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Benefit Dependency Rates

Benefit Dependency Rates Don't Reflect Record Low Unemployment

November 10, 2005

While the Household Labour Force Survey unemployment rate has dropped again there is a significant section of the population which remains largely unaffected.

Data obtained under the Official Information Act shows that 69 percent of one-parent families with dependent children are still on a benefit, according to Lindsay Mitchell, petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB.

"Using regional district population projections I can confirm that New Zealand's benefit dependency rate for single parents is very high, given our unemployment rate is now the lowest in the OECD."

"The highest rates are in Northland, Bay of Plenty and the East Coast where, respectively 85, 82 and 80 percent of one-parent families with dependent children live on a benefit. With the percentage of one-parent families forecast to continue to grow, these figures are deeply concerning," said Mitchell.

"It should also be acknowledged that more than twelve percent of our working-age population are on one or another income-tested benefit. Taking into account their children and partners, we have over half a million people dependent on the state. This paints quite a different picture from the official unemployment rate of 3.4 percent."

Region Single parent dependency rate

Northland 85 percent Bay of Plenty 82 Gisborne/Hawkes Bay 80 Manawatu-Wanganui 70 Auckland 68 Waikato 68 Taranaki 68 Tasman-Nelson-West Coast 65 Wellington 62 Canterbury 60 Otago-Southland 57

(At end August 2005 113,000 one-parent families with dependent children were on a benefit)


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