Labour needs to be upfront about its welfare agenda instead of hiding behind yet another working group, National Party spokesperson for Social Development Louise Upston says.

“The Government has announced an expensive eleven person working group to tell them what to do with the welfare system,” Ms Upston says.

“Looking at the list of names does anyone believe the group will tell the Government anything other than what it wants to hear?

“The group’s membership does not represent a balanced range of views and experience and will not provide recommendations that will result in a welfare system that supports those that need it while reducing welfare dependency.

“We know what Carmel Sepuloni and the Greens want to do, why don’t they just announce it and save taxpayers this expensive charade? They have had years to formulate their plan. Why don’t they just tell us what it is and get on with it?

“It’s obvious the group is essentially there to soften the public up – without informing them what the actual plans are ‘til the last minute.

“In short it seems pre-programmed to recommend removing welfare obligations, making it easier to rort the system.

“National believes that welfare rolls should be continuing to drop, not flattening out or climbing. Now is not the time to remove obligations and stop the drive to get people into meaningful work.

“With a strong economy and more job creation as result of the previous Government’s economic policies, the opportunity to achieve more with the welfare system is now.

“Hardworking New Zealanders that pay for welfare with their taxes will be worried.

“It’s not a good start to announce a working group that will largely rubberstamp the Government’s own ill-conceived ideas.”

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