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Aim for consensus on welfare reform

Aim for consensus on welfare reform

Wide feedback from the community could help get consensus on welfare reform, says BusinessNZ.

Commenting on the Welfare Working Group’s paper Reducing Long-Term Benefit Dependency, BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said the Working Group had generated a wide range of options for change, and it was now up to the community to make their preferences clear.

“The Working Group’s first consultation confirmed that the current benefit system is leading to poor outcomes for beneficiaries, their families and the wider community.

“Getting some consensus on how it can be reformed would help set community-wide expectations and re-establish an ethos that paid work is the norm.

“Most would agree that the benefit system should actively help people into work rather than simply make a basic payment of income, and that thought should be given to improved incentives for people to enter and remain in work.

“The business community will want to respond to options for better engagement with employers and for strategies for lifting the level of relevant skills.”

Mr O’Reilly said it would also be appropriate for the Working Group to consider options for improvement to the Working for Families system as well as looking at opportunities to integrate with other related issues such as ACC’s vocational rehabilitation policies.

ENDS

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