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Collins flipflops on DPB policy - Brash intervenes

Collins flip-flops on DPB policy - Brash intervenes

Welfare hardliner Judith Collins was forced to backtrack on claims that National would deny the DPB to women who refused to name the father of their child after intervention from leader Don Brash.

The comments were made in a speech to a National party conference at the weekend. Ms Collins toned down her comments after "consultation" with Dr Brash.

Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said there was a fine-line between penalising parents and punishing their children.

"Ms Collins has clearly crossed the line by proposing to deprive the children of beneficiaries of any income.

"Punishing the children of beneficiaries for the actions of their parents is not the way to make progress on these issues.

"This government's approach - which involves a combination of sanctions and direct contact with parents - has already seen a 15.8 per cent drop in the numbers of sole parents who refuse to name the other parent of their child.

"Since 1 July last year, more than 14,000 sole parents have been interviewed by Work and Income staff about their penalties. As a result, nearly 3,200 people had their penalties removed.

"Legislation passed last week will further reduce numbers by raising the penalty for sole parents who decline to name the other parent of their child by an additional $6 per week."

Steve Maharey said that by expressing her own views on welfare Ms Collins risked sharing the fate of her predecessor Katherine Rich, who fell out with leader Don Brash earlier this year after a disagreement over Welfare policies.

"Dr Brash has replaced a moderate spokesperson with a hardliner and now he's having to deal with the consequences. The question is, will Judith Collins share the same fate as her predecessor?"

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