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Welfare Reform Proposals Do Not Go Far Enough

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The welfare reform proposals that relate to young people on benefits announced today don't go far enough, welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell said today.

"Allowing the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Development to share information about school leavers going on welfare should never have been stopped in the first place. "

"Attaching obligations and money management regimes to benefits received by 16 and 17 year-olds, and 18 year-old sole parents, is an improvement on the status quo. However, many single parents enter the benefit system older than 18 still without the maturity or wherewithal to raise a child. Which begs the question, why draw an arbitrary line at 18?"

"The new message being sent is, if you go on the DPB at 19 you won't get hassled. "

"Today's announcement is a good start but doesn't go nearly far enough. Not only is it vital that existing teen parents are required and supported to continue their own education or training, but that more potential sole parents are discouraged from choosing or defaulting to the benefit lifestyle."

"Strict time limits across all ages would act as such a deterrent."

"If the government is serious about reducing New Zealand's very high teenage birthrate and the associated deprivation, it should promise an end to 16-17 year-old eligibility, and time limits - with some exemptions - extended to all others."

Lindsay Mitchell
Welfare Commentator

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