Welfare now a lifestyle choice

Fri, 01 Apr, 2022

“The Prime Minister will leave a legacy of dependency by making welfare more attractive than work and sadly she’s proud of it,” says ACT’s Social Development Spokesperson Karen Chhour.

“Today, almost a dozen benefits go up. That might not be so bad if Labour imposed obligations on recipients and had policies to grow the economy. But it’s making it easier to stay on welfare and harder to grow the economy. That will grow dependency.

“Speaking to the Herald, Ardern said she’s proud one of her legacies will be that she’s shifted the welfare debate from whether increases could be justified to whether the increases were enough.

‘New Zealanders are calling for us to do more – that is a significant shift. The debate in this space used to be vastly different and I think that is something that I think as New Zealanders we should greet warmly.’

“That is a depressing legacy.

“Yesterday, Ardern issued a 428-word press release about how she’s supporting New Zealanders. The words ‘work’, ‘job’ or ‘employment’ didn’t appear once. Her only solution is more handouts and that’s reflected in the numbers.

“The number of people on a main benefit for more than a year is now 266,736, up 63,786 since 2017.

“The number of children living in a benefit-dependent household is now 208,770, up 36,471 since 2017.

“Slowly but surely, Labour is transforming welfare in a way that will increase dependency by making benefits more generous, removing obligations, and slowing down the economy.

“Welfare should be about helping people get back on their feet, not allowing them to abuse the system and depend on the state. Welfare should not be a lifestyle choice.

“Almost 188,000 adults are receiving the Jobseeker benefit, yet we have severe labour shortages in many sectors that are not being addressed.

“What does it say about Jacinda Ardern’s view of work that thousands more New Zealanders are now at the mercy of handouts?

“We need to be encouraging New Zealanders back into work, not making welfare a lifestyle choice.”