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Targeting beneficiaries is too little, too late

Judith Collins National Party Welfare Spokeswoman
4 July 2006

Targeting beneficiaries is too little, too late

The Government's plan to target clusters of beneficiaries to ensure welfare payments aren't being misused is too little, too late, says National's Welfare spokeswoman, Judith Collins.

"It's a step in the right direction but unfortunately it took a couple of babies to die before the Government started taking this issue seriously.

"They have had seven years to do something about intergenerational welfare dependency but they have done nothing.

"If tackling welfare dependency is such a priority for this Government, why did the Prime Minister not mention it once in her Statement to Parliament at the beginning of the parliamentary year, and why were there no specific initiatives in this year's Budget?

"Both Prime Minister Helen Clark and Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope have been talking over the past two days about these households slipping 'under the radar' - as if it is just one of those things that happen.

"This sounds like another convenient excuse by this Government to deflect the blame - as if it were the fault of these families that they have somehow escaped the attention of the appropriate agencies.

"Well, I'm sorry, but I don't understand how households getting up to $1,000 a week of taxpayers' money can be under anyone's radar.

"It is not that difficult to find out how long someone has been on a benefit, it's just that they have chosen not to.

"I am confident that under Labour nothing much will change. They have proven they are simply not willing to make the tough decisions."

ENDS

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