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83,000 fewer New Zealanders on benefits

Hon David Benson-Pope, MP
Minister for Social Development and Employment
Member of Parliament for Dunedin South

26 October 2005 Media Statement

83,000 fewer New Zealanders on benefits

Quarterly benefit figures released

The number of working aged New Zealanders on benefits dropped by 16,000 or five percent over the last year Social Development and Employment Minister David Benson-Pope announced today.

The number of people receiving income tested benefits fell from 308,000 in September 2004 to 292,000 to the end of September 2005.

Mr Benson-Pope says latest figures show that in total there are 83,000 (22 percent) fewer people on benefits than in 1999 when 375,000 people received benefits compared to 292,000 at the end of September this year.

"Helping New Zealanders into work has been one of this government's greatest achievements," said Mr Benson-Pope. "Our focus will continue to be to help people move from benefits into work."

Highlights include:

- Over the year to September 2005 the number of people receiving of an Unemployment Benefit fell by 15,611, or 24 percent

- There are 98,602 fewer New Zealanders receiving the Unemployment Benefit than there were in 1999

- The number of people on the Domestic Purposes Benefit dropped by 3,329 in the year ended September 2005

- The growth rate for Sickness Benefit numbers has fallen from 8 percent in the year to September 2004 to 4 per cent in the year to September 2005

"We continue to see steep decreases in the number of people receiving Unemployment Benefits, while our aging population and the increasing movement of people with disabilities into the community has contributed to a small rise in the number of people receiving Sickness and Invalid's Benefits in the last year," said Mr Benson-Pope.

"Overall, the picture is one of far fewer New Zealanders being reliant on benefits. This is a significant change for these people at the personal level and remains an important change for our country as a whole," said Mr Benson-Pope.

A full summary of the latest statistical information can be found on the Ministry for Social Development website at:
http://www.msd.govt.nz/media-information/benefit-fact-sheets/index.html

ENDS

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