Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


'Helping beneficiaries' is about helping Labour

12 May 2005

'Helping beneficiaries' is really about helping Labour

Steve Maharey's latest welfare policy is once again a mixed bag aimed at trying to capture right-wing voters without turning off traditional Labour supporters, says Green Party Social Services and ACC Spokesperson Sue Bradford.

The Social Development and Employment Minister announced today that the Government will spend $27.7 million over the next four years 'helping' Sickness and Invalid's beneficiaries into work.

"As usual, Steve Maharey, New Zealand's leading exponent of 'Third Way' politics, has dealt a mixed hand of social welfare strategies," said Ms Bradford, "it seems that yet again Labour is trying to win votes from both its traditional catchment and from National and ACT supporters, who characterise all beneficiaries as bludgers.

"Why is priority being given to getting the sick and infirm into work? There are still 96,889 people registered as jobseekers who aren't sick or disabled and can't find work. These are the people Work and Income should be putting their priority job-filling efforts into, not those on the DPB, Invalids or Sickness Benefits.

"The Greens support the increased assistance being offered to people with long-term ill health and disability who are actually seeking employment. We would not be happy if this initiative turns into harassment of recovering or incapacitated people.

"The extension of the Providing Access to Health Solutions (PATH) programme to Tauranga is welcome, but we believe it should be expanded to the whole country ASAP. PATH is one of the most innovative and empowering of the Government's programmes, because it offers beneficiaries health treatment to get back to work. Extending it to only one region really isn't good enough and the Greens would rather see money spent on a nationwide roll out, rather than designating doctors and second opinions for sickness benefit eligibility.

"We are increasingly fearful that Mr Maharey intends to impose a designated doctor system in this area similar to that used for ACC. For instance, his 'preparing for work assessment' is an ACC look-a-like. We have questions over the quality of these assessments; who does them and what are their qualifications?

"Increased payments to designated doctors - new fees to GPs and psychologists go from $67.50 to $119.25-a-visit - seem exorbitant. The higher the fee, the greater the danger that GPs' opinions will be biased because they will have a perverse incentive to give a Work and Income-friendly opinion in order to stay on the designated doctor list.

"When it comes to doctors seeking second opinions for benefit eligibility; can the Minister assure us that beneficiaries will at least be given a list of doctors to choose from, rather than being forced to see one nominated by Work and Income?


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news