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Maharey's 'Good Start!' - 'To What?' ask Libz

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Maharey's 'Good Start!' - 'To What?' asks Libz' Mitchell

Last Wednesday, Steve Maharey spoke about changes Labour will be making to the Welfare State, making comments Libertarianz spokesman Lindsay Mitchell describes as "no more than pussyfoot and waffle." Maharey said of his government: " We have made a good start. The ill- conceived compulsory community work scheme that locked people into welfare dependency and out of real jobs has been abolished."

"A good start! A good start to what?" asks Lindsay Mitchell, Libertarianz assoc. spokesman for welfare deregulation. "In the USA by 1997 -- only months into their own reforms -- there had already been a nationwide decline in welfare rolls of about 24%, with many states achieving greater than 50% decreases. Pivotal to this achievement was a stringent requirement to seek employment in the private sector, or, failing that, to perform so-called 'community service work.' Separating those who are truly in need from those who are simply willing to take an unconditional hand-out is a crucial first step in the power of 'dissuasion'"

Libertarianz would allow identification of the truly needy by phasing out all state welfare, thus leaving the productive financially and willingly able to identify and voluntarily support those people they wish to.

Then Minister Maharey goes on to describe time-limiting benefits as "a punitive and simplistic notion."

"Pardon me, Minister, but isn't this exactly what the US did in 1996 when they abolished their equivalent of our DPB -- the AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) -- in favour of TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families)? According to the Jan 2001 American Prospect, caseloads since then have fallen sharply while employment has soared.

Libertarianz would also' time-limit' benefits by announcing their rapid demise.

Last year Steve Maharey told North/South magazine that his mission was to re-invent the Welfare State in a form that is useful for modern society. "Firstly you have to focus on education, a very strong commitment to training and lifelong learning."

"Again, I take issue with this," Lindsay Mitchell continues. "The US state most successful in reducing dependency, Wisconsin, clearly warns: 'Avoid education and training. Government training and remedial education programmes do little to reduce dependence.' "They should know," says Mitchell. " Following its own advice, Wisconsin -- with a similar population size to New Zealand -- has slashed its AFDC roll from 100,000 in 1987 to merely 7,000 today."

Libertarianz believe the state has NO role in education - let alone remedial education.

Finally, in the current North/South issue Maharey disputes the results of surveys showing fewer Americans are now living in poverty. He believes citizens have either moved states, or have gone to private welfare organisations.

"On the former claim he is -- as so often -- confused, as welfare rolls are down across the States," corrects Mitchell. "And if people have sought out private welfare organisations, what on earth is wrong with that?" she asks. "Libertarianz recognises that private welfare organisations funded voluntarily are unquestionably preferable to state welfare organisations funded compulsorily by the taxpayer. Private welfare organisations provide more personalised and appropriate aid to the needy. Private welfare organisations are more efficient because they have to compete for the charitable donation. And private welfare organisations are moral, because it is their own money they are distributing."

"While the US and, following their example, the UK and other European countries, are rolling up their sleeves and heading away from state welfare, Maharey stampedes in the opposite direction.-- in spite of all the empirical evidence, and all moral arguments to the contrary," says Lindsay Mitchell. "While New Zealand's compulsorily funded 'safety net' becomes a tax-paid hammock, he continues to ignore all the evidence and do no more than pussyfoot and waffle,".

"It's enough to make you vote Libertarianz!"

ENDS

For further information please contact: Lindsay Mitchell Liberatarianz Assoc. Spokesman to Deregulate Welfare (04) 562 7944, Dandl.Mitchell@clear.net.nz

* LIBERTARIANZ * More Freedom * Less Government *

www.libertarianz.org.nz www.freeradical.co.nz

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