The Government’s overhaul of New Zealand’s welfare system must not lessen the incentive for beneficiaries to find work or the sanctions imposed on those who try and cheat the system, National’s Social Development spokesperson Louise Upston says.
“New Zealanders are a fair minded people who want to help those who fall on hard times. But they also believe that people should help themselves and when they can work they should.
“Anyone who needs access to welfare can get it. It’s only right that they in return they meet obligations including looking for work, turning up to appointments, staying drug free and being honest about their living arrangements.
“It’s the clear expectation of tax payers that if beneficiaries are not doing that, then there should be sanctions.
“This is not ‘beneficiary bashing’. This is simply us wanting to make sure that every New Zealander is achieving their potential and that’s done by getting out of dependency.
“The Prime Minister’s promise to overhaul the welfare system, including ‘ensuring access to entitlements’, also completely disregards the incredible fact that we currently have the lowest number of sole parents on welfare since the 1980s.
“That is representative of the bold, brave moves of so many parents across New Zealand who’ve made the decision to get off a benefit and into work.
“We know getting off benefits and into work improved the lives of parents, and their children.
“And the work is there. We have 4.5 per cent unemployment and thousands of jobs being created every month. The work is there and if people can work, then you should.
“The dignity of work is beneficial for everyone,” Ms Upston says.