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National's welfare policy in crisis

27 June 2005 Media Statement

National's welfare policy in crisis

National is scrambling on welfare policy, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

"In the face of world-leading unemployment rates, plummeting benefit numbers and the largest reform of the welfare system in 70 years, National has nowhere to go on welfare," Steve Maharey said.

In a speech at the National Party conference this weekend, welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins appeared to back away from Don Brash's earlier promises on radical changes to the Domestic Purposes Benefit. A similar disagreement led to the sacking of Katherine Rich in January.

"Don Brash told New Zealanders that children born to mothers on the DPB should not be entitled to government support. He said very clearly that mothers on the DPB should consider adopting out their children.

"Then in her 'policy' speech this weekend, Judith Collins made no mention to National's stance on this issue. Has Dr Brash flip-flopped or has Judith Collins refused to back her leader on the DPB?

"Labour has a clear policy on the DPB. All parents on the DPB are now required to plan for employment. On our watch the number of sole parents on the DPB has fallen below 100,000 for the first time in a decade.

"At the same time, we live in the real world where not giving mothers assistance means young children will have to go without. This is simply unacceptable.

"National is discovering that cheap shots at beneficiaries don't make for solid welfare policy."

ENDS

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