17 Oct 2013

Govt figures show benefit numbers continue to fall

8:11 pm on 17 October 2013

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has paraded what she calls a dramatic drop in benefit numbers as proof that the Government's welfare changes are working.

Paula Bennett.

Paula Bennett. Photo: RNZ

Figures released on Thursday show the number of people receiving benefits in the September quarter dropped to about 305,000 - about 16,5000 fewer than the year before.

Ms Bennett says benefit numbers fell by about 5400 in the September quarter - the third quarterly drop in a row.

She says more than 3000 fewer people are receiving Sole Parent Support and at least 2000 fewer are receiving Jobseeker Support.

Labour Party MP Sue Moroney asked Ms Bennett in Parliament on Thursday whether she could guarantee that those people were not falling further into poverty.

Ms Bennett said the number of people coming off welfare without a job to go into had stayed the same for the past decade - whereas the number going into a job had risen.