Stricter Welfare Rules For Teens

August 15, 2011 New Zealand Finance

John Key Announces New Welfare PlanThe National Party is looking to make an extensive set of changes to the country’s welfare system for young benefit recipients.

The National Party has revealed its new plans for reforms to the youth welfare system. The proposed changes were outlined by Prime Minister John Key in his keynote address to the National Party’s 75th conference, held in Wellington on August 14th.

Starting from next year the governments wants the country’s schools to report when students leave schools. The information would be shared between the Ministries of Education and Social Development. The move is intended to provide the government with conclusive and detailed statistics on the economic and social situations of young beneficiaries.

John Key said that he envisions that the benefit payment system would also be overhauled, with the government now being responsible for making automatic payments for the recipients’ housing and power. Additionally, beneficiaries would also be given a Eftpos-style card, with which to purchase their weekly groceries, but automatic restrictions would be placed on the card in order to stop the purchase of alcohol. Small payments would be made to the individual’s personal bank account, to spend at their own discretion.

The government will also ensure that beneficiaries are able to access case workers, who could provide assistance in finding employment. Private institutions will be given government tax benefits if teenagers attend their education courses.

The Prime Minister’s speech was met with almost instant criticism, although other political parties are yet to make an official response to the suggestions.

Photo by US Embassy New Zealand<