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Barker Doesn't Grasp The Real Issue

Barker Doesn't Grasp The Real Issue

Rick Barker, Associate Minister of Social Development and Employment is wrong to claim that welfare critics are overlooking the fall in unemployment, which has seen total working-age beneficiary numbers drop by 14.2% since November 99.

"What Mr Barker fails to tell us is that virtually every other benefit is seeing increasing uptake, especially sickness and invalid benefits. The real problem is that people tend to stay on these benefits longer than they do on the dole."

"There will always be rises and falls in unemployment. Many on the dole are there temporarily between jobs. They do not pose a significant problem because they are not living in the kind of long-term poverty which thousands of NZ children are exposed to."

"There has been no drop in those on the domestic purposes benefit. In fact, there has been a slight increase from 109,879 in September 1999 to 109,928 in March 2003 . This over a period when over forty thousand have gone through the COMPASS programme, which is designed to assist single parents back into the workforce."

"So Mr Barker should not be congratulating the government he is part of when numbers on those benefits which are the hardest to get off and arguably do the most damage, are still climbing."

Lindsay Mitchell

Petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB

(petition forms available from http://www.liberalvalues.org.nz) mailto:dandl.mitchell@clear.net.nz

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