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Don Brash says single benefit a ‘smokescreen’

Don Brash says single benefit a ‘smokescreen’

National Party Leader Don Brash is describing Labour’s proposed single benefit programme as a smokescreen that aims to give the impression of action.

“Helen Clark is aiming to deceive the public into thinking that after five years, Labour is suddenly committed to welfare reform. Unfortunately the package unveiled yesterday proves her Government is committed to the status quo.

“Helen Clark’s only response to New Zealand’s entrenched welfare dependency is to re-label everybody on a benefit. It is the same approach she used for hospital waiting lists - create new terminology, but do nothing about the numbers waiting for surgery.

“If Labour is so convinced this policy is a winner, why were significant chunks of the Cabinet papers relating to the costs and the benefits blacked out?

“It looks like a rushed, cynical attempt to distract taxpayers from the issues that National put on the table a few weeks ago.

“Labour is ruling out community work for welfare and it is refusing to commit to more rigorous work testing - two measures that National will introduce.

“Introducing a single benefit will achieve nothing if the same people are allowed to keep abusing the system in the same ways.

“National is committed to real welfare reform on behalf of the New Zealand taxpayer and on behalf of those surviving on a benefit cheque,” says Dr Brash.

National has said it will work to reduce the number on benefits from 300,000 to 200,000 over ten years.

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