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About-face by Benson-Pope on single benefit

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

05 April 2006

About-face by Benson-Pope on single benefit

“David Benson-Pope has contradicted the Prime Minister and all but admitted failure in Labour’s attempts to resurrect the 17-year-old idea for a single benefit,” says National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins.

She is referring to comments from the Social Development Minister to ‘The Jobs Letter’, where he said ‘we are looking very carefully at trying to minimise the number of losers’ before going on to say ‘we are not prepared to say well, sorry, no one will be worse off’.

“Perhaps Mr Benson-Pope needs reminding that is exactly what Helen Clark has said.”

A Dominion Post article on February 22 last year says ‘the rejig … would leave no one worse off, Prime Minister Helen Clark said’.

Ms Collins also says it appears Mr Benson-Pope is now unable to deliver on the fundamental promise of a single core benefit at all. He told ‘The Jobs Letter’ that ‘ while I can’t say that we will be delivering a single core benefit certainly the system is going to be hugely simplified’.

“The single core benefit is a concept that Labour re-heats from time to time when it has run out of ideas. It first surfaced in 1989 under then Social Welfare Minister Michael Cullen.

“Labour knew it was a dog when they announced it as a knee jerk response to Don Brash’s Orewa speech on welfare, and now that rush of blood is coming back to haunt Mr Benson-Pope.

“This was supposed to be in place by 2007. But there is absolutely no sign of legislation, Mr Benson-Pope still refuses to provide papers on it, and MSD is currently consumed with CYF merger plans.

“Time is running out and Labour is still running around in circles,” says Ms Collins.

ENDS

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