Government focused on getting people into work

  • Hon Louise Upston

Benefit figures released today underscore the importance of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and have 50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker Support, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says.

“Benefit numbers are still significantly higher than when National was last in government, when there was about 70,000 fewer people on Jobseeker Support.

“The 187,986 people receiving a Jobseeker benefit is roughly the equivalent of Hamilton’s population, which speaks to the scale of economic damage and welfare dependency that the coalition Government inherited.

“The proportion of New Zealand’s working-age population who are receiving Jobseeker Support also now sits at 5.9 per cent, up from 4 per cent six years ago.

“The number of sanctions increased by about 20 per cent compared to the first three months of last year, and while we would rather see beneficiaries with work obligations comply with these to avoid being sanctioned, it’s good to see MSD utilising all the tools at its disposal to incentivise people into work.

“Rebuilding the economy is one of this Government’s key priorities, along with restoring law and order and delivering better public services, which is why we’ve set a target to have 50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker Support benefits by 2030.

“Our plan to deliver on this began with setting out our expectations around the use of benefit sanctions and MSD beginning work check-ins for job seekers after six months. We are also working on mandatory reapplication for Jobseeker benefits every six months, community-provided job coaching, new non-financial sanctions, and a traffic light system to help job seekers comply with their work obligations.

“We’re a Government that’s focused on helping more Kiwis into work and giving them greater opportunities to make the most of themselves.”

Benefit statistics for the March 2024 quarter can be found here

/Public Release. View in full here.