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

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>

ALSO:

Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>

ALSO:

Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>

ALSO:

Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>

ALSO:

Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>

ALSO:

School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>

ALSO:

Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels