The government-appointed Welfare Working Group has outlined a number of options that will lead to its recommendations to the government for reforming New Zealand's welfare system.
The group is calling for submissions on the options, detailed in a paper here, as it plans its final report for February next year, ahead of the government's budget in May.
The range of options include possible changes such as a six month threshold for people on the unemployment benefit, at which point a person identified as at risk of long-term unemployment would be placed in either paid or unpaid work (including voluntary work) to enhance chances of entering paid work.
Another option includes stricter enforcement of current provisions about people moving to 'limited-employment locations'.
"More active management of people in these locations to encourage them to locate paid work in other locations. This could also include help for transport," it says in the paper.
Questions about the range of options
- What changes could New Zealand make to the structure of the benefit system to improve the focus on early intervention to reduce long-term dependency?
- What changes could New Zealand make to the structure of the benefit system to improve the focus on paid work?
- What changes do we need to the Unemployment Benefit to improve social and economic outcomes?
- What changes do we need to reduce long-term benefit dependency of sole parents and reduce child poverty?
- What changes do we need to reduce long-term benefit dependency of people on the Sickness Benefit and the Invalid’s Benefit?
- What changes do we need to reduce long-term benefit dependency amongst Māori?
- What changes do we need to reduce long-term benefit dependency of people who enter the benefit system at an early age?
- What changes do we need to financial incentives in the benefit system (including supplementary programmes) in order to reduce long-term benefit dependency and increase the uptake of paid work?
- What changes do we need to improve the approach to funding and delivery of employment and other services?
- What changes do we need to involve and support employers to achieve better employment outcomes for beneficiaries?
- What changes do we need to address benefit fraud and abuse?
- How should a new benefit system be introduced?
- What are the key components of a successful package of reform to reduce long-term benefit dependency?
- Are there other questions and areas for change not discussed that are critical to reducing long-term benefit dependency within the scope of the Welfare Working Group’s Terms of Reference?