Benefit numbers decline in February

Press Release – New Zealand Government

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the number of people on benefits fell by more than 21,000 in the last month.Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development

Minister of Youth Affairs

9 March 2012 Media Statement

Benefit numbers decline in February

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the number of people on benefits fell by more than 21,000 in the last month.

“February saw 5,651 fewer people on Unemployment Benefits, which is a 9 percent drop,” says Ms Bennett.

There are now 56,471 people on the Unemployment Benefit and a total of 329,649 people on all benefits.

“I am particularly pleased to see nearly 3,000 fewer young people on Unemployment Benefits in February, though we still have a long way to go.”

There are now 16,400 young people on Unemployment Benefits

Many beneficiaries are showing real determination to get work, with 7,700 going off benefit into jobs last month, 2,500 of who were young people.

The number of people on the DPB rose slightly last month to 99,643 due to an increase in those caring for the sick and infirm on this benefit.

Through Future Focus, the new part time work expectation for people on DPB with children six years and older, has seen an extra 2,300 working part time. Prior to Future Focus there was no work expectation till children turned 18.

“But clearly the first stage of welfare reform to be introduced this month is needed to address the wider issue of long term dependence.

Stage one of the welfare reforms includes changes that will see those on the DPB with children over 5 expected to be available for part time work and those with children over 14 to be available for full time work.

“We will be providing more support and putting more value on this group of sole parents to move into work, which is the best outcome for their children.”

Note: when welfare changes come into effect later this year, reporting on benefit numbers will change. This will be clearly signalled in advance.

ENDS

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