“Today’s quarterly benefit numbers show Labour is slowing down our economy by entrenching New Zealanders into the welfare system,” says ACT’s Welfare spokesperson Karen Chhour.

“The amount of beneficiaries transitioning off the benefit and into work has decreased by 4.1 per cent over the last year. Benefits should be a way of helping people find their way and get back into work, but Labour is making them a way of life instead.

“The number of people on a main benefit is now 348,339, up 70,101 since 2017.

“Tens of thousands more Kiwis are at the mercy of handouts and Labour has incentivised them. They have pumped up the amount of benefits but haven’t imposed obligations on recipients or tried to grow the economy with the same verve.

“177,642 New Zealanders are on Jobseeker Support, with 106,000 of them classified as work-ready when businesses are crying out for labour. There should be no excuse for them to turn down suitable work.

“A culture of victimhood is perpetuating Labour’s welfare approach rather than the belief that people can make a difference in their own lives.

“The real tragedy is that Labour’s low expectations for beneficiaries is preventing them from creating a better life for themselves and their families.

“Instead of seeing benefits as the solution, Labour needs to get to the root of poverty by growing the economy and fixing our education system.

“Welfare is about helping people get back on their feet, it’s not a lifestyle choice.”

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