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Auckland Defies DPB Drop

Auckland Defies DPB Drop

February 2, 2006

December 2005 figures released by the Ministry of Social Development today, show an overdue but welcome drop in DPB numbers.

According to Lindsay Mitchell, petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB, "The strong labour market is at last having a positive effect on the number of people receiving the DPB."

"Looking at the change over five years, the South Island has seen significant improvement and central regions, moderate. However, Waikato and Northland are virtually static and Auckland numbers continue to rise."

With a nation-wide total of 106,302 people still relying on the DPB there is a long way to go. "While it is good to see the overall numbers heading in the right direction it isn't surprising that motivated people have been able to take advantage of current work opportunities."

"The lack of progress in Auckland is, however, a worry. One, because Auckland is our largest population centre and two, because unemployment has dropped there, considerably. The continued (but slowed) growth in DPB numbers probably reflects a higher proportion of Maori and Pacific people, who tend to have lower educational qualifications, fewer workplace skills and larger families."

"Unless we tackle the problem of the DPB as an alternate lifestyle, there will always be a limit on how much beneficial effect we can expect from the labour market."

"Around four in ten DPB recipients started on welfare under twenty. Preventing more young people entering the benefit system is as important as trying to get them out of it. "

ENDS

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