Australia's work for the dole scheme's 2 percent success rate

Australia's Work for the Dole scheme increased the chances of an unemployed person finding a job by just 2 percent, according to an Australian review published in early 2016.

New Zealand First Minister Shane Jones said recently he will push Government for a Work for the Dole-type scheme in an attempt to get more young benefiaries in to work.

The coalition agreement with Labour promises NZ First "programmes for long-term unemployed to improve work readiness such as 'Ready for Work."

There is little detail regarding what the scheme might look like in New Zealand, but Mr Jones told Q+A on Sunday he will take four proposals to Cabinet before Christmas.

"I'm calling it Work for the Dole. It may be the Work Readiness kaupapa, but I am not going to remain silent any longer while my young ne'er-do-well nephews in Kaikohe and other places fall victims to the gangs," he said.

But the Government would be wise to tread with caution if they are looking to replicate something similar to the Australians.

A 90-page review commissioned by the Australian government estimated "that in the short-term [work for the dole] resulted in an additional 2 percentage point increase in the probability of job seekers having a job placement."

"Furthermore, moving off income support increased by an additional 2 percentage points, compared to what would occur in the absence of [work for the dole] (from a baseline of 13 per cent)," the research found.

Despite the low rate of improved employment outcomes, 69 percent of participants said their confidence improved, while 72 percent said their ability to work improved.

Community groups in Australia have complained programme participants are made to do pointless tasks.

The Australian Council of Social Service told The Guardian, "It is designed to keep people busy on often meaningless activities, and that's what the providers are paid for."

Participants who fail to meet Australia's Work for the Dole requirements face financial sanctions. That's likely to be the case for any scheme that rolls out here too, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying existing sanctions will remain.

"My view is that that sanction regime provides us the opportunity to achieve the outcomes we want," she said on Monday.

In Australia, participants are required to take part in the scheme for six months of the year. For those aged under 30, required hours are 25 per week. They receive an extra $20.80 a fortnight for expenses such as transport.

Ms Ardern would prefer participants to be paid minimum wage - $15.75 an hour. That would be $393 for a 25-hour week. 

Opposition leader Bill English says any such scheme will be a challenge.

"This group of young people - they don't just turn up because you asked them to," he told The AM Show.

"These are often young people with quite complicated lives. They need quite a lot of support, but they need some carrot and stick. The Prime Minister doesn't seem to have much of a sense of reality about it," he said.