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Scrap DPB as Maori numbers soar

Scrap DPB as Maori numbers soar

Thursday 14 Apr 2005 Dr Muriel Newman - Press Releases - Social Welfare

Soaring numbers of Maori mums on the Domestic Purposes Benefit show it is time to scrap it and replace it with a benefit that helps women get off welfare and into work, ACT Deputy Leader and welfare spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

Figures released to Dr Newman by the Associate Minister of Social Development and Employment Rick Barker, show 42,784 Maori woman are on the DPB, compared to 44,772 European women.

"Maori make up just 13 percent of the New Zealand population, yet almost half of the number of women on the DPB are Maori, " Dr Newman said. "It is becoming a lifestyle choice for more and more Maori women.

"Having been a solo parent myself I know how hard it is, but we have to get all women on the DPB to take responsibility for themselves and their children so they can build a life free from state dependence. We need to abolish the DPB in favour of an unemployment benefit for single parents that sends the signal it is temporary and they are expected to get a job to support themselves and their children."

Dr Newman said research showed long-term benefit dependency and sole parenthood were found to have significant risk factors for children.

"You can't blame the individuals, the Government is responsible for encouraging women to stay on welfare for their whole lives," Dr Newman said. "Not only does long-term welfare prevent them from achieving their potential, but it also causes serious damage to their children."

Dr Newman said there were about 100,000 able-bodied working-aged sole parents on the DPB, most of whom could be given assistance with child care, transport, mentoring, financial planning so they could get into the workforce.

Dr Newman said the priority would be mums with school-age children.

Taxpayers should not be forced to pay a lifestyle benefit to people who could and should be working," Dr Newman said.

ENDS


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