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Benson-Pope: "smart jobs, not smart cards"

05 July 2006

Benson-Pope: "smart jobs, not smart cards"

Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope stated today that the Labour-led Government chooses to focus on "smart jobs, not smart cards".

"While other parties debate whether beneficiaries should be allowed to do their own shopping, or whether we need self-appointed intermediaries intercepting benefit payments, the Labour Government has just got on and helped people move off benefit into work", Mr Benson-Pope said today.

"Figures I plan to release tomorrow will show just how successful we are at doing that".

Mr Benson-Pope said that the latest Work and Income quarterly benefit statistics, which he'll release tomorrow, will be "a huge milestone for the Labour-led Government. They'll prove that supportive, not punitive, policies are the right way to go.

"In recent days I've heard all sorts of suggestions for people receiving social assistance, including direct deductions, smart cards that dictate shopping choices, and a new layer of bureaucracy to administer benefits. None of these supports people to take personal responsibility, and none address the only real pathway out of disadvantage: getting people who can work into good, sustainable jobs", he said.

"The Labour-led Government uses a comprehensive work-focused approach that starts the moment a person walks into a Work and Income office. We have support services for people with ill health or a disability, for sole parents, and for youth. We have in-work support to make the transition off benefit successful, and employment partnerships with business and community groups," said Mr Benson-Pope.

"Labour isn't about punishing people. Labour's about supporting people to take charge of their lives and use the opportunities that are out there – and the results speak for themselves".

The Minister will release the figures at tomorrow's Ministry of Social Development Auckland Regional Plan launch.

ENDS

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