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Rehash of Old Ideas

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for Social Development & Employment

11 August 2008 Media Statement

Rehash of Old Ideas

The National Party have released their long awaited anti social welfare policy to the theme of 'Back to the Past'.

"The 1990s is back and today the National Party showed how bereft they really are of new ideas," said Ruth Dyson Minister for Social Development.

Their policy will:
• Introduce a 'work or no benefit' approach
• Increase bureaucracy and assessments for sick people
• Stop progress towards a core benefit

"What the National Party is hoping is that the New Zealand public can't remember their 'Dob in a Bludger' advertising campaign or their attempts to reduce benefit numbers by pushing beneficiaries into work at any cost," said Ms Dyson.

"Not only will this 'work or no benefit' system be punitive but there will also be a huge increase in bureaucracy, an area where the National Party has indicated cuts might fund their tax cuts. Where will the money come from now?

"The National Party's policy has serious implications for our children. When you punish beneficiaries by taking away their income, the people who will really suffer are the children. When National last introduced this policy, child poverty rose to unacceptable levels. This policy will have devastating effects on the young and vulnerable of our country reversing the 130,000 children, who have been lifted out of poverty under Labour.

"The Labour-led government has reduced the number of people on all benefits since 1999 and actively encourages people into work. The key point is that the government, through incentives such as Working for Families, abatements and a comprehensive wrap around package with Work and Income and other agencies, supports people into the workforce.

"What national is proposing is a punitive stick. A one sized fits all approach that is lacking any intellectual grit. Bill English probably agrees with that," said Ms Dyson.


ENDS

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