Don Brash at Orewa: 'Whatever happened to personal responsibility?'

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Auckland, New Zealand –On January 25, 2005, Don Brash, the leader of the New Zealand National Party made a speech to the Orewa Rotary Club where he focussed upon welfare dependency. He pledged to reduce the number of working-age beneficiaries from the current figure of 300 000 to 200 000 over ten years. His particular target was the 109 000 solo parents on the Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB). Brash suggested a greater role for adoption in reducing this number, and also hinted that mothers who did not name the father, or who had another child while already on the DPB, may be penalised. Brash's advocacy of adopting children out has lead to a number of attacks, Prime Minister Helen Clark responded by saying "I think we need to support people to keep their babies".

Background

New Zealand will hold a general election this year, most likely in September. The National Party is trailing the governing Labour Party by about 14% in the polls, but last year it polled better than the Labour Party following a speech on race relations by Don Brash at the same location a year earlier. This speech is gearing-up the National Party and setting policies in the build-up to the election. New Zealand under went significant welfare reform during the early 1990s under a National government, with a 25% cut in benefits at the 1991 'Mother of all Budgets' by Ruth Richardson. The current Labour government (1999-) has restored some of the previous benefit levels.

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