Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Collins gets desperate in attempt to mislead

20 September 2006

Collins gets desperate in attempt to mislead

Judith Collins has once again misled the New Zealand public with her recent comments on the serious issue of stress related illness, Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope said today.

“The National Party knows they can’t attack the government’s success in moving people off benefits and into work. Ms Collins is resorting to making misleading comments about a very small group of people with high needs,” said Mr Benson-Pope.

“The Labour-led Government has succeeded in reducing stress related sickness benefit numbers. Ms Collins would know this if she had read the answers provided to the Social Services Select Committee's question on this matter in June.

“Work and Income's well publicised New Service Approach is successfully helping both existing and new Sickness Benefit clients access work opportunities. This fundamental change has been launched publicly as well as discussed at the Social Services Select Committee of which she is a member. Surely Ms Collins’ implied ignorance on this subject can't just be an oversight.

“Contrary to Ms Collins claims that nothing is being done, she has withheld a wealth of information contained in answers to recent written parliamentary questions on specific steps taken to assist Work and Income clients with mental health issues, including programmes like Procare and Workwise.

“Ms Collins has already been caught out on her previous misleading statements about PATHS and benefit numbers, as have her colleagues Jo Goodhew and Craig Foss. When will the National Party ever get it right?

“If Ms Collins spent more time keeping the public, and herself properly informed on these issues, her party would have more credibility,” said Mr Benson-Pope.

“The Labour-led government is committed to getting New Zealanders off benefits and into employment. This has been proven by the fall in total benefit numbers by 30% since 1999.

“It’s obvious the National Party doesn’t like success. But it’s a shame they must resort to misinformation on such serious issues.”

Attached: Information submitted to the Social Services Select Committee on 28 June 2006, in response to Question 25 asked as part of the 2006/07 Estimates examination.

Question 25

What is the current number of working-age recipients of the Sickness Benefit (the Sickness Benefit and Sickness Benefit Hardship) due to stress?

The Ministry is providing a more work-focused service, for people in receipt of all benefits. This service provides employment programmes and support services that are tailored to the individual, rather than the benefit they receive. For Sickness and Invalid’s Benefit recipients, this means that some programmes, previously accessed more frequently by people on an Unemployment Benefit, are now more widely available.

The Ministry is already seeing positive results. Over 5,800 more clients exited Sickness and Invalid’s Benefits in the year ended December 2005, than in the year to December 2003. We are finally seeing a decline in the growth rate of Sickness Benefit for stress (-1.38%) and the growth of Invalid’s Benefit for stress has been reducing over the last 6 years. (See table below)

Working Age (18 – 64) Stress Related SB and IB

Year Sickness Benefit % Growth Invalid’s Benefit % Growth
2000 2,833 10.45% 725 30.63%
2001 3,198 12.88% 891 22.90%
2002 3,517 9.97% 1,086 21.89%
2003 4,484 27.50% 1,312 20.81%
2004 5,088 13.47% 1,469 11.97%
2005 5,493 7.96% 1,626 10.69%
2006 5,417 -1.38% 1,684 3.57%


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them.

Finally, yesterday’s announcement by the Ardern government that a new state agency will be set up to assess and plan the manned re-entry to the mine (on a set timetable) goes a long way to meeting the families’ remaining request: that they be enabled, if at all possible, to bury their loved ones. More>>


Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>


Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>


Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election