23 Jul 2009

Labour's judgement over dole example questioned

5:09 pm on 23 July 2009

Prime Minister John Key is questioning the judgement of Labour Party leader Phil Goff for not revealing that an unemployed Auckland man who he said needed a welfare benefit owned two rental properties.

Bruce Burgess lost his engineering job and cannot receive the dole because his wife's income of $21,000 a year is beyond the threshold for him to be eligible.

Mr Goff has used Mr Burgess as an example of someone who would benefit from Labour's policy to lift the threshold.

John Key says Mr Goff has been misleading and accused him of using Mr Burgess as a political football.

But spokesman for Mr Goff says he was aware of the properties but did not believe they would have affected Mr Burgess' case, as the unemployment benefit is not asset-tested.

Labour says Mr Key should worry about the real issues, such as rising unemployment, rather than trying to create distractions.