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Labour has no solutions to long-term unemployment

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

26 September 2008

Labour has no new solutions to long-term unemployment

Labour's attacks on National's practical and workable benefit policy are proving to be nothing but hot air after revelations the Government plans to introduce a tougher clamp down on long-term beneficiaries.

"Cabinet papers released today show Labour has no new ideas for getting the longer-term unemployed back into the workforce, while National's policy offers new tools for officials seeking to encourage the long-term jobless into employment. Labour has no plan," says National's Welfare spokeswoman, Judith Collins.

"The documents reveal that under Labour, if beneficiaries fail to comply with work-test obligations without good and sufficient reason, their benefit will be suspended until they conform, and if they fail a third time to comply, the benefit will be cancelled for 13 weeks, after which they will have to reapply.

"But National has a far more practical policy. Every person who has been on the unemployment benefit for more than a year will be required to re-apply for their benefit and undergo a comprehensive work assessment. All long-term unemployment beneficiaries will be required to do what it takes to secure employment. This may include practical training, attending a basic-skills course, or attending drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

"After that, they will be required to actively look for a job, to go to any job interview they are referred to, and to accept any offer of suitable employment, whether full-time, part-time, temporary, or seasonal.

"If they do not comply with these obligations, they will have their benefit reduced in the first instance, then suspended, and then cancelled.

"National's policy is practical and fair. We will give beneficiaries every incentive to get back into the workforce. Work is the pathway out of poverty.

"Labour's latest musings show once again that after nine long years, they have totally run out of ideas."


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