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Another half-baked idea from Labour

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development

Associate Minister of Housing

5 November 2013 Media Statement

Another half-baked idea from Labour

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has challenged Labour to explain its plan to axe the Families Commission.

“Labour says it would need to ‘axe’ the Families Commission so it can carry out its ‘poverty plan’ which is clearly limited to simply counting poverty.”

“The Commission has gone through significant change since her colleague Rajen Prasad was commissioner and is now doing meaningful work.”

The Families Commission is undergoing a major restructure which has shifted half of its resources into research and evaluation to address the yawning evidential gap in what social programmes do and don’t work.

“How does Labour intend to measure the effectiveness of programmes without the clearing house capability of the Families Commission?”

The Ministry of Social Development spends $530 million a year supporting 2,400 community organisations.

“Government needs independent evidence of what is and isn’t working to make good funding decisions, but Labour obviously doesn’t care about the evidence or getting real results.”

Labour’s so called child poverty plan is a beauracratic approach that focuses on statistics rather than action. Simply choosing a poverty measure does nothing to help children and their families.

The National-led Government has a comprehensive approach to the issue.

This year’s Budget 2013 included suite of measures to help low income families:
$188.6m for welfare reforms, including 384 extra staff
$15.7m Children’s Action Plan
$377m to build 3000 new state house bedrooms + 500 new two-bedroom homes
$100m to expand home insulation, targeted towards low-income families
$26.6m to extend income-related rents to tenants in community housing
$172m in new investment in Early Childhood Education
$21.3m for the prevention and treatment of rheumatic fever
$7 million to increase the coverage of health and development B4 School Checks from 80 per cent to 90 per cent.

This comes on top of other measures including the expansion of Kickstart Breakfast programme, the Children’s Teams working with at-risk children and families and extra social workers in schools.

“This Government has a proud record and a strong plan and we don’t need to start axing Crown entities to carry it out,” says Mrs Bennett.


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