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Children Need a Role Model For Work - ACT

Wednesday 23rd Jun 1999

Media Release -- Other

Children Need a Role Model For Work - ACT

ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today said it's time to start focusing on the country's children by turning around the statistics just released that show almost a quarter of all children are growing up without the role model of a parent who gets up and goes to work every day.

"The Statistics New Zealand Report strengthens ACT's call for a strong welfare safety net that gives a hand up to work rather than a hand out.

"The priority for Maori and Pacific Island children and those in sole parent families is urgent with more than 40% of Maori children and 37.9% of Pacific Islands children growing up in homes where parents are unemployed. Two thirds of children in one parent families have a parent out of work compared with 9.6% of children in two parent families..

"The latest figures I have just received from the Government show that 24.6% of households in New Zealand now receive all of their income from State benefits. 44.7% of all households receive at least a portion of their income from the Government.

"These figures are really tough proof that our children are the real victims of our hand out rather than a hand up welfare policy.

"What we must do is look at these figures and ask how we can help those families back into work. We have taken far too long to turn welfare around so it doesn't trap the next generation onto the welfare rolls. These children must be the focus of a positive change to make sure they get the education and skills they need to reach their full potential.

"It is really important, as a part of that change, that they have their parents as role models for work.

"The only way out of poverty and dependency for these families is through work. It's time to start turning these figures around," said Muriel Newman. ENDS

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