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Sickness And Invalids Outnumber Unemployed

Judith Collins MP

National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

28 March 2005

Sickness and invalids outnumber unemployed

National’s Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins has released figures which show that, in every region except Wellington, there are now more people getting sickness and invalid benefits than there are getting the dole.

“No amount of Labour Party propaganda can disguise the fact that under Helen Clark, true unemployment is being obscured by the numbers on the sickness and invalid benefits.

“Here we have vast numbers of people collecting long-term benefits that aren’t work tested, while New Zealand businesses are facing their worst skills shortages in 30 years.

“Answers to Parliamentary questions show that in Canterbury and the West Coast, the number of sickness and invalid beneficiaries outnumber those on the unemployment benefit by three to one.

“In the Auckland, Waikato, East Coast, Central and Southern regions there are twice (or nearly twice) as many sickness and invalid beneficiaries as there are on the unemployment benefit.

“Yet in April last year, after two typically cynical pre-announcements, Labour unveiled its much-heralded sickness and invalid benefits pilot strategy.

“So why is it that by the end of January this year there were even more people on those two benefits than there were last April?

“While the pilot has had some limited success for relatively small numbers of people, Labour still refuses to accept there is any abuse of the system.

“Labour has made a lot of noise about sorting out the mess, but nothing ever happens. They bluntly refuse to talk about work testing and they’re predicting the number on welfare will rise.

“National will work to reduce the number on welfare by about a third over the next ten years.

“National will also implement a more thorough medical evaluation process for sickness and invalids’ benefits. In particular, the next National Government will work with doctors’ groups to ensure consistency in the way those applying for sickness and invalids’ benefits are evaluated,” says Ms Collins.

From December 1997 to June 1999 (under the previous Government) the number of community wage (sickness) beneficiaries was decreasing.

Ends

Attached - Region by Region Statistics (Unemployment Benefit vs. Sickness & Invalids’ Benefit) - 6 pages.

Regional Benefit Statistics

National Sickness and Invalids Beneficiaries

Between December 1999 and the end of January 2005 there has been a 39% increase in the number of people receiving the Invalids Benefit and a 38% increase in the number of people receiving the Sickness Benefit.

As at the end of January 2005, there were 120,048 people in receipt of the Sickness and Invalids Benefits.

Regional Sickness and Invalids Beneficiaries

For the purpose of recording regional benefit statistics, New Zealand is broken down into 11 regions. The Work and Income service centres that are covered by each region are set out in the Appendix. In addition, some clients, for administrative reasons, are not recorded as belonging to a geographically located service centre.

As at the end of January 2005, in every Work and Income region except for Wellington, more people were in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits than the Unemployment Benefit.

Northland

As at the end of January 2005, 1.4 times as many people were in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits as the Unemployment Benefit, or 43% more people. The numbers are:

- Sickness Benefit - 2,275

- Invalids Benefit - 3,532

- Unemployment Benefit - 4,052

Since Labour came into power, there has been a 36% increase in the number of people in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits (31 March 2000 to 31 January 2005).

Auckland Metro

As at the end of January 2005, 1.8 times as many people were in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits as the Unemployment Benefit, or 78% more people. The numbers are:

- Sickness Benefit - 15,918

- Invalids Benefit - 17,559

- Unemployment Benefit - 18,757

Since Labour came into power, there has been a 42% increase in the number of people in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits (31 March 2000 to 31 January 2005).

East Coast

As at the end of January 2005, 1.9 times as many people were in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits as the Unemployment Benefit, or 89% more people. The numbers are:

- Sickness Benefit - 2,779

- Invalids Benefit - 4,138

- Unemployment Benefit - 3,665

Since Labour came into power, there has been a 44% increase in the number of people in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits (31 March 2000 to 31 January 2005).

Central

As at the end of January 2005, 2 times as many people were in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits as the Unemployment Benefit, or 98% more people. The numbers are:

- Sickness Benefit - 2,571

- Invalids Benefit - 5,581

- Unemployment Benefit - 4,121

Since Labour came into power, there has been a 39% increase in the number of people in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits (31 March 2000 to 31 January 2005).

Bay of Plenty

As at the end of January 2005, 1.5 times as many people were in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits as the Unemployment Benefit, or 54% more people. The numbers are:

- Sickness Benefit - 4,070

- Invalids Benefit - 5,345

- Unemployment Benefit - 6,129

Since Labour came into power, there has been a 44% increase in the number of people in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits (31 March 2000 to 31 January 2005).

Waikato

As at the end of January 2005, 1.9 times as many people were in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits as the Unemployment Benefit, or 87% more people. The numbers are:

- Sickness Benefit - 3,256

- Invalids Benefit - 6,210

- Unemployment Benefit - 5,071

Since Labour came into power, there has been a 43% increase in the number of people in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits (31 March 2000 to 31 January 2005).

Taranaki-King Country-Wanganui

As at the end of January 2005, 1.3 times as many people were in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits as the Unemployment Benefit, or 31% more people. The numbers are:

- Sickness Benefit - 1,999

- Invalids Benefit - 4,483

- Unemployment Benefit - 4,958

Since Labour came into power, there has been a 38% increase in the number of people in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits (31 March 2000 to 31 January 2005).

Wellington

As at the end of January 2005, 0.9 times as many people were in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits as the Unemployment Benefit, or 7% fewer people. The numbers are:

- Sickness Benefit - 3,355

- Invalids Benefit - 5,299

- Unemployment Benefit - 9,259

Since Labour came into power, there has been a 36% increase in the number of people in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits (31 March 2000 to 31 January 2005).

Nelson-Marlborough-West Coast

As at the end of January 2005, 3 times as many people were in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits as the Unemployment Benefit, or 200% more people. The numbers are:

- Sickness Benefit - 1,617

- Invalids Benefit - 3,984

- Unemployment Benefit - 1,873

Since Labour came into power, there has been a 23% increase in the number of people in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits (31 March 2000 to 31 January 2005).

Canterbury

As at the end of January 2005, 3.3 times as many people were in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits as the Unemployment Benefit, or 234% more people. The numbers are:

- Sickness Benefit - 5,246

- Invalids Benefit - 9,820

- Unemployment Benefit - 4,507

Since Labour came into power, there has been a 33% increase in the number of people in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits (31 March 2000 to 31 January 2005).

Southern

As at the end of January 2005, 2.1 times as many people were in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits as the Unemployment Benefit, or 111% more people. The numbers are:

- Sickness Benefit - 2,849

- Invalids Benefit - 7,286

- Unemployment Benefit - 4,794

Since Labour came into power, there has been a 23% increase in the number of people in receipt of Sickness and Invalids Benefits (31 March 2000 to 31 January 2005).

Appendix - Work and Income service centres in each region

This is indicative only. Some service centres have opened/shut down during the period.

Northland

Dargaville

Kaikohe

Kaitaia

Kamo

Kawakawa

Kerkeri

Onerahi

Whangarei Central

Whangarei Super

Auckland Metro

Albany

Auckland

Avondale

Birkenhead

Browns Bay

Clendon

Glen Innes

Glenfield

Glenmall

Helensville

Highland Park

Hunters Corner

Mangere

Manukau

Manurewa

Mt Albert

Mt Eden

New Lynn

Onehunga

Orewa

Otahuhu

Otara

Panmure

Papakura

Papatoetoe

Pt Chevalier

Pukekohe

Queen Street

Queen Street Super

Surrey Crescent/Ponsonby Road

Takapuna

Three Kings

Waiheke Island

Waitakere

Waiuku

Warkworth

West Gate

Waikato

Cambridge

Dinsdale

Five Cross Roads

Glenview

Hamilton

Hamilton East

Huntly

Matamata

Morrinsville

Ngaruawahia

Paeroa

Te Awamutu

Thames

Waihi

Taranaki

Hawera

Marton

New Plymouth

Stratford

Taihape

Taumaranui

Te Kuiti

Waitara

Wanganui

Bay of Plenty

Greerton

Kawerau

Mount Maunganui

Opotiki

Rotorua

Taupo

Tauranga

Te Puke

Tokoroa

Turangi

Whakatane

East Coast

Flaxmere

Gisborne

Hastings

Hastings West

Kaiti

Napier

Napier South

Ruatoria

Taradale

Waipukurau

Wairoa

Central

Dannevirke

Feilding

Foxton

Horowhenua

Kapiti

Masterton

Otaki

Palmerston North

Palmerston North Terrace End

Wellington

Johnsonville

Kilbirnie

Lower Hutt

Naenae

Newtown

Porirua

Upper Hutt

Wainuiomata

Wellington

Wellington City

Nelson

Blenheim

Greymouth

Motueka

Nelson

Richmond

Stoke

Westport

Canterbury

Ashburton

Christchurch

Hornby

Kaiapoi

Linwood

New Brighton

Papanui

Rangiora

Riccarton

Shirley

Stanmore

Sydenham

Southern

Alexandra

Balclutha

Dunedin City

Dunedin North

Dunedin South

Dunedin Super

Gore

Invercargill

Mosgiel

Oamaru

Queenstown

Timaru

ENDS


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