"This is a vulnerable group ... Surely if you are saying people are unemployed for too long and malingerers, then you have to be really clear about taking steps to help them back into work. "
Except "malingerers" do not want help.
This is going to be a year of sparks flying between these two. Despite The Herald saying they have worked closely together so far, at least two other deep divisions between the two come readily to mind. Work-testing the DPB and putting at-risk Maori children in placements away from whanau.
I don't know how the decision-making hierarchy pans out. You may. An Associate Minister has responsibility for specific areas but I imagine ultimate authority still rests with the Minister. Is that correct?
Apart from which any Bennett/National legislative policy will get the numbers anyway.