Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Growth In Sickness And Invalid Benefits

Media Release

Growth In Sickness And Invalid Benefits

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Just released Ministry of Social Development figures show a further increase in the numbers of people reliant on sickness and invalid's benefits. Totalling over 123,000 the figure is now three times the number on the unemployment benefit.

Asked by Kathryn Ryan, on yesterday's Nine to Noon show, if evidence exists that people are moving from the dole to sickness benefits, welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell confirmed there is.

"There is a constant flow between benefits. Taking this into account the net gain from the unemployment benefit to the sickness benefit over the five years to April 2005 was 20,870. Over the same period the net gain from the sickness benefit to invalid's benefit was 26,302, bearing in mind the same beneficiary may have been transferred more than once.

The pathway itself is no new thing. But a yearly breakdown reveals that since 1999 the net gain from the unemployment benefit to the sickness benefit has increased steadily and significantly each year, decreasing slightly in 2005.

The increasing duration of stay on these benefits is also contributing to their growth. For instance in 1990 seventy one percent stayed on a sickness benefit for less than one year. Today that has dropped to 47 percent.

Other contributors to the growth are increasing rates of psychiatric and psychological illness (including stress and depression), de- institutionalisation, change in family structure and change in eligibility.

"The fastest growing household in New Zealand is the single household. Fewer people have partners to rely on if they fall sick or have an accident so more people rely on the state. And before the seventies, when the growth began, people not of 'good moral character and sober habits' and those whose incapacity for work was self-induced, did not qualify."

The reason most commonly given for the growth is the ageing population. But given the number of sickness and invalid's benefits have increased eight-fold since the early seventies, while the most relevant demographic, the over 40s, has not even doubled, ageing isn't high on the list of factors. Also, there are 6,800 more under-40 year-olds on these benefits than five years ago.
GP, Dr Richard McGrath, also interviewed on Nine to Noon, remarked on the increasing number of young people needing to go on a sickness benefit due to drug and alcohol problems. Statistics show since 2001 there has been a 50 percent increase in people aged 19 and younger going on a sickness benefit.

A Dominion Post editorial today says that most sickness and invalid benefits are legitimate. The OECD on the other hand estimated that across western countries only one third of people on disability payments were suffering disabilities severe enough to make paid work difficult or impossible.

"The problem for the government is this. When New Zealand last had unemployment as low as today, around 1986, there were 140,000 working age people on benefits. Today there are 282,000 while the population has only increased by a quarter. While they can claim success for overseeing a strong economy providing thousands of new jobs, they cannot claim success in stemming the growth of sickness and invalid benefits."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And
Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the Resource Management Act.

Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing, which happens to be another of the government’s most contentious, most ideologically-driven policy packages. Presumably, Key will be trying not to double down on the rhetoric, and thereby leave room for Labour leader Andrew Little to sound like the centrist voice of reason.

Key will have his work cut out, though. More>>

 

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Similarities Between John Key And David Cameron

For years now, David Cameron has been the closest available thing to a mentor/analogue to our Prime Minister, such that Key watchers could be interested in an analysis of Cameron that appeared in the British press over the Christmas break. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ian Fletcher Resignation & GCSB’s New Role

It may well be that after being shoulder-tapped in Queensland for the GCSB job, three years of living in Wellington has been enough for Fletcher and his family, given that the pending review of the GCSB would have required an even longer commitment from him. Three years of Wellington’s weather is enough for anyone... More>>

ALSO:

Ian Apperley: $10m Or $100m For New Wellington Council IT System?

I feel a Tui Billboard coming on. I commented the other day that it looked like the Council’s Ninth big project was a potential $100 million plus... The Mayor has responded: “I am reassured by the Chief Executive and by Anthony Wilson that the proposed budget is in the region of $10 million.” More>>

ALSO:

Southern Ocean:
Navy Intercepts Illegal Fishing Vessels

Foreign Minister Murray McCully today put illegal fishing vessels operating in the Southern Ocean on notice and vowed to take action against their owners. “As part of a multi-agency operation, the HMNZS WELLINGTON has intercepted two vessels claiming to be flagged to Equatorial Guinea, fishing illegally in the Southern Ocean.” Mr McCully says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news