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New Ideas Required For Those In Need

Posted on 31 Jan 2007

ACT Leader Rodney Hide congratulates John Key on his speech this afternoon, which highlights why new ideas are needed about how to tackle welfare dependency and the social problems that go with it.

"Every New Zealander is concerned about those missing out, but what we need are new ideas", Mr Hide said.

"Compassion isn't about how many cheques we write, but how much practical help we give to those most in need.

"National's 2005 election policy included a goal to reduce the numbers on benefits by 100,000, a requirement for those on the dole to be available for training or community service, and the requirement for DPB recipients to work, retrain or undertake community service when their youngest child went to school.  John Key's speech today guarantees none of those things.

"Government should not take on the roles of families, Iwi, churches, clubs or community groups in helping those in need - and where government is involved it should focus on lifting people back to self-reliance.

"Kiwis need more than words, we need policies.  There are too many examples of people slipping through the cracks, and we need new ideas.

"In addition to a 'work for the dole' scheme, we should consider devolving delivery of social services - to churches or Iwi for example - or mentoring people so they can get the help or advice they need.

"We should replace Child, Youth and Family with a Child Protection Service, where police, social workers and doctors work together - like they do at Auckland's Starship Hospital.

"People in need still have the potential to be great - we should be unleashing that potential by lifting them to independence and helping them play a real role in society", Mr Hide said.