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Smarmy Steve Maharey dodges real issue

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

27 June 2005

Smarmy Steve Maharey dodges real issue

"Steve Maharey continues to show just how little Labour cares for welfare dependent New Zealanders with his refusal to confront the main issues in his portfolio," says National Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins.

"National has an ambitious plan to work towards reducing the number of people dependent on a benefit by one third over the next decade. Treasury says that under Labour the number is expected to increase over the next three years.

"National absolutely stands by its policies relating to the DPB. As Don Brash said at Orewa this year there is no easy answer, but there should be no automatic entitlement to additional state assistance for DPB beneficiaries who have further children while on the benefit.

"No-one wants to deny state support to a woman who has just broken up with her partner, but when someone is going on to have two, three, four, five or six children while on the DPB then the state needs to be asking some serious questions, and intensive case management may be an option worth considering.

"These are definitely areas that National plans to explore, but these are no go areas for the current Labour Government.

"In my weekend conference speech, I made it clear what Labour's intentions are. I highlighted Treasury estimates which suggest additional spending on a scheme for those on the Sickness and Invalids Benefits will have virtually no impact on rising numbers. And I spoke about National's plan to ensure the able-bodied unemployed do take on community work or retraining," says Ms Collins.

In a statement today, Mr Maharey said 'Labour has a clear policy on the DPB. All parents on the DPB are now required to plan for employment'.

"What's clear about that?" asks Ms Collins.

"National will require sole parents on the DPB to make themselves available for part-time work or retraining when their youngest child reaches school age - a policy that Labour reversed.

"Furthermore, National will expect sole parents on the DPB to make themselves available for full-time work or retraining when their youngest child reaches 14.

"It's disappointing that Mr Maharey, like all of his panic stricken colleagues, has chosen to completely misrepresent National's policies."

Ends

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