The December quarter benefit numbers released today show the Government’s plan to get people off the benefit and into work is starting to pay off, says social development minister Carmel Sepuloni says.
“Nearly 19,000 people cancelled their benefit and went into work in the last few months of the year – that’s about the population of Levin – and is the second quarter in a row that the number of people coming off the benefit and into work has increased, year on year.
“The government is making progress on ensuring that everyone who is able to is earning, learning, caring or volunteering.
“In last year’s budget, we invested in 263 case managers at MSD to focus specifically on getting people into work.
“Between July and November last year, MSD recruited 170 of those and 93 more will be recruited this year to ensure more people are upskilled and trained and helped into work. Further work opportunities will stem from the government’s $12bn infrastructure package to future-proof our economy.
“From July to December 2019, 36,131 people have cancelled their benefit to go into work.
“The number of people on a main benefit is 314,408 which is 10.5 per cent of the working age population remaining lower than the 11.2 per cent on a main benefit under National five years ago.
Special needs grants which include emergency housing needs grants have increased year on year, with the cost of housing as the main driver of the increase.
“As Minister of Social Development I want to ensure that people are able to access their full and correct entitlements and that’s what you’re seeing here. We are stabilising people’s situations, putting a roof over their heads, meeting their immediate needs so they can focus on getting into work.
“At any given time, we have many families, often with high needs and complex situations that are waiting for public housing. This is why the Government has already delivered 3,830 public housing places with another 1800 places under construction this financial year.
“The Government is committed to helping people to find meaningful and sustainable work while ensuring the welfare system is fairer and more accessible for all New Zealanders. While there’s more to do, we are on the right track,” says Carmel.