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Teenage Benefits Passport To Long-Term Dependency

Teenage Benefits Passport To Long-Term Dependency

Friday, December 8, 2006

At least 37,600 or 37 percent of current domestic purpose beneficiaries first received a benefit as a teenager.

In 1999 the equivalent figures were 17,723 or 16 percent.

Welfare commentator, Lindsay Mitchell said, " Because the Ministry of Social Development can only supply data from January 1993 the actual numbers are likely to be much higher. But the significant increase between 1999 and the present shows clearly that people starting on benefits as teenagers are very likely to stay on welfare long-term."

"Additionally, many of these parents did not start their benefit careers on the DPB. Most started on the unemployment benefit."

Across all benefits there are currently 39, 259 single parents with dependent children who first received welfare as a teenager. 53 percent are Maori, 34 percent NZ European and 9 percent are Pacific Islanders. 6 percent are male.

"Having children as an alternative to completing an education or finding a job should not be financially feasible. It is time for the government to look at closing this gateway to dependency and poverty."

ENDS

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