Government spent almost $100k advertising jobs for private companies despite backlog of beneficiaries on books

The Government's spent almost $100,000 advertising jobs for private companies despite having tens of thousands of 'work-ready' beneficiaries on its books.

The ACT Party's calling it a waste of cash but the minister in charge says the initiative was a success and vital to keeping Kiwis fed. 

Earlier this year the New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers organisation put the call out for workers, trying to sweeten up to Kiwis.

Their advert was run on the Ministry of Social Development's (MSD's) Facebook page. Taxpayers forked out for it along with several other private-sector job ads. The aim was to make sure essential supply chain businesses had workers during our peak Omicron outbreak.

"I don't see that as private sector advertising, I see that as supporting business to get the workers they need," Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni said.

But it's got the ACT Party up in arms.

"I just think the public is owed an explanation," said ACT's social development spokesperson Karen Chhour.

In total MSD's spent $93,000 on the ads. ACT wants to know why it didn't turn to the more than 100,000 work-ready beneficiaries on its Work and Income books.

"It's MSD's job to find jobs for people that are on welfare. Everybody else is not MSD's problem," said Chhour.

The latest figures show around 350,000 working-age Kiwis receive a main benefit and a third of those are on the work-ready job seeker support package. The minister in charge said they were emailed about the positions advertised.

"Sometimes it might be that they don't have the skills to match the jobs that are available, sometimes their personal circumstances mean they can't work the hours," Sepuloni said.

She's backing the bankrolling, and said she thinks it was "absolutely justified".

"Can they guarantee that people that weren't on welfare, didn't take a job away from somebody that was on welfare?" Chhour asked.

"There are other New Zealanders unemployed as well who sometimes need some support to get into work," countered Sepuloni.

She said at the end of the day getting anyone into work is a win.