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Judith Collins - Working Hard for Families

Judith Collins Family and Welfare Spokesperson

11 April 2006

Working Hard for Families

All By Myself

Isn't it sad that Manukau City Council has been reduced to proposing a draft bylaw stating children under eight have to be supervised by someone aged over 16 in libraries and swimming pools? Why would anyone think it's okay for their children to be baby-sat by our public libraries and pools? The problem usually peaks around holidays, and with Easter and term-break approaching we need to be more aware of the problem. However, currently there is no age limit on children left unattended in a Manukau library.

I suppose it is at least better than leaving children in cars outside pubs or pokie machine venues. A little better - but still not good enough.

Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope has contradicted the Prime Minister and all but admitted failure in Labour's attempts to resurrect the 17 year old, single core benefit.

In the 31 March edition of The Jobs Letter, he said "we are looking very carefully at trying to minimise the number of losers" and then said "we are not prepared to say well, sorry, no one will be worse off".

Last year, Helen Clark was quoted as saying "the rejig... would leave no one worse off".

Mr Benson-Pope has now admitted that "while I can't say that we will be delivering a single core benefit certainly the system is going to be hugely simplified." To me, that sounds like an admission of defeat.

He has refused, in writing, to release the review of the pilot programmes run last year and then in Parliament denied that he was refusing to release them. While that is typical of Mr Benson-Pope, it also shows a Minister who doesn't know where to turn. After 17 years the single core benefit remains a concept devoid of details.

Easter is a great time for families to think about its meaning and to spend a few days together. It's wonderful to have family and I hope that everyone has an enjoyable time and we can put family differences behind us. Life's too short to bear grudges in our families.


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