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National identifies stress 'hotspots'

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman
19 March 2005

National identifies stress 'hotspots'

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins says official figures have identified the welfare system's stress "hotspots".

"Waitemata boasts the largest number of people collecting a non-work tested stress benefit," says Ms Collins.

"There are 1,481* people collecting a stress benefit in Waitemata. The region with the second highest number is Canterbury on 1,160*."

Ms Collins says that when the numbers are broken down as a percentage of the total number of sickness beneficiaries, Nelson surprisingly emerges as the stress capital.

"15.6% of working age people receiving a sickness benefit in Nelson are on that benefit because of stress."

Using the same calculations, Manukau ends up having the least stressed beneficiaries, "even though it's just down the road from Waitemata".

According to the figures there are 7,468* beneficiaries collecting a stress benefit.

"National believes there needs to be a more consistent approach to the application of the non-work tested sickness and invalid benefits. We simply should not continue to accept failure by encouraging so many people to opt out of the workforce indefinitely because of stress. Common sense tells us that being out of work and on a benefit is likely to add stress rather than to take it away.

"Yes, there will always be those who can never work because of sickness or injury, but let's not give up on those who are able to help themselves," says Ms Collins.

Ends

*Reporters note: Figures represent total number of beneficiaries receiving sickness and invalids benefits due to stress.

Attached: Parliamentary Questions 01571, 01576 & 00722 - 3 pages.

Parliamentary Question 01571

Sent: Tuesday, 14 March 2006 07:46 p.m.
To: Judith Collins
Subject: 01571 (2006) Published - Social Development & Employment -
Normal Reply

Question: How many people are currently receiving an invalid's benefit
because of stress broken down by region?

Portfolio: Social Development & Employment
Minister: Hon David Benson-Pope
Date Lodged:06/03/2006

Answer Text: Ministry officials have provided the attached table, which shows the number of working age recipients of the Invalid’s Benefit due to stress, as at the end of December 2005. This information has been broken down by region.

Attachment: 1571, 1575 table
Date Received: 14/03/2006

PQs: 1571, 1575
Number of working age recipients of the Invalid's Benefit due to stress, as
at the end of December 2005, by region
Region Number
Northland 68
Waitemata 237
Manukau 136
Waikato 230
Taranaki 62
Bay of Plenty 74
East Coast 75
Central 126
Wellington 90
Nelson 127
Canterbury 314
Southern 140
Other 6
Working age is 18-64 years only
The region 'Other' represents those service centres that do not represent a geographic location such as call centres.

Parliamentary Question 01576

Sent: Tuesday, 14 March 2006 07:46 p.m.
To: Judith Collins
Subject: 01576 (2006) Published - Social Development & Employment -
Normal Reply

Question: How many people received a sickness benefit in 2005 due to
stress; broken down by region?

Portfolio: Social Development & Employment
Minister: Hon David Benson-Pope
Date Lodged:06/03/2006

Answer Text: Ministry officials have provided the attached table, which shows the number of working age recipients of the Sickness Benefit due to stress, as at the end of December 2005. This information has been broken down by region.

Attachment: 1576 table.pdf
Date Received: 14/03/2006

PQ: 1576
Number of working age recipients of the Sickness Benefit due to stress, as
at the end of December 2005, by region
Region Incapacity is stress
Northland 257
Waitemata 1,244
Manukau 712
Waikato 451
Taranaki 225
Bay of Plenty 399
East Coast 283
Central 342
Wellington 387
Nelson 254
Canterbury 846
Southern 381
Other 2
Working age is 18-64 years only
SB is Sickness Benefit and Sickness Benefit Hardship
The region 'Other' represents those service centres that do not represent a geographic location such as call centres.

Parliamentary Question 00722

To: Judith Collins
Subject: 00722 (2006) Published - Social Development & Employment - Normal Reply

Question: What percentage of people currently receiving a sickness benefit
are receiving that benefit because of stress; broken down by region?

Portfolio: Social Development & Employment
Minister: Hon David Benson-Pope
Date Lodged:20/02/2006

Answer Text: Ministry officials have provided the attached table, which shows the percentage of working age recipients of Sickness Benefits due to stress, as at the end of December 2005. This information has been broken down by region.

Attachment: 0722 table v2.pdf
Date Received: 28/02/2006

0722
Proportion of working age recipients of the Sickness Benefit due to stress, as
at the end of December 2005, by region
Region Proportion
Northland 10.57%
Waitemata 15.29%
Manukau 8.92%
Waikato 13.79%
Taranaki 10.60%
Bay of Plenty 9.74%
East Coast 10.11%
Central 13.26%
Wellington 11.40%
Nelson 15.60%
Canterbury 15.55%
Southern 13.00%
Other 3.77%
Working age is 18-64 years only
SB is Sickness Benefit and Sickness Be


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