CTU Media Release 11 August 2008
National's welfare policy old and tired
"National's policy to get tough on beneficiaries is not only outdated and lacks respect, but it is an approach that undermines wages and has been spectacularly unsuccessful in the past and will be so again," Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said.
"Current active labour market policies are successfully supporting many people back into work and have seen massive reductions in numbers of people on the unemployment benefit, from 162,000 in 1999 to 17,000 today."
"The reality is that people get off the DPB at the earliest opportunity that they can and evidence that people stay on it longer than they need to be simply isn't there."
"If compulsory hours of work is a condition of receiving the DPB then it is work-for-the-DPB, just like its predecessor work-for-the-dole. Employers will also take advantage of this and replace waged workers."
"These people are playing a very important role raising our next generation and often on their own. They are our heroes, not the drain on society that National would portray them as."
"The people who suffer most from National's approach are children. We need to lift the quality of debate and take the lead the Children's Commissioner and Barnardos showed last week, with policies to reduce poverty, get people into decent quality work, and not stigmatise people and force them into work which takes away their choices. "
"People are entitled to good support and benefits levels when they need to access the social security system. Solo parents that make the decision to stay home do so for lots of very valid reasons and they should be supported, not punished."