“The number of beneficiaries continues to grow under Labour’s soft on welfare approach”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

Almost 25,000 more New Zealanders are on a main benefit as compared with two years ago. That’s almost entirely due to more people being on the unemployment benefit.

“Labour’s policies are contributing to rising welfare numbers.

“Significant increases in the minimum wage over the past three years mean about 17,500 fewer people are not in work, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

“Labour’s also taking a soft line on welfare.

“The difference between the number of benefits being granted and cancelled has widened to the point that several thousand more benefits are being granted than cancelled each year. That’s in part due to the fact that fewer staff at MSD are helping move beneficiaries back into work.

“This is despite the fact that employers in some industries are desperate for workers.

“If 25,000 more people on welfare is Labour’s idea of a good economy, we’d hate to see what a downturn looks like.

“Labour must take a stronger line on welfare. If beneficiaries can work, they should work. People must not be allowed to remain on the welfare scrap heap.

“ACT understands that work is critical if New Zealanders are to live independent and meaningful lives.

“Welfare must be a hand up, not a handout.”