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Labour encourages ‘can’t–do’ approach

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

12 August 2008

Labour encourages ‘can’t–do’ approach

National’s Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins says Labour needs to stop hysterically misrepresenting National’s benefits policy.

“Labour is showing it has a ‘can’t-do’ attitude towards beneficiaries finding part-time work, and is making up all sorts of reasons why this would be too hard.”

Ms Collins is commenting after a wave of misrepresentation about National’s benefits policy including unfounded and ill-informed criticism from the Prime Minister.

“Having embarrassed herself wrongly speculating about what might be in National’s policy, Labour is now determined to try to make fact out of Helen Clark’s fiction. Labour should be ashamed that it is trying to fear-monger among those who are the most vulnerable in our society.

“It’s time to put the record straight.

“First, Ruth Dyson is wrong when she claims National would cut the benefits of sole parents who cannot find work. What utter nonsense.

“Our policy is clear – under National, single parents would be required to engage in 15 hours of employment, training, or job-seeking activities. If they can’t find work, their benefit will not be cut or even reduced.

“This is the same as the work obligation that Labour currently places on the partners of people receiving the unemployment, sickness and invalid benefit.

“Labour’s claims about entitlements for parents of children with a physical or intellectual disability are also wrong.

“Work and Income already has the discretion to exempt parents from work obligations if they are caring for a special or high needs child. We will ensure that this discretion is exercised compassionately and in a way that takes into account a sole parent’s individual circumstances.

“And Helen Clark’s claims about a return to ‘work for the dole’ is utter garbage. National has specifically rejected that approach in this policy.

“If Labour really cared about the plight of beneficiaries, why, after nine years, hasn’t it adjusted the amount a beneficiary can earn before they start losing their benefit?

“Work is the pathway out of poverty. National values the importance of work in both a social and economic sense. That is why we are providing bigger incentives for people on the unemployment benefit to do more for themselves.”

“Sadly, Labour is in full election campaign mode, where everything it says and does is more about political point-scoring rather than doing what’s right.”


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