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Living standards research an essential tool

14 November 2002 Media Statement

Living standards research an essential tool for social development

New research released today by the Ministry of Social Development is an important contribution to our understanding of how to raise the living standards of all New Zealanders, says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

New Zealand Living Standards 2000 was produced by the Ministry’s Centre for Social Research and Evaluation. It is the fifth report in a series which has also looked at the living standards of older New Zealanders (released in 2001) and of older Maori (released last month). This series is part of an effort by the government to build a proper evidence base to inform social policy decisions and future investments.

Steve Maharey said he welcomed the research and, in particular, the new tools developed during its preparation which will give the government detailed information about the best ways to combat poverty in our society.

“For a government strongly committed to investing in New Zealanders this research is essential – since it tells us where we are best to put our money.

“This is not simply an academic exercise as some have chosen to characterise it. As this research shows boosting living standards is not just about ensuring lower income New Zealanders have more to spend. For example, the report shows that further investments to make work pay is a more effective way to close the poverty gap than some other options.

“This research is now being used to refine the government’s reform of the benefit system and the implementation of the Agenda for Children. The Living Standards Research Programme will continue next year,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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