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Stop Covering Up, Steve

January 27, 2005

Stop Covering Up, Steve

Petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB, Lindsay Mitchell, today appealed to the Minister of Social Development, Steve Maharey to stop abusing the public's trust in him. She said that, in reacting to Don Brash's Orewa speech, Maharey had resorted to downplaying growing public concern about the DPB by manipulating statistics.

Mitchell is referring to his statement, "The average DPB recipient is a 32 year-old woman who had just been through a relationship break up. Statistics showed they typically stayed on the benefit for one to three years before returning to work." Maharey has been running this line through various media outlets.

Mrs Mitchell responds, "The majority of women who leave the DPB go back on it at least once embarking on another 'typical' stay of one to three years. Last year nearly 74,000 or 68 percent had been on the benefit more than once. The result is that the average total stay on the DPB is nearer to seven years."

"Of those leaving the DPB in the year to April 2004 less than a third were going back to work. Forty five percent either transferred to another benefit or re-partnered."

"Mr Maharey has also been saying that the numbers on the DPB are declining. They dropped by 946 in the five years to December 2004 but this is only because the number of single parents on a sickness or invalid's benefit has leapt from 4,000 to 7,600."

"I am sick to death of this Minister going unchallenged in public forums. He knows that the DPB is a deeply entrenched social problem, that it has created a lifestyle, amongst a large sector of society, that is bad for children. Far from helping kids this benefit is hurting them."

"What Mr Maharey's response shows is that Brash is right. Labour has no idea how to deal with the problem except to pretend it doesn't exist."

Lindsay Mitchell petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB forms available from www.liberalvalues.org.nz contact dandl.mitchall@clear.net.nz

ENDS

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