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National should apologise for legacy of poverty


National should apologise for its legacy of poverty

The National Party leader should come up with some clear policies on eliminating poverty, rather than just handing out muesli bars, says the Education Minister, Steve Maharey.

"In fact John Key should apologise for the levels of poverty National subjected New Zealanders to through its policies of the 1990s", says Steve Maharey.

Mr Maharey says the National Party needs to admit its own actions, such as slashing benefits and market rates for state housing, created misery for many.

"He says National needs to demonstrate a real commitment to moving away from such damaging policies.

"The Labour government has made huge inroads into the poverty problems it inherited from National, which has included major investment in solid policies, such as Working for Families, increases in minimum wages rates, lower medical fees and more modern apprenticeships."

Since Labour came to power:
•    62 thousand fewer children are living in households claiming a main benefit.
•    Child poverty rates fell from 27 to 21 percent in the 3 years to 2004.
•    Working for Families is predicted to reduce child poverty by up to 70 percent.
•    2.1 million New Zealanders are in paid employment, an increase of 340,000 since 1999.

Steve Maharey says John Key should stop bullying decile 1 schools and start coming up with some policies that will address, rather than create, poverty.

'Ends

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