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500 staff for beneficiary debt, still rising

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

4 January 2008

500 staff dealing with beneficiary debt but figure still rising

The Ministry of Social Development now has more than 500 people tasked with managing beneficiary debt, but the debt mountain is only getting bigger, says National’s Welfare spokeswoman, Judith Collins.

“Bureaucracy at the Ministry is spiralling out of control yet MSD is failing to keep on top of one of the most serious issues it is faced with.

“What are these people doing?

“Its 2006/07 annual report said the Ministry was in the process of developing a ‘Ministry-wide debt strategy’, but we’ve seen absolutely no progress to date.

“I suppose that’s not altogether surprising. In its 2005/06 financial review, MSD said it was creating a debt strategy and that it had increased its staff by one third and doubled the financial resources dedicated to managing debt.

“Two years before that, MSD claimed it had created a client debt strategy.

“How many times does the Government think it can get away with re-heating old strategies and announcements?

“While Labour has tried to appear as though it is committed to getting on top of the problem, beneficiary debt has risen to a shocking $761 million.

“Come the Government’s next ‘announcement’, that figure will look even worse.”

ENDS

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