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$790m Child Hardship package comes into effect

Hon Anne Tolley

Minister for Social Development

31 March 2016

$790m Child Hardship package comes into effect


Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the $790 million Child Hardship package announced as part of Budget 2015 comes into effect tomorrow which includes the first real rise in benefits in 43 years.

“A rise in benefit rates for those with dependent children by $25 a week after tax will make a significant difference for those children in severe hardship,” Mrs Tolley says.

The Budget 2015 Child Hardship package includes:

· A $25 a week increase in benefit rates for those with dependent children

· A $24.50 a week increase in Working for Families rates for very low income working families

· An increase of up to $12.50 in Working for Families rates for low income working families

· An increase in Childcare Assistance from $4 to $5 an hour


“This package will benefit around half a million New Zealand children,” Mrs Tolley says.

“To balance this additional support, Sole Parent Support recipients and partners of beneficiaries will need to look for part-time work when their youngest child turns 3, instead of 5, and will need to reapply for their benefit every 52 weeks, as Jobseekers currently do.

“Following a funding boost in Budget 2015 MSD also provided an additional 40,000 places in work-focused case management, meaning all Sole Parent Support recipients are able to access the intensive, individual support.

“In the last five years the number of people receiving Sole Parent Support has fallen by more than 23 per cent, and the number of sole parents with a dependent child under the age of 5 has fallen by around 20 per cent.

“We believe the best way out of poverty is through work, which is why we are also changing the definition of part-time work for sole parents to 20 hours a week.

“We know that nine out of ten beneficiary families are sole parent families, and on average they spend 14.5 years on welfare. The changes to obligations and Childcare Assistance will support them to find and stay in work so they and their children can thrive.

“This package is focused on raising the incomes of those in the most severe material hardship and supporting low income families to be independent.”

ends

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