Rick Barker has little to be 'pleased' about

Published: Thu 25 Sep 2003 08:19 AM
Rick Barker has little to be 'pleased' about
The Associate Social Development Minister need look no further than his own mirror if he's looking for someone who is 'behind the times', says National Party Welfare spokeswoman Katherine Rich.
"It has taken Rick Barker three days to respond to a story which first appeared in a major daily newspaper on Monday.
"To make matters worse, he has misrepresented my statement, having clearly spent quite some time examining its contents.
"Just to remind Mr Barker, what I said was 'while the Domestic Purposes Benefit case load is coming down, some case managers I have spoken with still have anywhere between 300 and 400 clients when you include spouses'.
"Now in a statement Mr Barker has confirmed the seriousness of the situation saying 'clients on the unemployment and Domestic Purposes benefits are expected to be at a ratio of 150-170 clients per staff member''.
"He has been unable to provide any evidence that my statement of Monday was wrong, because it is not," says Mrs Rich.
"He also boasts that 'the number of people on the unemployment benefit has fallen dramatically' under Labour.
"Of course he conveniently fails to mention the huge growth in the number of people who've become sickness or invalids beneficiaries under his Government.
"They have been increasing at a rate that cannot be explained by expected rates of disability and sickness," Mrs Rich says.
"After excellent economic conditions there has not been a sustained and dramatic drop in welfare numbers.
"With a record like that Mr Barker, you have little to be 'pleased' about," says Mrs Rich.

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