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ACT Otago/Southland Regional Workshops

Friday 6th Aug 1999
Ken Shirley
Media Release -- Social Welfare

ACT Otago/Southland Regional Workshops 10am Saturday August 7 1999, Wains Hotel, 310 Princes Street, Dunedin

ACT Deputy Leader Hon Ken Shirley and Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman will be in Dunedin tomorrow for a day of workshops focusing on social issues.

Ken Shirley says the focus of tomorrow's workshops is "local solutions for local problems". "It is an opportunity for us to listen to groups working on the ground in Otago and Southland dealing with problems of welfare dependency, education, health and law & order.

"Representatives from the Police, special needs education specialists and welfare groups are participating in the workshops.

"ACT has very clear goals in these areas. In Law and Order we want criminals who commit crimes to do the time. ACT wants Truth in Sentencing to ensure criminals serve at least 80% of their sentences before they are considered for parole.

"In Welfare, ACT believes we should get back to the original vision of social security, rather than the current social welfare dependency trap. We want to invest in people to get them off welfare and into real jobs.

"The fair, full and final settlement of all legitimate Treaty Claims is a priority for our Party. We are very concerned that while we remain focused on the grievances of the past we are ignoring the needs of Maori families today and into the future. The statistics for Maori children in health, education, abuse and neglect are the shame of this country. Their needs of all our children must be our number one priority.

"This week's Household Labour Force survey showing unemployment for the Otago Region at 6.8% and 6.1% for Southland is another wake up call for Government to get off the backs of local businesses and industries. If Government wants to help people in the South into work it must help employers to hire more staff by cutting tax, red tape and bureaucracy and sorting out the employment laws.

"Small businesses are the life blood of our regions. They provide the jobs and opportunities that keep our provincial cities and rural communities alive and growing. Instead of letting them keep more of what they earn and making it easier to hire more staff, the National Minority Government has taxed businesses and industries harder and tied them up in red tape. Labour and the Alliance are promising to put up even greater barriers to employment. ACT is the only party committed to cutting tax and getting Government off the backs of hard working New Zealanders.

"The workshops are an important opportunity for ACT to listen to the needs of the people of Dunedin and Southland and their solutions for taking the regions forward," said Hon Ken Shirley.

ENDS

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


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