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National's election 'priorities' abandoned

National's election 'priorities' abandoned

With almost 34,000 more children now dependant on beneficiary parents than in 2008, John Key's promise of a 'brighter future' for New Zealanders rings sickeningly hollow, Labour's Deputy Leader and Social Policy spokesperson Annette King says.

"In 2006, in his first speech as leader of the National Party, Mr Key said a society could be measured 'by how many vulnerable people it creates'. Two years later, when he became Prime Minister, he talked of an 'underclass' that had been allowed to develop, and said it was his mission to halt its growth.

"Last week he acknowledged that so-called 'underclass', the group of people he promised to make it a priority to help, had grown under his stewardship.

"The litany of failure is inexcusable. Substantiated cases of child abuse have increased, benefit numbers are up and we have tens of thousands more children living in poverty," Annette King said.

"Add to that the record demand for food parcels and budgeting services, and high hospital admissions for illnesses associated with poor living conditions and it's obvious that a 'brighter future' means something completely different for Mr Key than it does for the rest of New Zealand.

"He highlighted that in Parliament recently, saying everyone was better off under National thanks to a home insulation scheme and an increase in immunisation rates.

"Tell that to the 60,000 more beneficiaries and the 49,000 more Kiwis out of work since National became the Government.

"If John Key believes people should be judged on the way they treat the vulnerable, then he is in deficit. He needs to tell us before the election what tangible policies his Government will put in place to address the worsening plight of his 'underclass'.

"New Zealanders deserve better. Labour is committed to giving everyone a fairer and more equal society to live and grow up in," Annette King said.

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