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Maharey misleads on benefit numbers

Maharey misleads on benefit numbers

Dr Muriel Newman Monday, 23 May 2005

ACT Deputy Leader and Social Welfare spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today released figures that show Steve Maharey appears to be misleading voters about the depth of welfare dependency in New Zealand.

“Steve Maharey claimed in Parliament last week that there are 293,000 people on benefits, yet figures released to me by his own department show there are 301,599 New Zealanders living on benefits,” Dr Newman said.

Answers to Dr Newman’s parliamentary questions, show there are 105,038 on the Domestic Purposes Benefit, 83,866 on the Invalids Benefit, 61,138 on the Unemployment Benefit and 51,557 on the Sickness Benefit.

“These figures are an absolute indictment on Steve Maharey’s ability to manage the government’s largest department. If he was managing it well, given the country’s critical shortage of workers, there would be fewer than 5000 people on the unemployment benefit and DPB numbers would be reduced by up to 50,000 (the number of women with school age children who could be expected to work).

“New Zealand has been criticised internationally as being a soft touch on welfare for failing to introduce robust work requirements.

“With a record number of job vacancies currently being advertised there is no excuse for anyone who is able bodied to be on a benefit, unless of course that is the Government’s objective,” Dr Newman said. “Hard working taxpayers do not deserve a government that lets people who could be working linger on welfare.

“If ACT holds a key position in a new government after the election, we promise taxpayers that affective welfare, which provides jobs for those who can work and security for those who can’t, is what we will be fighting for,” Dr Newman said.

ENDS


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