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One in Five Babies Born 2012 on Welfare by Year-End

Media Release

One in Five Babies Born 2012 on Welfare by Year-End

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Data released under the Official Information Act shows that 21.2 percent of babies born in 2012 were dependent on a caregiver receiving a welfare benefit by the end of the same year.

Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell said that, "Over one in five babies reliant on welfare by year-end is a sobering and sad statistic. But it's worse for Maori at over 1 in 3 or 35.9 percent."

"There is now an established pattern of childbearing involving birth onto an existing benefit or recourse to welfare soon after. This occurs during good and bad economic periods. For instance, in 2007, when New Zealand briefly experienced the lowest unemployment rate in the OECD, the percentage only reduced to 19.1%"

"In general, the younger that children go on welfare, the longer they will stay in the benefit system. This leads to chronic child poverty and the many associated risks."

"Current and forthcoming welfare reforms are aimed at reducing this incidence but the answer remains largely with young females who need to be persuaded to gain educational qualifications, work skills and a committed partner before embarking on motherhood. "
ends

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