number of beneficiaries. However, for every year we've been in office the number of beneficiaries has actually fallen.

"As a result, for example, in 20003/04 we returned $234 million of the amount of benefit expenditure forecast at the start of that year.

"Don Brash needs to know that benefits and superannuation are inflation index and therefore forecasts rise automatically each year.

"Does the fact that Dr Brash is protesting about increases in expenditure mean he is going to cut benefits and superannuation? If so he should come clean now.

"Dr Brash also needs to know the following facts. Since 1999 we have almost halved expenditure on unemployment. We expect benefit numbers to continue to decline this year.

"Dr Brash has made a mistake targeting welfare. National has an appalling record on this issue. Only Labour can be trusted to treat people fairly while ensuring that those who can return to work do so as quickly as possible.

"Dr Brash's Orewa speech was not a complete welfare policy. He offers a mix of policies that are already in place or that have already been proven to fail. He makes no mention at all of key issues like child care, training or working closer with employers.

"New Zealanders deserve better than the reheated leftovers of the 1990s. Unfortunately, as with most issues, that's all National can serve up."

ENDS

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