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Jobs joke continues with more Maharey spin

Judith Collins
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

20 July 2005

Jobs joke continues with more Maharey spin

National's Welfare spokeswoman, Judith Collins, says despite Steve Maharey's gleeful rhetoric on benefit numbers, almost 300,000 working-age adults remain on benefits.

"Even the Ministry of Social Development has conceded that in March 2005, 60% of firms reported difficulty in finding skilled staff, 49% reported difficulties in finding unskilled staff and 20% reported that labour shortages were a major constraint to their expansion," says Ms Collins.

"If ever there was a time when beneficiary numbers should have fallen to record lows, it is now.

"Instead, we have almost 300,000 working-age adults on benefits. Sickness and invalids' benefit numbers are still increasing, and no amount of gloss from Steve Maharey can hide that fact."

Ms Collins says that from 1997 to 1999, under the previous National Government, the number of community wage (sickness) beneficiaries decreased.

"Between the end of December 1999 and the end of May 2005 there has been a 40% increase in the number of people receiving invalids' benefits and a 34% increase in the number of people receiving the sickness benefits.

"Treasury beneficiary numbers projections show the number of people receiving sickness and invalids' benefits is expected to keep rising virtually unabated. Despite Mr Maharey's spin, Labour is spending $127.8 million on a new service for sickness and invalids' beneficiaries that is expected to have almost no effect on beneficiary numbers," says Ms Collins.


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