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Welfare sickness explodes under Labour

Welfare sickness explodes under Labour's soft on welfare policies

Dr Muriel Newman Monday, 5 September 2005 Press Releases - Social Welfare

Six years of Labour's soft on welfare policies has seen the number of adults supported by the sickness and invalids benefits explode from 103,000 to 139,000, ACT Welfare spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"This is a 35% increase which is outrageous given the number of available jobs.

"Labour's social development policy released today is just bluff and bluster and does nothing to address the high number of people on these benefits.

"In 1970 there were around 7,000 adults supported by a Sickness Benefit and 10,000 by an Invalids Benefit.

"Since 1970, population has grown 44%. A similar increase in the number of people being supported by sickness and invalids benefits would have seen 25,000 not 135,000 people on these benefits," Dr Newman said.

"With higher standards of living and more advanced health services, the rate of invalids and sickness benefit growth should be below population growth, not fourteen times the population growth rate!

"Treasury, the OECD and the Budget have all reported that New Zealand's good economic growth that has reduced unemployment, has resulted from the reforms of the 1980's and 1990's - policies that Helen Clark and Steve Maharey deride as failed.

"Labour's derision of these reforms which they describe as the failed policies of the past, while claiming credit on the coat tails of their benefits, is political hypocrisy.

"It is this sort of transparent deceit that is part of the reason for their falling poll support.

"Sickness and invalids benefit growth of 35% under Labour shows Helen Clark and Steve Maharey are soft on Welfare - and they should go " Dr Newman said.

ENDS

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