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Strong Job Market Fails To Impact On DPB


November 11, 2003

While the number of officially 'unemployed' has declined, numbers on the domestic purposes benefit have not, according to Lindsay Mitchell, campaigner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB.

"People on this benefit have been unable to capitalise on job growth. While the pool of people on the DPB is not a static group and families are moving on and off it constantly, it must be a major frustration for the Minister for Social Development that a buoyant job market has made no impact on the overall numbers of single parents who continue to require income support."

"The reason for this isn't a lack of jobs but a lack of incentive to take one. When a full-time job, or combination of a part-time job topped up with income support, pays the same as the DPB, many people see no point in taking it."

"If, on the other hand, they were only entitled to a limited amount of state support over a lifetime, people would have a real incentive to become self-supporting."

"This is what happened in the United States in 1996. AFDC, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (their DPB equivalent) was replaced with TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. This had a dramatic effect."

"Today only 1.9 percent of the total US population relies on TANF. In New Zealand the equivalent figure is 7.5 percent or around 300,000 parents and children."

"Now is the time that the government should be taking advantage of the strong job market and getting single parents into the jobs that we know are there. Two thirds of the children being supported by the DPB are school age. There are parents who could be contributing to the economy and their upkeep right now."

Lindsay Mitchell

Petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB forms available at www.liberalvalues.org.nz contact dandl.mitchell@clear.net.nz

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