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Govt Promises More Frontline Welfare Staff Despite Cuts

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, July 1 NZPA - The Government is promising more frontline welfare staff despite cutting nearly 600 positions in the Ministry of Social Development.

Staff were told yesterday 590 jobs would be disestablished but 360 new roles were being created.

Chief executive Peter Hughes said the worst case scenario was 200 redundancies.

"We are focusing on moving our people into roles in the ministry that will achieve our overall goal of boosting the frontline and streamlining our operations," he said.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett gave an assurance there would be more frontline workers.

"The concentration is on frontline staff, on social workers that are working with those people that need it most," she told reporters.

Prime Minister John Key said savings made by closing administration service centres and cutting the team of child abuse education workers would fund the extra frontline positions.

Mr Key said some people employed to promote awareness of child abuse were being replaced by a greater number of staff who would promote prevention.

"The problem is not awareness any more; the solution is prevention and doing something about it," he said.

Labour's social development spokeswoman, Annette King, said Mr Key was showing his naivety.

"Raising awareness of child abuse is quite clearly fundamental to prevention. The two go hand-in-hand," she said.

"There are now more notifications because there is greater awareness."

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