Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Govt must get tough on benefit switching

Govt must get tough on benefit switching

United Future social services spokeswoman Judy Turner today called for swift action from the Government following the release of Treasury figures showing spiralling numbers of sickness and invalid beneficiaries.

"At a time when unemployment is at very low levels, we have 18 percent more people of working age on a benefit than we did in 1991 - and that was when unemployment was at its peak," Mrs Turner said.

"And with the biggest increase being in sickness and invalid benefits, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that perhaps 'lifestyle beneficiaries' are seeing the sickness benefit as an easier option when a skills shortage makes it harder to avoid work."

Treasury projections indicate that sickness and invalid benefits will rise to one-third of all benefits, she said.

Last month, Mrs Turner revealed that 13,000 people moved from the dole to the sickness benefit last year - a 13 percent increase since 2000.

"It's time this Government stopped relying on anecdotal evidence and dubious theories, and seriously addressed this issue before sickness and invalid beneficiaries reach epidemic proportions - because that is where it's headed," she said.

"One of the biggest problems is that we don't have data about the types of ailments and conditions suffered by those on a sickness benefit.

"And how many people are on such a benefit because of a drug problem?

"The New Zealand sense of fair play underpins the welfare system, but hard-working families will punish the Government if it is seen to be turning a blind eye to work-shy malingerers.

"Benefits are for those who need them, not those who want them," she said.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news