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National will implement policies to ensure working while on a benefit is worthwhile and implement measures to tackle welfare dependency, National’s Social Development spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“National believes the best route out of poverty is through the security of a regular pay cheque, and that social welfare should be geared towards supporting and encouraging people to move from welfare dependency into work.

“This Government’s reduction in the use of sanctions sends the wrong message, and 22,000 more people on the dole since this Government came into office is symptomatic of a government that isn’t encouraging New Zealanders to be aspirational for their own lives.

We’ll tackle dependence on welfare in three principal ways:

  • Committing to the principles of the Social Security Act about preparing for and finding work;
  • Reinstating a firm but fair sanctions regime;
  • Using a Social Investment approach to tackle individual barriers to work.

“We believe that beneficiaries who do some work shouldn’t be penalised for working more hours, so we’re supporting the rise in abatement rates to help New Zealanders on welfare take up increasing employment.

“We also want to support those who are on welfare to manage their money well. Our money management system for youth clients will support them to manage their payments, paying things like rent and power directly. This will help vulnerable young people to get their adult lives off to a good start, without falling into debt.

“National will give Kiwis pathways to independence, balancing obligations and sanctions so that New Zealanders on welfare are incentivised to improve their lives. Benefits are a vital safety net for Kiwis facing difficulty, rather than a long-term option.

“The previous National Government set measurable targets to reduce the number of Kiwis on benefits, leading to the number of working-age clients on main benefits dropping by over 40,000 between 2012 and 2017. We’ll do the same again because this approach works.

“National is aspirational for New Zealanders. We want to give New Zealanders the support they need to reach their full potential and live better lives.”

 

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