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10-Year Benefit Plan Not Ambitious Enough

10-year benefit plan not ambitious enough

Wednesday 26 Jan 2005
Dr Muriel Newman
Press Releases -- Social Welfare

ACT Deputy Leader and Social Welfare spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today said the National Party's 10-year plan to reduce benefit numbers by 100,000 was not ambitious enough.

The MP was responding to Dr Brash's pledge to reduce benefit numbers by a third - from over 300,000 to 200,000 - within a decade.

"While I am heartened by National's commitment to welfare reform, I'm concerned that its timeframe of 10 years to shift people from welfare into work is too slow," Dr Newman said.

"ACT believes we don't have a moment to lose. Research continues to tell us that welfare is bad for families, especially for children.

"I suspect New Zealanders want a much shorter time frame than that advocated by National.

"ACT says halving benefit numbers is achievable in the short-term if we adopted my five-step plan to overhaul the welfare system. The key features are:

· Introduction of a single benefit

· Annual benefit re-application process

· Time limited work-search period

· Pro-active case management

· Full-time work-placement programme

"It's time to put welfare reform at the top of the agenda. We are at a turning point, and the path we choose will have a huge impact for generations of New Zealanders to come," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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