22 Feb 2011

PM rejects Welfare Working Group idea

8:04 pm on 22 February 2011

Prime Minister John Key has all but ruled out the Welfare Working Group's proposal that mothers be made to look for work once their baby is 14 weeks old.

Commenting on the group's recommendations, released at midday on Tuesday, Mr Key says he thinks that's a step too far and that most New Zealanders would think it was extreme.

In its final report, the group says the onus must be on beneficiaries - including those on the domestic purposes benefit (DPB) - to get back to work, and that includes women who have a child while on the DPB.

It says they should be available for work and be tested for it once the child is 14 weeks old.

The group has also recommended that the Government introduce a single benefit, to be called jobseeker support.

Mr Key says the National Party is likely to campaign on any changes it decides to make to the welfare system.