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Govt Pays New Zealanders to Do Nothing

Its Official: Govt Pays New Zealanders to Do Nothing

ACT Social Services Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today the Labour Government has given up on thousands of unemployed Kiwis, paying them to stay on welfare and do nothing.

"There is a significant discrepancy between the Household Labour Force Survey, showing 26,500 people out of work for six months or more, and official Department of Work and Income figures, which show 94,000 people have been receiving unemployment benefits for the same period of time. Social Services Minister, Steve Maharey, has tried to explain it away saying that the HLFS asks whether someone has been actively seeking work this week: 'Now, if you haven't been actively seeking work this week, then you won't show up as a job seeker'.

"The Minister is accepting that only 26,500 long-term unemployed may be looking for work in any given week, while some 67,500 long-term unemployed won't be.

"That means he's prepared to pay, by conservative estimates, $13.5 million a week ' or over $700 million a year - of taxpayers' money for people to sit at home doing nothing and not looking for work. This is despite the fact that only people actively seeking work are supposed to get the benefit.

"This Minister is not only condoning a system that pays people to do nothing, but he's making the problem worse. He axed work for the dole, which had been successful in re-instilling the work ethic into the long-term unemployed, replacing it with a programme that has turned out to be a flop: only 1602 people registered for Activity in the Community in its first 13 weeks, compared with 4300 who took part in Work for the Dole in its first 10 weeks.

"ACT will continue to challenge the damaging ideological agenda of this Minister. In Government we will promote positive incentives for the unemployed to re-acquire the work ethic, to move out of the dependency trap and to improve their lives. That will benefit not only those families, but the country as a whole," Dr Newman said.


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