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Methodist Attack on WWG Misguided

Media Release

Methodist Attack on WWG Misguided

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Christchurch Methodist Mission has published a misguided and unwarranted attack on the work of the government-established Welfare Working Group. Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell said today that the four page pamphlet The Facts about welfare in New Zealand is highly selective, contains inaccuracies and misleads.

"The Mission accuses the Welfare Working Group of 'misuse of data' and having 'manufactured a crisis that doesn't exist' and urges its members to write to newspapers and MPs to ' challenge ill-informed criticisms of beneficiaries and welfare support'. "

"It selectively uses data relating to the unemployment benefit and DPB to claim that 'most people receive social support for limited periods to make it through particular challenges or crises'. But the data used contrasts strongly with more in-depth analysis supplied to the WWG by the Ministry of Social Development."

"The Welfare Working Group found that, '... in 2008, just prior to the recent recession, and after a decade of economic growth, roughly ten percent of the working age population, or around 286,000 people were receiving a benefit...one in five children were living in benefit dependent families...170,000 had been on a benefit for at least 5 out of the last ten years...in 1960 only 2 percent of the working-age population were receiving benefits' ."

And according to Mitchell, "Other MSD research shows that over half of DPB recipients had spent 8 of the last 10 years dependent on welfare."

"Yet the Methodist Mission insists that ' the Welfare Working Group has painted a picture of long term welfare dependence that is just not reality'. "

The Welfare Working Group had at its disposal the best advice and data available from MSD, Treasury, the OECD and many other international experts in their field.

Denying there is a dependence problem denies an attempt to address it. That will not help the thousands of children and adults whose lives welfare reform seeks to improve.


Facts about welfare in New Zealand can be found at;


A more detailed rebuttal of the Mission's publication is attached or at http://lindsaymitchell.blogspot.com/2011/03/methodist-mission-attack-on-wwg.html


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