INDEPENDENT NEWS

Labour: No Hope, No Vision

Published: Wed 8 Sep 1999 02:25 PM
"Labour's welfare policy is 'a blueprint for failure' and promises nothing more for those on welfare than the status quo," said ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman. "There is no vision for a better future and the policy offers no hope for the thousands of families who want to move out of poverty by getting a job," she said.
"New Zealanders deserve better. They have seen the crippling effects of welfare, the wasted potential, families and communities in crisis and they want some solutions.
"They want a true social security system that provides a strong safety net for those who are not able to look after themselves, and a hand up to work for those who can. ACT is the only Party offering new solutions that deal with the causes of welfare dependency.
"Labour's policy will not help the many thousands of New Zealanders who really want and deserve a real job. It's a soft option that will not stop the welfare rolls growing.
"Labour's policy contains only minor window dressing and a promise, through the scrapping of the community wage, to force those who want to work to sit at home and simply wait for their benefit each week. This policy turns the clock back. It would see a Labour Government giving those on welfare a cheque and just washing their hands of any other support.
"Labour's policy does not address the real causes of welfare dependency. It will not improve the lives of those in need, break the cycle of dependency or protect the futures of children in at-risk families. The policy simply throws $75 million more at a system that we know is failing.
"Real welfare invests in people, giving them a hand up and supporting them into jobs. Real welfare provides a decent safety net and genuinely supports those who cannot work. Real welfare is about gives people the opportunity to build a decent quality of life, it does not trap them in dependency.
"The centrepiece of Labour's welfare policy is the promise to scrap the community wage scheme. There is no positive vision in this policy. No positive help for people who so desperately want to find a job. There is just a commitment to leaving people to languish on the scrap heap.
"We have to do better. New Zealand desperately needs policies that create jobs and boosts growth. We need less tax, not more. We need to help business hire more workers, by strengthening the Employment Contracts Act, not abandoning it to the union movement.
"A litmus test for welfare policy should be whether or not it gives the child of a lone parent on a benefit the chance they deserve of completing their education and reaching their full potential in life. Labour's policy simply isn't up to scratch," said Muriel Newman.
ENDS

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