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Welfare benefits cost taxpayers $23 million day

Welfare benefits cost taxpayers $23 million day

New social welfare statistics show benefits are costing taxpayers $23 million a day, or almost $1 million an hour, ACT deputy leader Dr Muriel Newman said today.

The Statistical Report released by the Ministry of Social Development shows welfare expenditure rose from $7.9 billion in 2000 to $8.5 billion to the year end June 2004.

The report also found the number of people receiving the unemployment benefit dropped from 149,453 in 2000 to 76,765 in June 2004.

Yet, the report shows the number of sickness beneficiaries jumped from 32,294 to 44,128 and those receiving an Invalids Benefit increased from 55,392 to 72,342.

The number of people receiving a benefit for more than four years has increased from 95,664 in 2000 to 108,604.

"The latest statistics show there is no cause for complacency," Dr Newman said. "It highlights a growing trend in the number of people stuck in the welfare trap.

"Welfare dependence has grown under the Labour Government," Dr Newman said. "Although Unemployment Benefit numbers are down, the number of people on other benefits has increased. The cost of welfare is now bigger than ever. New Zealanders won't be able to trust Labour because they know the cost of welfare is simply going to escalate into an enormous cost burden on society.

"The Labour Government has failed dismally in its core duty of government which is to ensure the only people who rely on welfare long term are the truly needy.

They have failed to put in place proper welfare reform which is something the ACT party has been promoting ever since it came to parliament," Dr Newman said.


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