Oral Questions July 22 - PQ 5 Transcript
5. Welfare Reforms—Reports
5. ALFRED NGARO (National) to the Minister for Social Development : What reports has she received about the progress of the Government’s welfare reforms?
Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Development): I have seen reports where over the last 2 years we have nearly 30,000 fewer children living in welfare-dependent homes. We are making great progress getting people off welfare and into work, with over 1,500 going into work each week. Overall, the number of people on a benefit has fallen by more than 16,000 over the last year. The number of people on a benefit peaked in December 2010 after the global financial crisis. There are now nearly 60,000 fewer people on a benefit than then, and sole parents continue to lead the way, with a significant 10.7 percent drop over the last year alone.
Alfred Ngaro : What progress has been made towards reaching the Better Public Services target of significantly reducing long-term benefit dependency?
Hon PAULA BENNETT : I am very pleased that we are on track to achieve a 30 percent reduction in the number of people who have been continuously receiving working-age job seeker support benefits for more than 12 months. Over the year to March 2014 the number of people on job seeker support for more than 12 months dropped by 6,434 to 68,932. That is an 8.5 percent decrease.
Jacinda Ardern : How many people have been affected by her decision to no longer allow a person working 30 hours a week to have their income topped up by a main benefit, even if their wages are so low they cannot support themselves or their family?
Hon PAULA BENNETT : I do not have that exact number in front of me, but what I will say is that for anyone working more than 20 hours a week, even on the minimum wage, by the time you add in the in-work tax credit, Working for Families, and the accommodation supplement that they are likely to be eligible for, they are better off than they would have been on benefit .