“Thousands more New Zealanders are now dependent on handouts as Labour’s anti-growth policies start to bite, according ACT Leader David Seymour.

An additional 13,063 people were on a main benefit in March as compared with 12 months earlier. That’s an increase of almost five per cent to 286,450 in just a year.

The number of New Zealanders receiving Jobseeker Support increased by 10.9 per cent to 131,720 over the same period.

“It’s a real tragedy that almost one in ten working-age New Zealanders is on a main benefit.

“Large increases in the minimum wage, the prospect of industry-wide centralised bargaining, and 17 months of uncertainty over a capital gains tax have taken their toll on the New Zealand economy.

“The Green Party’s review of the welfare system could see the Government endorse higher benefit levels and fewer sanctions, meaning beneficiaries have even less incentive to move into work.

“It’s unacceptable that so many New Zealanders are on a benefit. If people can work, they should.

“We should alleviate genuine hardship, but avoid dependency. Labour’s anti-growth policies are creating a new generation of people dependent on handouts and not living productive, independent lives.

“ACT’s pro-growth policies, if implemented, would deliver higher productivity, income and job growth. Low, flat taxes achieved by reducing wasteful spending; tighter welfare requirements so people are encouraged into work; less red tape and smarter infrastructure funding to ensure more houses are built and workers aren’t stuck in congestion; and giving parents and students educational choice that extends beyond their local state school.”