'We want more people in work': National Party considering fining parents of school dropouts

The National Party is understood to be considering a policy that will fine parents of high school dropouts up to $3000 if their child doesn't enter work, education or training - its sights set on gangs and beneficiaries. 

Newshub understands the new social development policy pitch could also force gang members to prove they don't have illegal income before getting a benefit.

"It's not beyond the realm of possibility that this is the type of thing we think about. We hate gangs. We think they provide misery and a whole lot of bad social impacts," says National Leader Simon Bridges. 

Ninety percent of gang members have been on a benefit for an average of nine years, according to research from the Ministry of Social Development.

However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern believes that checks on illegal income - including the illegal income of gang members - already exist.

"Work and Income already look at income before making decisions around benefits... they do need to make sure someone has [a] legitimate need," says Ardern.

Bridges is also desperate to see school leavers in work, education or training. 

"The reality is if you're not [in work, education or training], you're going to be languishing in a dole queue... and the evidence is potentially for a long time," says Bridges.

Newshub understands the party is considering fining the parents of early school leavers up to $3000 - if their child doesn't enter work, training or further education. 

"Beneficiaries have rights, but there are also responsibilities... we want to see more people in work," says Bridges.

This is traditional territory for the National Party. It will be popular with much of its base and could even eat into some of the support for New Zealand First.

However, these are just floated ideas - the National Party will likely gauge public opinion and test the waters before releasing the policy discussion documents later this year.