National’s welfare shakeup will see 57,000 return to work
Tuesday 1 Nov 2011 6:24 p.m.
By Political Editor Duncan Garner
National has announced a major overhaul of the welfare system.
John Key says his party will slash the number of people receiving benefits if it gets back into Government and today revealed how he’ll do it.
National says 57,000 people will be put back into the workforce with this plan – either full or part time.
Meanwhile, almost everyone who wants a benefit will be tested to see if they can work for a living instead. That’s sickness, invalid and DPB recipients. If there is a job they can do, they’ll have to do it.
Mums on the DPB who get pregnant will have just one year with the new baby before work-testing rules apply to them.
Mr Key started the day in a hard hat on a worksite – but it was those who aren’t in work who needed one.
He ended the day telling beneficiaries they had to look for jobs or face losing their benefit.
“They need to be work ready,” he said.
That means the 131,000 solo parents on the DPB all face rigorous work tests.
When your child turns 14, you’ll be told to look for full-time work.
When your child turns five, you’ll be work-tested for part-time work.
If you fail to show up three times, the Government will take away 50 percent of your benefit until you meet your obligations.
But it gets tougher; have another baby while you’re on the DPB and once that child turns one, you’ll be work-tested for part-time work.
Beneficiary numbers have risen 60,000 since National took office, with 328,000 Kiwis now on benefits.
All sickness and invalids beneficiaries will be work-tested too – if they fail to meet their obligations and don’t have young children they could lose 100 percent of their benefit.
But those unable to work due to genuine illness will still get a welfare cheque.
Mr Key hopes the changes will see 57,000 beneficiaries back in the workforce. But 3 News had to ask; where are the jobs?
"We've gotta work very aggressively as a Government - if we are the Government post the election - to create jobs,” Key said.
In a strange twist, Mr Key delivered the Welfare Reforms in front of both an Australian and New Zealand flag. It was in the boardroom of a company with Aussie links and no one thought to move it.