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Overdue Welfare Reforms A Good Start

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Welfare

Overdue Welfare Reforms A Good Start

Libertarianz Party leader Richard McGrath today praised the National Party's plans to overhaul the state disability welfare system, saying it was a "good first step".

"Getting beneficiaries, whatever their level of disability, into some form of sustainable work is an extremely positive move, and the government should be congratulated on this policy. One does, however, have to ask why these reforms weren't wheeled out three years ago when National entered office."

"The Libertarianz Party has a suggestion for an immediate change to taxpayer-funded sickness and invalid benefit eligibility: those on benefits related to the self-destructive consumption of drugs should have to undergo frequent random blood and urine drug testing, at their own expense, and if drugs linked to any existing health problems were found in their system, the benefit would be chopped."

"Thus, people with respiratory disorders attributable to cigarette smoking would have their benefit cancelled if they continued to smoke. People with alcohol and drug problems who failed to engage in treatment programmes and adhere to the expectations of the programmes would also be tossed off public welfare."

Dr McGrath said the days of "unconditional, open-ended financial entitlements" were over and beneficiaries could expect to come under intense scrutiny in return for receiving money stripped from productive New Zealanders.

"The country can ill afford to continue with the welfare system in its current form," he said. "There needs to be greater accountability by welfare recipients to justify their handouts, and consequences for people who abuse the system."

"Asset sales could fund annuities linked to a particular individual, for the permanently disabled. It is bizarre Phil Goff should be opposing asset sales when the Labour Government in which he was senior minister sold billions of dollars worth of state enterprises in the late 1980s even after Roger Douglas was replaced as finance minister."

For more information, see www.libertarianz.org.nz or contact:

ENDS

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