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Dr Muriel Newman

Labour’s Disastrous Track Record of Welfare Reform

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A critical shortage of workers in the kiwi fruit industry – while 118,755 New Zealanders are registered as unemployed – is symptomatic of a welfare system that is failing in its core purpose of ensuring able-bodied beneficiaries transition into work.

It’s also indicative of the dangerously addictive nature of welfare – which has been described as the social policy equivalent of hard drugs – by encouraging dependency and creating social dysfunction.

Our benefit system was not always as destructive as it is today. For the first thirty years New Zealand’s welfare system worked well.

Introduced by Michael Joseph Savage in 1938, state welfare supplemented the community-based charitable efforts that had traditionally assisted the needy. Right up until the sixties fewer than 15,000 people received state welfare, with under a thousand of those unemployed.

The support they received was not overly generous, but it was sufficient to tide someone over until they found a new job. And there was a strong incentive to seek employment, as they were appreciably better off in work than they were on a benefit.

As far as single mothers were concerned, time-limited social assistance was available from when she was around 8 months pregnant to the time her baby was either three months old if it was bottle-fed, or six months if it was breastfed.

Emergency assistance was also available to women whose relationships had broken down, so they had support while they regained their independence.

A well-established social contract existed between taxpayers and the government – only people ‘of good moral character and sober habits’ were entitled to welfare. That meant that anyone exhibiting indolent or destructive behaviours, such as alcoholism, drug addiction, and criminality were not eligible for taxpayer-funded benefits.

Those who were ‘undeserving’ were helped by charitable organisations, who gave them food and shelter – usually in return for work. No-one starved and there was no welfare underclass.

In the late sixties, however, amid growing concerns that the benefit system was losing relativity with rising living standards, the Holyoake Government established a Royal Commission of Inquiry to review New Zealand’s social security system. In March 1972, the Commission, under the chairmanship of Sir Thaddeus McCarthy, published its report, Social Security in New Zealand.

New Zealand’s welfare problems started when Norman Kirk’s 1972 Labour Government, decided to adopt many of the Commission’s recommendations – instead of sticking with the system that worked.

Three changes, in particular, proved disastrous for New Zealand, by giving rise to a permanent dependency culture and an emerging underclass.

Firstly, Labour replaced the needs-based, ‘good character’ requirement for state support with a ‘universal benefit’ entitlement. That forced taxpayers to fund destructive, criminal and anti-social behaviours – a situation that continues today, with most criminal gang members receiving welfare.

Secondly, by raising benefit levels to be similar to a working wage, Labour effectively undermined the value of work. This set the scene for welfare to become a lifestyle choice.

Labour’s third change, driven by the radical feminist ambition to destroy the nuclear family, was the introduction of a stand-alone Domestic Purposes Benefit for single mothers. By subsidising family breakdown and sole parenthood, the DPB not only marginalised fathers, leaving mothers struggling to raise their children on their own, but it entrenched a dependency culture that put children at serious risk of abuse and neglect.

The long term consequences of Labour’s changes were devastating. Generations of children who were raised in deprivation in families with a culture of violence, no history of work, and no interest in education, began repeating the cycle of dependency themselves.

When National was elected to Government in the early nineties, they focussed on breaking the dependency cycle, but those reforms were reversed when Labour returned to office in 1999.

After 9-years, the legacy of Helen Clark’s Labour Government was a welfare system that had become far easier to access, but far harder to leave. With only a third of all working age beneficiaries work tested, intergenerational dependency had grown to a point where, in a 2007 Colmar Brunton poll, 8 out of 10 New Zealanders said the country had a serious ‘underclass’ problem – an underclass that could only exist because Labour had failed to make the receipt of a benefit contingent on the need to look for work and take available jobs.

Estimated at around five percent of households, the underclass comprised fragmented families, who no longer held traditional values of work, study and self-improvement, but expected the government to provide for them. The destructive and antisocial behaviours of parents put their children at risk of abuse, alcohol and drug addictions, teenage pregnancy, youth suicide, educational failure, violence and crime. There was habitual financial mismanagement, whereby benefit money was used for alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and gambling, instead of for the necessities of life such as feeding the kids or paying the rent.

In response to the growing crisis, then Leader of the Opposition, John Key, stepped up with his 2007 speech A Fair Go For All: “Addressing the problems of the growing underclass involves tackling serious and interconnected issues of long-term welfare dependency, crime, illiteracy, poor parenting skills, social exclusion, malnutrition, drugs, and lost hope. I know we can do better. We have to do better. Because, left unchecked, the problems of a growing underclass affect us all.

“These are tough problems – very tough problems. But I have no intention of being a Prime Minister who tackles only the easy and convenient issues. I don’t pretend I’ve got all the solutions. But I can tell you that dealing with the problems of our growing underclass is a priority for National, both in opposition and in government.”

Once in Government, John Key made good his commitment and initiated the most significant re-alignment of welfare since the seventies. At the heart of National’s approach was the common-sense view that able-bodied people are better off in jobs than on a benefit – and that children living in working families do better than those reliant on welfare.

National believed that by investing in the long-term unemployed – to overcome their barriers to work – the dependency cycle could be broken. Whether through help with transportation, child care, job interview skills, budgeting advice, even relocation – they considered that with the right support, almost anyone is capable of work. 

The present welfare system is based on the expectation that someone receiving an unemployment benefit will take an available job – or face sanctions. If they refuse to apply for a job, or fail a pre-employment drug test, sanctions will also apply.

Teenage parents are expected to be in education or training, and their benefits are subjected to ‘Income Management’, whereby their rent, power and other essentials are paid, with only a small allowance available for personal use.

Sole parents with children aged between five and 14 are expected to actively seek part-time work of at least 20 hours a week and accept any suitable job. Those with younger children are expected to prepare for work. In light of the poor outlook for the thousands of babies born to mothers already on a benefit, Sole Parent Support was aligned to employment law, so that once her new baby is one year old, a mother is expected to resume the work requirement she had before the baby was born.

National’s objective was to encourage single parents to take jobs as the pathway to higher incomes and a better life. Accordingly, if a mother on Sole Parent Support, who receives an annual after-tax benefit of $17,368 plus a dependent child Family Tax Credit of $4,822, was to take a job for 20 hours a week, she would be appreciably better off. She would receive the guaranteed Minimum Family Tax Credit income of $26,156, the $4,822 child Family Tax Credit, and an additional $3,744 In-work Tax Credit for her child. Altogether, her annual after tax working income of $34,722, would make her 56 percent better off in employment than on a benefit.

Over the years the OECD, has been highly critical of New Zealand’s welfare system. In particular, they have identified the sole parent benefit as the primary cause of child poverty in New Zealand. They believe that successive governments have not done enough to encourage sole parents into work.

The OECD has pointed out that the assistance provided to mothers with children in most other countries is temporary and work-related. In comparison, New Zealand’s stand-alone Sole Parent Support has weaker work requirements and more generous payments, which they say encourages women with children to stay on welfare for far too long. This has resulted in New Zealand having one of the highest rates of child deprivation and sole parent dependency in the OECD.

Like previous Labour governments, the Ardern led coalition is promising welfare reform. While one would hope that they have learnt from the dreadful mistakes that their Party has made in the past, this week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, welfare analyst Lindsay Mitchell, is not very hopeful:

“The agreement between Labour and the Greens…commits the Government to overhaul the welfare system with the aim of lifting families out of poverty and ensuring that ‘everyone has a standard of living . . . that enables them to live in dignity and participate in their communities’.

“No kudos for originality here. This is exactly the sentiment expressed by the 1972 Royal Commission on Social Security. That commission gave us the DPB, which was followed by an explosion in unmarried births.”

Lindsay outlines some of the disastrous policy changes that Labour and Greens have signalled they intend to introduce, such as abolishing the current drug testing regime, and eliminating the penalties for not naming the father of a child. She also identifies policy changes that we are unlikely to see, such as abolishing the sole parent support benefit: “There is no reason to differentiate between job seekers and sole parents. Both need jobs. A stand-alone sole parent benefit merely legitimises and encourages single parenting, the strongest correlate for child poverty.”

In light of Labour’s disastrous welfare reform record, we would urge the Prime Minister to think carefully about the changes she plans to introduce. In particular, if she was serious when she claimed that combating child poverty was the main reason she entered politics, then her litmus test should be how successful her Government is in getting single mothers off benefits and into work.

Accordingly, she should abolish the stand-alone benefit for sole parents and provide assistance through the work-related Job Seeker Support – as the OECD has recommended.

She should also ensure that the relativity between welfare and work is carefully monitored to ensure that no-one who is capable of working is better off on a benefit than they would be in employment.

Further, people exhibiting destructive behaviours, such as alcohol and drug addictions, should be required to engage in treatment programmes. In addition, and most importantly, they should also be subjected to “Income Management”, so their essentials such as rent, power, and food are paid, with the balance – apart from a small weekly allowance – deposited into a personal KiwiSaver account, to prevent their benefit money being used for drugs and booze, otherwise they are unlikely to ever leave the welfare system.

With all of this in mind, it’s important to remember that most New Zealanders agree that it is the role of the state to help people in genuine need.

The debate about welfare centres on how best to assist those who have temporarily fallen on hard times. Without proper incentives in place to lead to work, too many beneficiaries get stuck within the welfare system, damaging themselves, their families, and their country.

Unfortunately, the history of welfare reform is riddled with naïve and destructive policies from Labour, and somewhat timid attempts by National to redress the damage. We can only hope that this time around the changes Labour implements will improve the situation, not make it worse – because ultimately, the real victims of a dysfunctional welfare system are children.


Do you believe that under Labour, the trend in the number of children growing up in families dependent on welfare will continue to decline, or start to increase?


*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.


Click to view x 120


Such a stupid lot in power at the moment. They always support the people who do not want to work and kick the taxpayer in the teeth. Derek
This coalition is not one to encourage people off benefits for their long term well-being. I truly believe this is why we have a ‘poverty’ problem … the welfare system is broken, but certainly not holding my breath that Jacinda Ardern will announcing anything relavant. Maddi
Will the penny ever drop that this is linked directly to child abuse as well? Peter
It’s just history repeating itself Warren
Responsibility is the meaning of life. These policies of Labour/Greens provide instant gratification but in the future only produce chaotic, dysfunctional families. Norman Kirk was a sick man who died in office and his welfare policies were also sick as are the Communist Tooth Fairy PM’s and the radical socialist Green Marama Davidson policies. Equality of outcome is totally unrealistic and a fantasy. Monica
Of course it will increase dependency as beneficiaries will have even less incentive to get off the benefit. But New Zealand wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for the poison of political correctness, which corrupts morality and confuses white liberal idiots. If communism is the dictatorship of the proletariat and democracy is the dictatorship of the majority, then political correctness is the dictatorship of the minority, so obviously political correctness is diametrically opposed to democracy and wants to destroy it. Political correctness is the underlying factor in every issue raised in this forum, until it is exposed and dealt with then nothing will change. Bob
This is a no brainer Paul
It can only go up under Labour Graeme
Labour has always equated more handouts to more votes at the ballot box. Just to keep their bums in Govt;. with little regard to fixing the underlying problem. Peter
What else would you expect! History will repeat its self. Ross
People, like water, take the line of least resistance so if welfare is easy to stay on, why would you work? Thus labour govt will more likely increase number of families on welfare. Catherine
With the legacy of the past Labour governments on benefit dependence, why should we expect anything different from the current government? They are simply giving new names to old (and failed) traditional Labour policies. We now have third, and perhaps fourth, generation welfare dependents. Benefits should be, as originally intended, a hand-up not a lifestyle. Laurence
Labour are hopeless and it is very worrying Valerie
With Labors historic legacy of higher taxation and hand-outs, combined with Green and Peters wrecker ambitions we will never see sanity return. Ced
Thanks to MMP we now have a Socialist government consisting of a Coalition of Losers. The hallmark of Socialism, historically speaking, is that it eventually brings everything down to the level of the lowest common denominator, ultimately resulting in societal collapse. The present situation in Venezuela is a prime example! Scott
As surely as night follows day Mike
Sadly, there are still too many who fail to recognise the dangers of welfare dependancy and the need to guide those on welfare into more rewarding paid work, if they have not that inclination themselves. Rob
Unless it pays much more to be in work nothing will change Bruce
This rabble of an administration, awash with Marxist/Socialist ideology and dogma will charge headlong towards their socialist nirvana where everyone is beholding to the state, and welfare is a basic entitlement which is never ending, until the New Zealand economy sinks under the weight of having more people on welfare, than are working productively and NZ becomes another failed Socialist state. James
No encouragement to work and when I hear the benefit pays more than a job, why work? For many that isn’t even a question but a reason not to work. Margaret
It is early days for the current government, but their overtures are a resemblance of past Labour governments. There is absolutely nothing in their manifest to suggest they will successfully deal with this issue. Chris
Left wing governments panic when no one depends on them so make sure that there are plenty that do Geof
Don’t listen to the Greens! Jim
It will increase UNLESS the PM reads your column, and the readers’ comments, and UNDERSTANDS, and FOLLOWS the advice therein. Alan
Too generous and leads to welfare dependancy Tony
This Government will not give any incentive for people, in particular those in families where benefit has been generationally a “right”, to seek work, They will continue to pay beneficiaries to breed and have the benefits too attractive compared with the alternative of working for a living. Colin
Labour Party Supposedly the savior of the underclass is solely responsible for their continued trek into doom Yet the very people that vote them in are too blind to recognize the narrow mindedness of the party they voted for Neville
With so many wets in labour and total drongos in the greens and NZ First being ineffective, this problem can only grow. Willy
The dependency culture is such in New Zealand, the more that is given with no expectation of a return for personal accountability the more entitled people become. Political parties have and are driving New Zealand to the bottom. I see no hope for this country in the future without a morally strong leader able to do what is right for it’s citizens not just what will get them elected. Sam
There is no incentive for them to get a job. Those on drugs will not be tested yet if we want employment 99% of us have to take random tests and if tested positive and fail the test the second time you get dismissed. Labour is pushing a now fourth generation to be reliant on welfare handouts. Wayne
Welfare dependent will rise slowly and then gather pace so this government will then look at ways to increase taxes to cover these costs.Undser National they also were to slow in reducing dependence on welfare. Their seems to be a lack of will by all parties to attack welfare so the tax payer gets bleed evary time. Ken
Whilst I think that welfare dependency will increase, the question is a little premature until the budget announcements are made. Peter
Communism is creeping in where “do-gooders” expect the government to pay, house, feed and clothe the “underprivileged” to their high expectancy for life Anne
History repeats Barry
It is not rocket science to work out the easy option for those who have no intention of bettering themselves. As long as there are bleeding hearts voted into government it will continue. Dennis
How about this to fix 90% of the social problems, round up all the street sleepers, all the ones on unemployment benefit for more than 6 months, put them in the army, get them fit then put them to work in the fruit industry, and for those who opt out, NO More benefits. Athol
Once upon a time it was shameful to live of the dole or go to a food bank. It does not take long and there is no shame at all in accepting free money and food. Why as a country do we need so many foreign workers and have so many of our own living of our tax? From experience I do know welfare dependency runs in families, and welfare has become a right and is no longer a privilege. Ido
There are multiple issues involved but moves not encouraging self improvment will lead to less resolve to be self reliant Tim
Yes, Only to create a future potential voter! Cyril
Labour want to be re-elected and will therefore continue to encourage laziness Tom
There is one thing labour has not done, not dreamed about. A benefit for unmarried fathers. Like the unmarreid ‘mother’s’ you can not expect those poor man to work. It is like that man who follows the prime minister around at our expenses. Johan
Labour governments will continue to pour money into our shameful welfare system to maintain their voting base.Keep people trapped in near poverty and they will never not vote for the” hand that feeds” them. Darryl
Why work when no one else in the family has? Sweet as man, I’ll see ya at the skate park. Bruce
Every time Labour is in power the welfare always increase. One other thing that helps this along is there are not many laboring jobs around like there used to be 30 years ago. Robert
Labour has a bad track record. Maurice
Encouraging social/personal values/behavior enabling less political correctness with willingness to look after own/others property. Bob
If you pay people to be unemployed without restrictions what will you get? More of them of course and we now have well established benefit families that have never know anything different. In my view the only way to break this cycle is to pay girls of child producing age a voluntary fee of say 10k to get sterilised. This is the only way we will break this cycle. Ronmac
The government and the PM accepts children being born out of wedlock and is not committed to promoting marriage and the natural family as the ideal place in which to raise children. Ken
Every “progressive” move by Liebour in the welfare gravy train will predictively increase the number opting to avoid work and live of the benefit. The welfare system rewards the idle giving them little else to do other than breed themselves a ticket to more welfare. Aunty Podes
People have to clearly see that they are really substantially better off in employment. Unfortunately they have fully understand that if they are unemployed there will be No money for drugs and booz Just how this can be brought about is a massive challenge.my understanding is that a large number of times unemployed that do front up to e players fail the drug tests or fail to be punctual Bryan
Inevitable Martin
Becomes an expectation of entitlement Terry
I am not happy with their upcoming proceedures Barbara
Ardern will be an unmarried mother shortly so she’ll be looking after number 1 Typical lefties I never thought Winston would be THAT thick to get into bed with labour Jack
If you cannot feed you shouldn’t breed. How many children are denied so much competing with numerous siblings; for want of a little contraception or other interests apart from constant animalistic copulation. The stupid are financed to be even more liberal. What is the actual appeal of having any children. There should be no child payments but the converse; payments or tax reductions to non-parents. Zoran
I believe that you could also remind readers that those in work also have travel costs, reasonable dress requirements and a loss of freedom that work commitments inevitably demand. Tony
This is a PAGAN government…. Simon
The left wing has always worsened the welfare State, encouraging welfare dependency, why would this government be any different, particularly with the Greens assistance? Terry
Support for a part lazy nation. Heaven forbid! RICHard
It already is increasing. Check out Hawke’s Bay!!!!!! Graeme
Only because jobs are becoming less available, with too much immigration. George
Labours track record in this area speaks for its self. Max
No way will Adern encourage those on benefits to work. The state cannot replace honest endeavour. Jeff
Here we go again Gaty
Welfare dependency will increase, without a doubt. Those out there that are looking for the free ticket will love the new Labour/Green/NZfirst policies. Still won’t be any money from the onging Treaty gravy train though. And here’s me believing that use of treaty settlements would lift up the “so called Maori” people. I might be wrong there, but ethnicity wise, I believe that Maori are the biggest welfare recipients? Neil
Yes, continue to increase! Ron
Welfare entrenches poverty and inflicts immeasurable harm on its victims. It destroys self esteem, eliminates individual purpose and promotes dependence on the state. Cynically perhaps it is working as intended i.e. multiplying the number of voters sympathetic to socialism. Richard
This is a left wing government all for the so called dependents. Stop them having one child after another would be a good start. Alan
What is wrong with the left that they refuse to acknowledge what is wrong with the welfare system when it is glaringly obvious? Alan
Labour’s view is ‘throw money at it – that will make it go away” NEVER, NEVER, NEVER. That will only encourage more benefit abuse. National’s attempt to change the system did not go far enough. This Govt. is taking the situation way beyond damaging which will only increase poverty levels, more children will suffer.. Robyn
Time for benificiaries basics to be paid directly for them and them have a SMALL allowance of discretionary spending. The workers have spent their lives going without to provide for their families and there is no one for us to rely on when it all goes to bits and the money runs out – living expenses need to come first!! Kevin
Both labour and national are driven by power and greed. We a new party that puts nz first Ian
I will never ever forget the damage to the well being of NZs here now and in the future. All because a person who has spent forty wasted years in NZ Parliament chose to ignore the quality of life and self esteem of the Nation of NZ. Tony
No alternative David
The ignorance of the COL is frightening, buying votes. Merryl
A worthwhile ideology but not practicable because of the human factor.Why work for a living while the Government provides. No incentive to better one self Frank
More dependency on the taxpayer, means a more burgeoning bureaucracy taxpayer funded, means less individual responsibility and more fodder for a future dictatorship. Don
That is the problem with these socialists. Driven by ideology and a total lack of having a grasp on reality they think that throwing ever increasing amounts of tax payers money at the problem will solve the problem.Well— not so. Instead we are facing a growing group of people in our society which- over generations now– have developed a massive sense of entitlement combined with social problems like drugs, gaming addiction ,child abuse, criminality etc. In short– when and if the state is facing a shortage of funds to finance this social problem then all hell will break loose and we have to deal with massive social unrest. Labour and all their do good fairies have to be held responsible for this utter mess. And not be let into Government ever again.!!!! And — besides where all these tribal leaders with their billions of dollars in TOW settlements. They obviously give a fiddler’s fart and leave these problems to the stupid white man. Michael
No one learns anything beneficial from welfare and social benefits. Take responsibility – don’t blame the world around – find a way to ‘stand up.’ Get off that couch with your hand out! Stuart
They will never change a thing. Geoff
Of course, society’s tax-payer funded, “human scrapyard”, will continue to grow. it can do no other, under the present rules/regime. John
It is very hard to get off a benefit and sometimes people are better off on the benefit Cherryl
The base line for poverty came about due to Governments introducing and not managing the social Welfare system. Many of the ideas had merit but they were never to be as of right or a way of life. People on a benefit will always be in poverty. Dennis
Any increase in the ease of access and the largesse of the state inevitably leads to a rise in those dependent on welfare as its their right under a socialist state John
The cyclical record of Labour’s times in power run parallel with the rise of disastrous welfarism – and long will it continue! Paul
Labour has the inventives all wrong! Errol
The parties of the Labour coalition pander to placing more people on benefits as this gives them more people dependent on their retaining power and obtaining easy income without having a work ethic. Brian
It always gets worse under a Labour led government, just look at history. Cliff
It always increases under a labour government Bruce
Whilst the wider Community has a last resort obligation to protect and sustain the child, the Primary Obligation and responsibility must reside with Both the Parents as long as they have breath. As long as there are legitimate jobs available i the local area, then welfare needs to be curtailed to a needs based emergency short term payment. Likewise with the exception of medically approved long term disability, welfare needs to be rescheduled to be a short term grant which may be supplemented by a earner scheme of contributory private insurance financially backed similar to kiwisaver/acc. Those who work make contributions and have cover topped up with welfare to an adequate cover, those that dont work no cover and only short term low rate cover. Workers choice. Those that wont work long term or choose to work under the table, miss out altogether. National need to stop this immoral purchase of the socialist voter with family workers confiscatory tax. Very especially teh latest brain fart of universal welfare to everyone needs to be kicked into touch. Pay teh aged and infirm a proper honorable pension first. Richard
Guaranteed to increase. Simple response to an economic signal. Geoff
Welfare is, or at least should be, a hand up not a hand out. Ian
Labour will never take any action that could possibly damage its “dependent” voter base. Graeme
Labour tends to make it easier for people to depend on welfare only. Nico
Red Leopards do not change their spots John
Social welfare is a disease and should be discouraged. Hand up is fine but long term hand out is NOT ! Andrew
Under Labour or any socialist “government” the inverse direction rules apply. Nothing EVER works as it was supposed to, because Labour MPs are impractical dreamers who are completely lacking in the sort of skills that a practical education in worldly matters would have endowed. They are talkers – not doers. Jim
You have not mentioned the thousands of fathers who have been and still are deprived of access to their children because of the solo parent benefit. Much easier for the mother to trump up some sexual assault charges that never make it to court than to go to work to make up for the loss of the second person in the relationship. Very sick! John
Socialism is self perpetuating so more into the fold. Graeme
Ridiculous to have so many on the dole and can’t get labour to pick kiwi fruit and other horticultural products. Colleen
Hopefully if would continue to decline, but in the light of previous actions taken by Labour and the progressive stance that the prime minister follows, I doubt this will happen. That makes little incentive to aim for a better life by getting work and building a becoming a good care giver. Even the matter that our Prime Minister is unmarried spells heaps and exactly where the future will head for NZ. Audrey
Another disaster is staring us in the face, especially when Labour Ministers make excuses for people NOT working because it is too hard with a family!!!! Sandra
Start to increase rapidly as the COL govt seeks to legislate itself into a second, third and fourth term. The result of such will the economic demise of NZ.; replaced by a communist lifestyle for all. Bob
Sir Thaddeus McCarthy the author of the 1972 Welfare Royal Commission said 21 years later in 1993 that he would do it all again when the results of the disastrous DPB were obvious fro all to see. This will only get worse under the bleeding heart policies the present idiots of the Labour and Greens in the present Government A quick look at history will show you that immorality bring down nations and immorality goes right to the top in this country with the Prime minister having a child out of wedlock. Welfare has stuffed the traditional married couple of a father and a mother completely. As one commentator put in bluntly IF you subsidize bastardry you will only get more of it. Right have replaced responsibility and we are all paying huge taxes out of the sympathy the bleeding hearts say we must do to help the people who find them selves in these situations Tough Love would take the children off these women and give them to responsible parents who will love and nurture them to become responsible citizens instead of as candidate for the prison system. I am old enough to remember the 1950’s a teenager when murders were sensational not like today when there at least 2 or 3 a week and they hardly rate a mention in the media unless they are particularly gruesome. Colin
Of course it will increase: it’s in Labour’s interest to expand the ranks of the welfare-dependent, for it is the indolent who are attracted to state benefits. After all, why would they want to support an alternative government which might want them to pull their weight? It seems that none of the parties on the political left, as well as a sizeable cohort of National, pays any regard to the idea of the social contract, whereby rights are counterbalanced by responsibilities. The proposed softening of the welfare rules will hasten this nation’s decline towards economic and social failure. Graham
Unfortunatly the ‘do gooders’ wear rose tinted glasses. It will take a depression or a war to sort things out Terry
Labour has ALWAYS increased poverty cause they are BLIND & DEAF to ALL the info. telling them they are WRONG from overseas ETC EXPERTS Cindy
I believe their plan is to put more people into employment, so why should the numbers start to INCREASE? Andy
Prime example being in the kiwi fruit growing area around Te Puke. High percentage of welfare recipients, and employers crying out for unskilled labour. Owen
People need to stop being paid to have children!!!! Jacqueline
First signs are not good with reduced incentives to work John
Why not, on the birth of a second child to a solo mother should a tuble-ligation not be performed, so that she does not keep producing children . Why are hard working Tax payers continually paying for those who have children they can’t afford ? Colleen
Why dont they make them work we are so short of labour for so many projects that we have to import people to fill the jobs WHY when we have thousands on a benifit that do nothing to help themselves NO WORK NO PAY thats how i was brought up Peter
If the Coalition Government continues to appease the Greens and support a no-obligation, unconstrained and unfettered access to benefits (a line only moderately more extreme than previous Labour led Governments), then welfare dependency will inevitably grow. The growth of this section of the community is of course precisely what a Socialist Government strives for – a captive electorate. Michael
Any changes made will not be for the benefit of children or the families involved but with a view of retaining the vote of those beneficiaries so that the party (whichever it is) can retain power at the next election. Better conditions for the beneficiaries or overall benefit to the country is not a consideration. Staying in power and on the gravy train is of paramount importance (again regardless of which party or group is in the “box” seat) Tony
Unfortunately, I think it will increase. When will they realise that to make a difference people need the incentive to stand on their own two feet, not feel they are entitled to ask for more continually. Sue
The old adage applies “give a man a crutch for three months and I will give you a cripple for life” The more welfare we give the more dependent the beneficiaries become and all they have to do is sit home and make babies which equates to more benefits. Jock
They never get it right Muzza
The comments this morning on National Radio news, 8th May, made by Willie Jackson, who calls himself the Minister of Employment and holds this Cabinet position in the Government shocked me. Mr. Espiner asked him why Hawkes Bay kiwifruit growers had insufficient pickers. Jackson said it was because the National Government didn’t get them organized. The next question was why not employ some of the 6,000 unemployed in the area. Jackson’s reply was that they were too busy looking after their families and only wanted work lasting longer than 4 weeks. So there we have it. The Labour Government is bringing in overseas pickers and encouraging these locals to stay on the dole and unemployed. That from a Cabinet Minister. The final question to Jackson was, when will the Labour Government cease blaming the previous National Government for all they see as the cause of NZ problems. Jackson’s reply—in 12 or 18 months. So that is the calibre of the present Government Ministers. How ignorant is that??? Chris
Socialist politics Greg
Based on the known history of NZ welfare – which is the biggest Elephant in this country, why would Winston Peters select a Government with the best track record for destroying the lives of his own Maori people as well as many other New Zealand families and children’s lives. Winston’s choice at the last election was a true reflection on his lack of understanding and abilities. Maybe his ego clouded his thinking. Lets hope our current Prime Minister finally breaks the mold and lifts us out of this significant Social vortex. Mark
Without doubt. The more people dependent upon state handouts, the more the government handing out receives in votes. Andrew
Why would their agenda change – they are slowly but very surely achieving their end game! Rob
Labour have a hopeless record in this area Alan
Labour hasn’t got a clue how to really help people and it is not by handouts. Clark
It’s like a disease. the more they get, the more they want. Can only get worse under Labour. Mike
Labours fundamental flaw is their obsession with PC driven values, such that they refuse to accept human nature will default to hand out rather than hand up. Wake up! Stewart
It’s hard to be optimistic when viewed in the context of Labour’s history. Throw in the Green Party’s unfortunate influence and it’s most unlikely that things will get better. Greg
The more people are dependent on welfare, the more a Government has control over them and their lives. This is therefore the situation a Leftist Government wants. Gifford
Of course it will increase. Labour loves propping up losers … and these losers know how to work the system. Des
This is a given with the way Labour is spending our money without appearing to consider the consequences, intended or otherwise. Kerry
What else under this labor Govt? Ian
Labour will overspend on social welfare and at the end of 3 years everyone will be worse off. Brett
..a class divide is firmly entrenched in the New Zealand society…as always ‘the winner takes all…’ CHowes
Labour will be a disaster. Their policies are designed to expand dependency under the guise of saying they are helping to alleviate poverty and provide families with their entitlement. It is just a ruse to build their voting base. Disgusting really!  Paul
If Labour was genuine about wanting to help the poor, they would do everything they can to help people up the ladder to work and a good education. But I suspect they intend doing the opposite.  Stephen
No, Labour will expand dependency and dysfunction. That’s what they always do. But all the while they will claim they are helping and unfortunately many people will believe them.  Melissa
One day, some of these welfare victims, whose lives have been blighted by the policies introduced by Labour will take a class action against them for knowingly destroying their lives. Then they might start doing what is right rather than what is popular amongst their voters.  Murray
Labour should back off. The present system seems to be making a difference. Andrew