3 Aug 2012

Welfare numbers idea raises concerns

10:34 am on 3 August 2012

A group lobbying for action on poverty says it fears an incentive scheme floated by the Government to get people off longterm welfare would only be reducing numbers.

Cabinet papers indicate the Government has considered taking an incentive and investment approach to the benefit system to reduce the number of long-term beneficiaries.

But Child Poverty Action Group chairperson Mike O'Brien says it's not the right solution for long-term welfare beneficiaries.

That approach would focus too much on reducing the number on people on benefits rather than on improving their lives, he says.

"Reducing the numbers is not difficult - you can do that with fairly drastic kinds of measures - the more critical question is how does that improve the lives of the children dependent on the income in those households?"

Such an approach will lead to more pressures and more hassle: "It will simply adds to stress that people already experience in terms of stuggling to make ends meet and provide adequately for their children".

The Government says it is not considering cutting baseline funding to the Ministry of Social Development, but that some of its funding will be "performance-based".