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Where's the Benefit in Benefit?

Where's the Benefit in Benefit?

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today said she was appalled at the Ministry of Social Development's 2003 annual report that so unashamedly promotes the spending of more than $2.1 billion on Maori "clients".

"The report takes great pains to trumpet the success rate of its programmes under the `removing inequalities' banner (the `closing the gaps' contradiction). But where is the success when more than 30 percent of the $6.3 billion paid in benefits is going to less than 15 percent of the population?

"So-called successes are measured in outcomes - nebulous activities like `community gardens', `counselling', and `alternative education services' - none of which have addressed the real inequalities of New Zealand social welfare: disproportionate representation of Maori on government benefits.

"The Labour government is doing a brilliant job of trapping Maori in the welfare cycle. They have increased Maori family dependency and the likelihood of second and third generation beneficiaries.

"I'm left wondering if Minster, Steve Maharey's soft approach to welfare has been inculcated into the Ministry of Social Development and its Chief Executive. Has Peter Hughes been an active member of the Labour party in the past?" asked Dr Newman.

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