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National takes a jump to the right

1 February 2005 Media Statement

National takes a jump to the right

Katherine Rich's departure as National's welfare spokesperson, and the arrival of right-winger Judith Collins, mean National is about to take a swing to the hard right, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

"With the departure of moderate Katherine Rich, National has lost any semblance of a party which reflects the views of mainstream New Zealand" Steve Maharey said. "Along with her Leader Don Brash, Judith Collins remains committed to National's failed welfare policies of the 1990s, based on punishment rather than opportunity."

Steve Maharey said Judith Collins' hard-line views on beneficiaries were well known.

"According to Ms Collins beneficiaries are people who 'sit around all day watching Sky TV, living off the taxpayer, letting their children run riot and getting stoned '. She once commented that beneficiaries should act as graffiti officers and 'do some good instead of getting money for free '.

"While Labour is working with employers to encourage them to think more positively about people wanting to get into work, Ms Collins is portraying beneficiaries as lazy and irresponsible. If this is your universal image of beneficiaries, then what chance do we have of getting an employer to take them on?

"This year's election will be a battle between Labour, which provides opportunities for people to get off benefits and into work, and National who increased welfare dependency in the 1990s by failing to provide opportunity.

"While National looks backwards, Labour is continuing to move forward with positive and proactive policies aimed at getting people into jobs."

ENDS

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