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NZ making good progress balancing work and family

Thursday 29 November 2007
Media Statement

NZ making good progress balancing work and family life

Social Development and Employment Minister Ruth Dyson has welcomed a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) about reconciling paid work and family life in New Zealand.

“The OECD Babies and Bosses report gives a good assessment of policies in New Zealand, and we compare well with many other countries,” said Ruth Dyson.

“In particular the number of women in the New Zealand work force and New Zealand’s birth rate is well above the OECD average.

“The OECD has also endorsed the Labour-led government’s Working for Families package in helping reduce the number of sole parents receiving the Domestic Purpose Benefit (DPB).”

Research shows that most sole parents want paid work and, with the right support, they can. Working New Zealand reforms and the Working for Families package is providing sole parents with the right services and financial support to either take up employment or ready themselves to return to paid work.

“New Zealand’s approach is to work together with sole parents to support them in finding sustainable employment and this has proved effective without having to use work testing.

“In the period over which Working for Families has been implemented, we have seen the largest fall in numbers receiving DPB. Between August 2004 and August 2007, the numbers fell from 109,700 to 97,200; a reduction of 12,500 or 11.4 per cent.”

The report makes several recommendations for improving the approach to sole parent employment rates and increasing the availability of childcare and out of school care provision.

“This has already begun in New Zealand. A 5-year action plan for out of school services has been approved and $17.4 million has been set aside for out of school services initiatives over the next 5 years.”

“This is a useful report from OECD, which confirms that we are on the right track with family work life balance in New Zealand,” said Ruth Dyson.

ENDS

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