Labour Deputy Leader
17 August 2011
Government politicking on welfare exposed
The launch of National’s welfare policy by John Key during his party’s annual conference on Sunday has been exposed for
the political rort it is in a letter written by his own Social Development Minister, Labour Deputy Leader Annette King
“The letter from Paula Bennett in answer to a businessman’s email, proves the Government’s plan to give 16 and 17 year
olds “pocket money” which could only be used to purchase certain items, is nothing more than a cynical move to garner
votes, at the expense of those not old enough to vote.
“It demonstrates exactly the underhand way the Government deals to our most vulnerable – by demonising them for
political gain. It ignores most of the 58,000 young people not in work, education or training. It offers nothing in the
way of a long-term solution for a problem that is a National disgrace,” Annette King said.
“The Prime Minister says these young people are in desperate need of help. He’s not wrong there – youth unemployment has
hit the highest level since the Great Depression - yet three months out from an election we suddenly have Paula Bennett
singing the praises of a policy that just five months ago she dismissed as something that was intrusive and would
impinge on freedom of choice.
“She also saw no need to change the way welfare is paid or assessed just because a small minority of beneficiaries
couldn’t use their money prudently.
“I believe the Minister owes the country, and especially those 58,000 young people facing what, under National, would be
a very bleak future, an explanation,” Annette King said.
Annette King will be available to take questions from the media at 3.30pm today, in her office, Room 3013.