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Paula Rebstock To Chair Welfare Working Group

Paula Rebstock To Chair Welfare Working Group

The mandate and membership of the Welfare Working Group has been announced by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

“The Welfare Working Group will examine long term welfare dependence, identifying causes and solutions,” says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

The Group to be chaired by Paula Rebstock, former Commerce Commission Chair, includes a mix of expert academics, employers and community leaders.

Victoria University’s Institute of Policy Studies will host the Group in Wellington.

“With almost one-in-five children living in benefit-dependent families, breaking the cycle of welfare dependence is essential to avoiding a life of limited income and limited choices,” says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

Taxpayers currently spend $7.6 billion per annum on main benefits.

Based on past trends and current policy settings, the proportion of New Zealanders receiving long-term benefits is expected to increase unabated. The fiscal, social and economic costs of that are unsustainable.

“I have tasked the Welfare Working Group with developing a menu of practical options for creating a more sustainable and fair welfare system,” says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

The Welfare Working Group will examine
• ways to reduce benefit dependence and get better work outcomes
• how welfare should be funded, and whether there are things that can be learned from the insurance industry and ACC in terms of managing the Government’s forward liability
• how to promote opportunities and independence from benefit for disabled people and people with ill health;
• whether the structure of the benefit system and hardship assistance in particular is contributing to long-term benefit dependency.
“We’ve pulled together a diverse group which will bring an independent and fresh perspective to providing practical recommendations,” said Bennett.

Members of the Welfare Working Group include:

• Ms Paula Rebstock (Chair)
• Professor Des Gorman
• Professor Kathryn McPherson
• Associate Professor Ann Dupuis
• Ms Catherine Isaac (formerly Judd)
• Ms Sharon Wilson-Davis
• Mr Adrian Roberts
• Ms Enid Ratahi Pryor.

The Welfare Working Group will have its first meeting this month and is expected to report back to Minister Bennett by December 2010.

ENDS

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