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Bradford asks Nats to clarify work for dole plans

17 July 2008

Bradford asks Nats to clarify NGO and work for dole plans

A report in the 'New Zealand Herald' this morning that Australian NGO corporate Mission Australia is keen to bring its work for dole programmes into New Zealand should ring major alarm bells about what may await beneficiaries, and the community and voluntary sector, in the event of a National victory.

"After yesterday's admission from John Key that National stands ready to reopen ACC to competition, it is high time he and his colleagues also come clean on what exactly their intentions are in regards to both the NGO sector and welfare reform," Green Party Social Development Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

"While I am delighted to hear Judith Collins say that the National Party has no intention of using Mission Australia to manage NGO contracts here, Mission Australia has been quoted as saying it is keen to cross the Tasman, and National's underlying intentions remain murky.

"My fear now is that rather than bringing a corporate like Mission Australia over here to carry out public-private style contracting, National is instead planning to base its NGO strategy on a copycat of the Australian model.

"For example, Mr Key may well be talking with large faith-based service providers right now about whether any of them would be willing to take on a Mission Australia-type role here.

"This would mean such a provider becoming a kind of Super Contractor, managing contracts and grants on behalf of the Government, doling them out to other NGOs, and making a nice profit from doing so.

"In this way, the Government can cut the jobs of public servants, and use an arms length organisation to make those politically sensitive decisions like refusing funding to groups who advocate too loudly on behalf of the people and causes they serve.

"At the same time, such a Super Contractor could also be paid, as Mission Australia is, to implement the kind of widespread work for dole programmes I fear a new National Government may be keen to put in place, not only for the unemployed, but for other beneficiaries as well.

"The pressure Ms Collins continues to place on Labour in regards to getting invalids and sickness beneficiaries into paid work makes me fearful that they would be next in line for workfare programmes should National become Government."


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