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Ministry Says Work-Test Sole Parents

Ministry Says Work-Test Sole Parents

November 11, 2005

The Ministry of Social Development's briefing to the incoming Minister, David Benson-Pope has suggested a return to part-time work-testing for sole parents.

Petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB, Lindsay Mitchell said, "Part-time work-testing for sole parents was removed by the Labour/United Future government in 2002. The legislation was vigorously opposed by ACT and National as it effectively meant a person could stay on the DPB until their youngest child was 18."

"Now the Ministry is suggesting a reversal of this policy but with a strengthening proviso that the work-test applies to the youngest child 'at entry onto benefit'. This would prevent beneficiaries adding children to their benefit to avoid working."

"Another option suggested is work-testing sole parents 'after a set period on benefit'."

"While they have avoided using the term time-limiting this recommendation is similar to ACT's policy."

"This morning Michael Cullen said that Treasury's tax-cut advice most closely resembled ACT party policy. Now it seems that both Treasury and the Ministry of Social Development have sympathies with the policies of the ACT party. What a shame we weren't privy to these prior to the election."

ENDS

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