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DPB figures drop sharply

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for Social Development and Employment 16 April 2008 Media Statement

DPB figures drop sharply

The number of New Zealanders receiving the Domestic Purposes Benefit has fallen by nearly 13,000 since the introduction of Working for Families in 2004, Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson told Parliament today.

“That is the largest fall in the numbers receiving the DPB since it was introduced in 1973. It is a stark contrast to the rising numbers on the DPB seen under National in the 1990s,” said Ms Dyson.

Ministry figures show the number of DPB recipients rose dramatically after 1990, reaching more than 115,000 in 1998. The trend reversed after the Labour-led Government took office in 1999, and saw an especially sharp drop after the first Working for Families changes were introduced in October 2004.

“According to the Ministry of Social Development, since 2004, there has been an increase in the numbers of DPB recipients stating employment as a reason for exiting benefit and both the Census and the Household Labour Force Survey have shown employment rates of sole mothers are increasing.

“This is a clear indication of the positive impact that the Working for Families package is having in our communities, reinforcing other government policies to enable people to join the paid workforce.

“The fall in the number of DPB recipients is part of a significant trend that has seen a 36 percent drop across all the main benefits combined since 1999.” said Ms Dyson.

Examples of how Working for Families is working in practice:

Working for his Family

Bruce Taft’s son, Andrew, has noticed a big difference in his dad. Life is fulfilling, he’s busy and money goes further. The teenager tells his father he has never seen him so alive.

Last year Bruce gave up the Domestic Purposes Benefit, which had supported him for many years, and moved into a new career as a bus driver.

With Andrew about to turn 14, Bruce had decided it was time to get back to work. His case manager referred him to the Straight 2 Work Bus and Coach training programme being offered jointly by Work and Income and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic in Tauranga. Bruce told his case manager, “You get me on the course, I’ll get the licences, and I’m off benefit!”

With a self-confessed passion for big machines, Bruce has been working for Ritchies Coachlines since June last year. “I’m at home when I’m driving my bus, I love it!”

Working for Families assistance through Work and Income and Inland Revenue has provided additional income for the household. Although he was used to working on a tight budget when on a benefit, Bruce says the extra money is a great help.


Balancing part-time work and family life is paying off for Trish Moss, a single mother of three.

The sole charge office position with a local building inspector offers her the flexible hours needed to balance work with caring for her teenage children.

The Working for Families assistance she receives ensured it was financially worthwhile to move off the Domestic Purposes Benefit.

“I’m grateful for the help I got while on a benefit,” she says.

“It meant I could be there for my children, making sure they were safe and not getting into trouble.

“I don’t just work for the money,” she says. ”It is good to be independent and using my skills.”

However, it is the help from her Work and Income work broker that has made the difference to her life and that of her children.

She was referred to the job after coming across the vacancy on the Work and Income website. Two interviews later, she gained her reward - 20 hours a week, typing up building reports and managing general office duties.

“I enjoy the work and it hasn’t taken me too long to pick things up. I work on my own most of the time and was recently in charge while my boss was on holiday. He appreciates the work I do for him and thanks me. It is rewarding,” says Trish.

Trish’s oldest son was recently looking for a job so she advised him to go into Work and Income to get some help.

“It worked for me,” she says.


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