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Dramatic drop in benefits over last year

Hon Paula Bennett

Minister for Social Development

17 October 2013 Media Statement        

Dramatic drop in benefits over last year

The number of people on benefits in New Zealand has fallen consistently for three quarters says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

Today’s data release shows benefits fell to 304,394 in the September quarter.

“A year ago there were almost 321,000 New Zealanders on benefits; that fell by 16,548 since September 2012, and by 5,388 in just the last quarter.”

The number of people on Sole Parent Support fell by more than 3,000 in the last quarter and there are at least 2,000 fewer people on Jobseeker Support.

Since the Sole Parent Support benefit was introduced in July 15, more than 3,200 sole parents have cancelled it for work, others have left for different reasons and another 5,000 came onto this benefit in the same period.

Mrs Bennett says the new, transparent, approach to the welfare system reveals sole parents spend 15.8 years on average on welfare and the total lifetime liability for sole parents is $21 billion, or $234,000 per person.

“This is why we’ve prioritised this group for assistance, particularly teen parents who are most at risk of getting trapped on welfare,” says Mrs Bennett.

“Teen parents on benefit are required to be in education so they can be better prepared for work, as well as undertaking parenting and budgeting programmes, all of which helps them to become independent.”

Since July, more than 10,000 Jobseeker benefits have been cancelled because people found work and on average, around 1,500 benefits are cancelled every week, because people go off benefit, into work. 

The next quarterly release will be 17 January. Full benefit data available at: www.msd.govt.nz

ENDS

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