19 Jul 2014

Benefit numbers well down

7:14 pm on 19 July 2014

The number of people receiving welfare benefits in the June quarter has decreased by 16,196 compared to June last year.

Paula Bennett

Paula Bennett Photo: RNZ

The decrease was largely driven by drops in Sole Parent Support and Jobseeker Support numbers.

Social Development Minister, Paula Bennett, said most significant is the 10.7 percent total drop in people on the Sole Parent Support benefit in the past year.

She said sole parents, particularly those who go on a benefit in their teens, have the highest lifetime costs of any group on welfare and are more likely to stay on the benefit the longest.

The Ministry said the proportion of the working-age population who were receiving a main benefit at the end of June increased between 2009 and 2010, but had decreased over the last four years.

It says the main reason for that has been changes in economic conditions.