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Collins: Labour Makes People Sick

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

6 August 2008 - No one should be surprised by the latest figures showing that the number of people on the sickness and invalid benefits has reached an all-time high, says National's Welfare spokeswoman, Judith Collins.

"Labour is making people sick. There are now almost 132,000 people collecting these benefits, despite all the millions that this government has shelled out on schemes like PATHS and Working NZ.

"The rapid escalation in the number of people on these two benefits under Labour shows all of its initiatives, schemes, endless projects and proposals have been complete and utter failures."

Ms Collins says that currently, almost 6,000 sickness beneficiaries have been categorised by Work and Income as capable of working but the department provides no expectation that they should find a job.

"All that happens is they are 'invited' to 'participate' in planning activities. That's really useful."

Ms Collins says more than 50% of those receiving the sickness benefit - which is designed as a short-term measure - have been on it for more than one year.

"What's worse, is that 10,456 people have been on the sickness benefit for between two and four years; 3,673 for between five and nine years, and 859 for more than 10 years.

"Labour has transferred 6,578 people from the unemployment benefit to the sickness benefit since July 2007. They're making people sick in a bid to make the jobless figures look better than they really are.

"That's the only thing transparent about Labour."

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