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Maharey Responsible For CEG Crisis

Maharey Responsible For CEG Crisis

Monday 20 Sep 2004

Dr Muriel Newman

Press Releases - Social Welfare

When Cabinet decides on the future of the Community Employment Group, it should remember that the buck stops with Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"As the Minister responsible for CEG, Mr Maharey's future should also be reviewed," Dr Newman said.

"Plagued by controversy over irresponsible spending of taxpayers' money on projects of dubious worth, the high-risk `Social Entrepreneur' strategy was Mr Maharey's brainchild - when launching it, he claimed it would reward `stunning examples of human innovation'.

"The Minister was right - we've seen this initiative dish out huge sums of public money to fund some of the most bizarre initiatives in CEG history. Any agency that hands out millions of taxpayers' dollars must have robust checks and balances in place to ensure that taxpayers' money is well spent. CEG and its Minister have fallen well below the standard.

"Mr Maharey set CEG up to fail. He took it out of WINZ, where it was part of a bigger employment strategy, and foisted the dubious high-risk Social Entrepreneur programme on it. Further, it has had to administer another failed Maharey flagship: the $8 million Community Employment Organisation strategy.

"Then, when the failures hit the headlines, the Minister ducked for cover. He even left the Labour Department to do his dirty work and announce the cancellation of his Social Entrepreneur scheme. As CEG Minister, it is Mr Maharey's future that should be under review when Cabinet meets today," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

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