Benefit dependency crisis emerging

The removal of the subsequent child policy today demonstrates Labour has given up on supporting many New Zealand families to achieve financial independence, says National’s Social Development and Employment spokesperson Louise Upston.

“The subsequent child policy was one of many tools National introduced in 2012 to support parents of children entering the workforce.

“We know that the longer someone is without a job, the harder it is for them to re-enter the workforce.

“We have an emerging benefit dependency crisis, with more people on benefit for longer under Labour.

“While we know Labour isn’t concerned about addressing long-term benefit dependence, it might have considered the long term impacts on children before rushing through the change. 

“Children who grow up in benefit-dependent homes have a greater risk of growing up in poverty and have poorer life outcomes.

“Under this Government, despite the rhetoric, child poverty has gotten worse. In 2017, Jacinda Ardern promised 100,000 fewer children would live in households earning less than 50 per cent of the median income in 2017.

“By this measure, 1500 more children are now living in poverty.

“The Labour policy will mean parents without work will get less employment support and it will be harder for them to reconnect to work.

“Even preparing a CV, upskilling or meeting prospective employers is a valuable task to undertake and important preparation for returning to work.

“Unlike Labour, National wants parents to be able to stand on their own two feet and be able to independently support themselves and their children’s aspirations. We believe work is the way to a better life.

“The Government must begin to take real steps to address worsening benefit dependency in New Zealand.”