More Kiwis languishing on benefit under Labour

This Labour Government is creating increasing dependency on the state and setting New Zealanders up for long-term welfare reliance and a poorer quality of life, National’s Social Development and Employment spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“At estimates, I asked Minister Sepuloni how the Government’s employment programmes helped long-term Jobseeker recipients. She had no answer.

“Instead the Minister said it was better to stop people from moving onto benefit. While I agree, there are thousands more Kiwis languishing on Jobseeker who desperately need help right now and a Government that prioritises jobs.  

“Labour seems unable to understand that Government benefits should be a safety net and a leg up so that those who are doing it tough are supported back onto their own two feet.

“The data shows that this Government is leaving New Zealanders to sit on Jobseeker for longer with an increase of 26,326 more people on Jobseeker Support for more than 2 consecutive years between 2017 and 2021. In March 2017 there were 10,311 people who had been on Jobseeker for more than ten years, now there are 14,133.

“It is cruel to create these situations of total dependence on the Government which enables no upward mobilisation and little aspiration for a better life. Every Kiwi should have the opportunity to work hard for fair reward and be in control of their life.

“It is well known that those dependent on benefits long-term generally also have poorer health and quality of life outcomes. This isn’t about ‘benefit bashing’ this is about wanting a better quality of life for all New Zealanders.

“National believes ambitious projects that create jobs and provide education opportunities should be prioritised. If the Government continues to fail to deliver on its jobs plan they will continue to fail the most at risk New Zealanders.”