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Ministers Stuck In A 'Dead End' Paradox

Thu, 05 Sep 2002

Ministers Stuck In A 'Dead End' Paradox

"I challenge both of the Ministers of Social Services, Steve Maharey and Associate Ruth Dyson, to define a dead end job," DPB opponent, Lindsay Mitchell says.

"In parliament yesterday, in defence of the imminent end to work testing the DPB, Ruth Dyson used the throw away terminology favoured by Steve Maharey when she said that, ' DPB beneficiaries would not be pushed into dead end, low wage jobs.' "

An appalled Mitchell says, "Do these supposed champions of the working class stop to consider how people who perform working roles which are integral and contributory to society feel? Every time I visit the supermarket I am keenly aware that most of the employees are on low wages yet they work hard, are generally cheerful and efficient and above all they pay taxes that support people on the DPB."

"I've had enough of Mr Maharey's idealistic indulgences about every New Zealander playing a role in the 'knowledge economy'. What about the tourist industry?" Mitchell asks. "If we are serious about developing New Zealand as a major tourist destination we need people who will work in restaurant kitchens and who will clean hotel bedrooms. They might not need skills but they will need to be committed and conscientious. If we insist on paying people benefits that pay more than these jobs (most beneficiaries won't work for less than $10 an hour because they 'earn' more from the state) how will we realise this ambition?"

"The wages paid to unskilled workers can't rise while employers carry the burden of taxation required to service our expansive welfare state. There is a catch 22 at play and the only way out is to expect parents to take responsibility for the upbringing of their children and take work where and whenever it is available. Only then will conditions improve for everyone."

"A benefit is a dead end, Ministers - a job is not."

Lindsay Mitchell

Petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB

e-mail dandl.mitchell@clear.net.nz

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