During that period I challenged him on that figure. It didn't ring true when pitted against overseas research. It took no account of people leaving the DPB and resuming - a common occurrence. And it wasn't a product of point-in-time data.
Let me try to explain that using Michael Tanner's words:
On Thursday the current Minister, Paula Bennett released the following statement:
"The June 2012 valuation, following the 2011 baseline valuation, says sole parents spend an average 15.8 years on benefit with a lifetime cost2 of $234,000."Back to Maharey. Here's just one instance of him stating the average time spent on the DPB. The most important thing though is not that he got it wrong. He can only know what his officials tell him. It's that his bias towards the welfare state allowed him to accept and champion the bad data, and then make policy based on it.
If Labour is re-elected next year, the new Social Development Minister will be Sue lets-extend-paid-parental-leave Moroney. Clearly another MP steeped in hand-out mentality who can't get her facts right.
The current Minister has a better handle on welfare than any previous. She has opened up the books and given data to people who know how to analyse it. She has subsequently targeted reforms at those people who are at greatest risk of being long-term dependent, for their sake and the rest of the country. She can go further but she'll need a mandate.
Whatever else your priorities are, factor in welfare when making a choice next year.