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Number of beneficiaries continues to tumble

7 May 2006 Media Statement
Number of beneficiaries continues to tumble under Labour

20% fewer children now living in benefit dependant households

In the year to March 2006 the total number of beneficiaries in New Zealand fell by a further 8,374 or 2.9 percent, Social Development and Employment Minister David Benson-Pope confirmed today.

As at the end of March 2006 there were 283,584 working age New Zealanders receiving a benefit, down from 291,958 a year ago, and down from 401,415 under the National government in 1999.

This means, as at the end of March there were 117,831 fewer working age New Zealanders receiving a benefit than when Labour took office in 1999 – a drop in the number of beneficiaries of 29.4 percent under Labour.

"Our on-going reform of the social support system is actively helping more people into work," said Mr Benson-Pope. "We think all New Zealanders should have the opportunity to have quality jobs that contribute to New Zealand's economic growth and that provide stability and security for themselves and their families.

"Under Labour over 117,000 fewer people are reliant on a benefit today than when we took office, a drop in the number of beneficiaries of nearly 30 percent.

"This in turn has seen a 20 percent reduction in the number of children living in benefit dependant households – that’s 56,600 children.

"The government believes that ultimately work is the best way out of poverty, and provides the best social and economic outcomes for families in the long run.

"Further reforms of the social support system have already been announced and are on schedule. We are refocusing the policies and services to improve the work focus and updating the system to reflect modern circumstances.

"This is part of an integrated package across the whole of government to advance the economic transformation we must have to power this economy," said Mr Benson-Pope.

ENDS

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