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Money helps, But Money Is Not The Answer

Wednesday 10th Nov 1999
Richard Prebble
Media Release -- Social Welfare

"When Labour and National say to the electorate that their only difference on welfare policy is who gives more money - then most voters react by rightly thinking Labour and National are ignoring the real problem - state induced dependency," said ACT Leader Hon Richard Prebble in Dunedin today.

"The debate between Labour and National about Labour's TV solo mum and her seven children highlights two things. Firstly, for whatever reason this woman is eligible to receive from the state more money each week than most New Zealand families.

"Secondly, the state, by paying her from the first child through to the last, has set up a system that does nothing to mend broken families. It does nothing to ensure that children have loving and productive homes from which to take every opportunity for their development, education and employment. It is doing nothing to give people a hand up from dependence back to independence and work.

"No one to date has said what the exact circumstances of Labour's solo mum really is. But, even as an example it shows welfare is hurting those it is supposed to be helping.

"The contemptuous politics practised by all the other parties that says you can't question the system just won't cut it with voters. All New Zealanders want a real safety net should they or their families ever need it, but they know it's unfair to have a welfare system that can be a lifestyle option funded from their hard-earned money.

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"If ACT's welfare policy had been in place when Labour's solo mum had her first child and she had been given a real hand up through education and the chance to support herself and her family would her life have been different? Of course, we don’t know her personal circumstances but we know that for thousands of women it would have been different and surely that is the real issue.

"ACT says we do need to debate this issue. We need to acknowledge that our welfare system is not solving the problem, it is part of the problem and politicians are to blame.

"ACT says a welfare system that really cares about people has independence and work as the goal. It meets their individual needs and helps them to overcome barriers to work. That's fair. That's real compassion.

"ACT is the only party that has a positive vision for welfare that works for people to help them get back on their feet, " said Hon Richard Prebble.


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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