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NZ Fails Where US Succeeds

NZ Fails Where US Succeeds

Thursday, August 17, 2006

This month the US celebrates ten years of welfare reform.

Lindsay Mitchell, welfare commentator said, "They are celebrating because each of the aims of reform has been realised. Child poverty has fallen, employment has increased and the rate of out-of-wedlock child-bearing has been arrested."

"In particular the decline in dependence has been strong in the group with the greatest tendency to stay on benefits the longest - young uneducated single mothers."

"The Heritage Foundation has shown that during the late 1990s employment of never-married mothers increased by nearly 50 percent, of single mothers who are high school drop-outs by 66 percent, and of young single mothers (ages 18 to 24) by nearly 100 percent."

"Meanwhile New Zealand has had very little success in persuading women off the DPB. In the five years to June 2006 the total number dropped by only 5 percent. At this rate it will take another 93 years to get back to where we were when the DPB emergency benefit was transformed into a statutory entitlement in 1973."

"Sadly the percentage of 18 and 19 year-olds has risen which indicates that the overall number will not continue to drop as these teenagers typically stay on welfare the longest."

"The percentage of recipients who have a current earnings certificate has also dropped indicating fewer are working part-time."

"It is terribly depressing that New Zealand has neither the political will nor energy to emulate the US reforms. The government can see what needs to be done but simply refuses to act. I hope that this isn't merely anti-Americanism at work. The cost of Labour's failure to deal with the social disintegration that so often comes with long-term reliance on welfare is not worth paying."

ENDS

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