Welfare Reform Bill Introduced

September 18, 2012 New Zealand Finance

Paula BennettThe government is continuing with its controversial plant to reform welfare rules, and has introduced a new bill to overhaul the benefit system.

On September 17 the Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett introduced Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill to implement several changes to the country welfare system and benefit payout programs.

If accepted, the new bill will replace the current seven benefit categories with three new categories.

The new categories will be “Jobseeker Support” for individuals actively looking for work, “Sole Parent Support” for parents of children under the age of 14, and “Supported Living Payment” for individuals who cannot work die to injury or illness.

The new Bill will also introduceĀ  the requirement for all jobseekers to be drug free, and will also require parents to ensure that their children have a minimum level of access to healthcare and education.

Powers will also be granted to stop benefits payments to individuals with outstanding arrest warrants.

From October 2012, Sole Parents will be expected to make themselves available for part-time work after their youngest child reaches school age. Parent will also be required to apply for full time work once the youngest child reaches the age of 14.

According to Paula Bennett the reform to the welfare system could save the government up to NZD 1.6 million over the next four years.

Photo by nznationalparty