The number of New Zealanders on welfare continues to swell under the Labour Government with one in ten working-age people on a main benefit, says ACT Leader David Seymour.
11,000 additional people were on the unemployment benefit in December 2018 as compared with 12 months earlier, and the number of working-age people receiving a main benefit was almost 300,000.
“New Zealand will never have a world-class economy when so many people are dependent on handouts.
“Welfare rolls are growing despite some industries – healthcare, horticulture and construction in particular – being desperate for workers.
“Shane Jones’ pie in the sky plan for one billion trees now seems utterly utopian with so many workers on a benefit.
“Despite Labour’s plan for higher taxes and more red tape, the economy continues to create jobs.
“But large increases in the minimum wage mean some employers can’t take new workers on, and fewer unemployment benefit cancellations mean fewer people available for work.
“The Green Party’s welfare review is likely to see benefit numbers grow even further. The Government will endorse higher benefit levels and fewer sanctions, meaning fewer people will have an incentive to move off benefits and into work.
“It is unacceptable that over 300,000 working-age New Zealanders are on a benefit. If people can work, they should.
“We should be seeking to alleviate genuine hardship, but the Government’s policies will see many more New Zealanders dependent on the state, rather than living productive, independent lives.”