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Migrant welfare case shows need for Brash reforms

Hon Dr Nick Smith
National Party MP

26 January 2005

Migrant welfare case highlights need for Brash reforms

Nelson MP Nick Smith cites the case of an unemployed migrant couple as an example of welfare gone wrong.

It was reported on the front page of the Nelson Leader last month that David Gibson, an electrical engineer and former mathematics lecturer in Britain, and his wife, Julia, a special needs teacher, migrated to New Zealand in 1999 and have been on the unemployment benefit since 2001. There are skill shortages in teaching both maths and special needs.

"Here we have a very well qualified couple, who migrated to New Zealand, quite openly drawing an unemployment benefit for three years as though it were a God-given right," Dr Smith says.

"The attitude is all wrong. This case highlights the need for the sort of reforms advocated by Don Brash.

"There is no question this couple could find work, given their skills. Mr Gibson left a job to develop a mathematical children's game that does not earn enough to support either him or his wife.

"I have no problem with this couple developing a game that may help children with their maths, but I have a big problem with them expecting other hardworking New Zealanders to pay for it."

Dr Smith says he has had several letters from angry constituents about the case.

"We need the sort of policies Don Brash advocates to make it plain to the Mr and Mrs Gibsons of New Zealand that their first responsibility is to provide for themselves.

"The only exceptional thing about this case is that they are quite public and proud of being on the dole for three years.

"There are thousands of cases like this all over the country where taxpayers are having to fund welfare for people quite capable of supporting themselves under Labour's soft welfare policies."

Ends

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