September 13, 2018
Benefit number obsession counterproductive
New research has challenged the previous government’s benefit reforms and pointed the way for a changed approach to dealing with the unemployed.
A report released this week by Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni found almost half those people the people who left the benefit system following the 2012/2013 welfare reforms were back on the benefit within 18 month.
Some of the worst affected were Māori men under 30 and those in areas with a high concentration of seasonal work.
Ms Sepuloni says rather than push people off benefits into any job, the focus needs to be on people’s well-being and sustainable, meaningful employment as part of that.
"We know that when the jobs are available, people work and so the unemployment rate goes down when the labour market is performing well but we want to make sure people aren't susceptible to these times when they go back onto a benefit so we do need to be more sophisticated in our approach," she says.
That means a greater level of focus on training and upskilling as well as investment in the regions to increase opportunities in the labour market.
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