27 Jun 2012

English accuses Labour of opposing social policy changes

3:16 pm on 27 June 2012

Finance Minister Bill English has accused the Labour Party of opposing changes to social policy because it does not want to see a reduction in the size of government.

Parliament is in urgency debating the legislation which authorises the Government to spend taxpayers' money.

During the debate, Mr English said that if the Government reduced the number of teenagers getting into trouble that might mean fewer social workers were needed and there may be a smaller government department.

"In the Labour Party's world, that is failure," he said.

Labour's finance spokesperson David Parker says what's interesting about the targets is what they don't include.

He says in the 2008 election campaign National had promised to reduce the wages gap with Australia but had not done so, nor had it agreed any milestone.

Mr Parker also criticised the Government for not being prepared to make the necessary changes to lift the country's economic performance.

The Government on Monday put specific figures on the five-year targets it has set for the public sector, including a 30% reduction over the next five years in the number of long-term beneficiaries, a 5% reduction in child abuse rates and a 15% cut in the crime rate.