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E-mail tip suggests Labour is fiddling figures

Judith Collins MP National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

06 September 2005

E-mail tip suggests Labour is fiddling figures

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins is calling on Labour to deny an e-mail which confirms the true state of unemployment is being hidden from the public.

"A long-serving staffer at Work and Income recently wrote to me to expose what they described as 'distorted unemployment figures'."

The e-mail says: 'I witnessed case managers transferring their unemployed clients to Sickness Benefit from the Unemployed Benefit. Of course this shows movement off the Unemployed Benefit, but what concerns me is that WINZ was taking credit for a reduction in unemployment, yet it was never noted that clients were just being moved from one benefit to another. And it's still happening'.

"Labour has repeatedly assured us that this is not happening because it suits their own political ends. But the reality is that there has been an explosion in the Sickness and Invalids Benefits under Labour.

"Numbers on the Sickness and Invalids Benefits have risen more than 40% since 1999, to 121,000. Yet in the last two years of the previous National Government, the number of community wage (sickness) beneficiaries had been decreasing.

"National is calling on other concerned Work and Income staffers to expose the rort which is being quietly condoned by Labour," says Ms Collins.

ENDS

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