Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

The Tide Of Change For Welfare Reaching Our Shores

Friday 25th Jun 1999
Muriel Newman
Media Release -- Social Welfare

Speech Extract To Whangarei Electorate Meeting
7.00pm Friday June 25 1999

The tide of change for welfare that began in the US and swept into Britain with the election of Tony Blair's Labour Government is now reaching our shores.

It is a very positive change that makes us face up to the fact that we cannot just give people a cheque each week and hope that it will solve all their problems. The change is about moving from a one-size-fits-all State hand-out to a strong welfare safety net that works closely with individuals and families to give them a hand up to work and self sufficiency.

It is a long process. We have been unwilling in this country to admit that the welfare system that we have put so much into has not delivered better outcomes for those it is supposed to be helping. To recognise that the system is not working is the first step.

That recognition must also come from the huge industry that has grown up around the welfare system as rolls have continued to grow. We have to step back and take a dispassionate view of the system and identify how it can be improved.

In the US State of Wisconsin, when the highly successful W2 programme was set up, the State faced similar numbers on its welfare rolls as we currently face in New Zealand. The social indicators were on a continual downward slide with unemployment and crime on the rise.

The focus of the W2 programme was moving people into work through training, work based programmes, overcoming the barriers and problems people faced to getting back into the work force and getting the incentives in the system right.

The philosophy underpinning the programme was that the only way out of poverty is through work.

The results are an example of a positive welfare programme that works. Numbers on the US equivalent of the DBP have dropped from 100,000 to just over 8,000 with more intensive help going to those with problems like drug and alcohol addiction.

The turn around has had flow on effects for the State's economy with taxes in Wisconsin now at the lowest rate in 30 years, strong job growth and a growing economy.

The good news for us here in New Zealand is that we are capable of making the same positive change. Figures released this week showing the impact that our social policy has had on the children of this country, with almost a quarter now living in homes without a parent who gets up and goes to work every day, strengthen ACT's call for change.

To make a start we need to look at country's like the US and Britain to see how their programmes work and, most importantly, how they are investing in their people to give them a hand up to work.

ACT has had the courage to lead this debate. To tackle the difficult issues that have needed urgent attention for far too long. New Zealanders are responding and taking up ACT's challenge to add their voices to the call for a strong welfare safety net that provides a hand up, not just a hand out.

We have made a good start. But it is only the beginning. Our real concern must be for the children of this country who are the real victims of welfare dependency. It is time to act now to ensure the problems of the current welfare system aren't transferred to their generation.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

The Pike River Mine Drift will be re-entered, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced today.

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little...

“The advice I have received indicates that it is likely to be around February before the re-entry proper gets underway, by breaching the 30m seal.” More>>

 

Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>

ALSO:

Rebuilding: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>

ALSO:

Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>

ALSO:

"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>

ALSO:

Govt Loses In Supreme Court: Call For Debate On Prisoners' Right To Vote

The court earlier this week upheld a High Court decision which found that a law restricting a prisoner's right to vote was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels