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Committee Stage Of Welfare Reform Bill Interrupted

The House rose at 10pm interrupting the committee stage of the Social Security (Youth Support and Work Focus) Amendment Bill.

Debate on the bill, which amongst other things brings in greater case management of youth beneficiaries and work testing for other beneficiaries, was passionate at times.

New Zealand First MP Tracy Martin said she feared what the changes in the bill would do for existing initiatives to assist beneficiaries and that the initiatives would be intrusive.

Labour MP Su’a William Sio said Social Development Minister Paula Bennett gave the impression that she believed Maori and Pacific youth wanted to be on the dole, whereas the Government was denying them opportunity.

Bennett said the Labour MP was misrepresenting her and the Government’s intent was to give assistance where it was needed most. She also rejected the arguments put forward by Martin saying the Government would be using local providers to provide local solutions.

MPs will resume the debate with consideration of Part three on the bill on the next sitting day

Votes on the first and second parts of the bill were completed on a vote of 64 to 57 with National, Maori Party, ACT and United Future supporting.

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