“What was once sold as a COVID-19 increase to beneficiary numbers has become the new normal,” says ACT’s Social Development spokesperson Karen Chhour.
“Here are some of the real stats that show where New Zealand is at in terms of welfare dependency:
- 58,968 more people on main benefits than pre-COVID
- 24,699 more work-ready jobseekers than pre-COVID
“Today’s quarterly benefit fact sheet also shows that benefit advances are up 12.2 per cent. That is recoverable debt that is making people worse off in the long run.
“There are 96,885 work-ready jobseeker recipients. Trade Me has almost 20,000 job listings across New Zealand, imagine how bad it is going to get as more businesses fold due to economic conditions and unemployment rises.
“Labour just doesn’t seem to want to incentivise Kiwis to work. Their culture of welfare dependency is hurting New Zealand’s productivity, with able Kiwis choosing to reside on a benefit rather than play their part in society and work.
“By doing this the Government is dancing around the real issues that the country faces.
“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.
“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 tried to grow the economy with the same verve.
“Welfare is about helping people get back on their feet, it’s not a lifestyle choice.”