National presents a plan for those who benefit from welfare for more than a year

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National has targeted those who have benefited from welfare for more than a year, particularly young people, saying it is unacceptable at a time of extreme labor shortages.

At the party's annual conference, National unveiled plans to move those who have been on welfare for more than a year, using support and sanctions.

Christopher Luxon speaks today at the National Partyconference in Christchurch.
Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

Christopher Luxon gave his first speech as a leader at an annual party conference, promising to help those who want to work, but penalties for those who don’t.

He made the distinction between those whose circumstances mean they have a subsidy but are willing and able to work, and those who are getting a “free pass” from the Labor government.

“First, for young people trying to find a job – it’s a difficult place to be in, and if there was a national government, you’d get more support and encouragement from your coach,” Luxon told the conference.

“Secondly, to young people who don’t want to work: you could get a free ride with Labor, but with the National it ends.

“Third, to the taxpayers: National is on your side.”

Of great concern, he said, is the fact that there are “50,000 more New Zealanders on a job seeker grant than there were under National … and disturbingly, 34,000 young people under the age of 25 are there. – a 49% increase under Labor surveillance “.

“It’s not a sign of a government that cares,” Luxon said. “It is a sign that this government is speaking out but does not know how to deliver”.

At the party's annual conference, National unveiled plans to move those who have been on welfare for more than a year, using support and sanctions.

At the party’s annual conference, National unveiled plans to use support and sanctions to help move people out of welfare.
Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

About 100,000 people who are able to work are currently receiving the job seeker benefit.

The numbers for the year at the end of June showed a 9.7% decrease in job-ready people looking for work compared to the previous year.

There were 100,086 people, about 60% more than 63,030 when Labor took office in 2017, but down from the 2020 peak when the number was 123,966.

In late July, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said the number corresponded to about 3.2 percent of the working-age population, which was in line with the reported unemployment rate.

According to National’s plan, the government would engage “community suppliers … redirect some funding from the Ministry of Social Development” and instead get those organizations to do the work.

“We will contract them to provide those under 25 who have benefited from a grant for three months or more with a dedicated job coach to help them enter the workforce.”

Young job seekers would receive “more support, with a proper assessment of their barriers and an individual work plan to address those barriers and find a job,” Luxon said.

“If we don’t, they will be in and out of welfare for years.”

There will be a carrot: a $ 1000 bonus for a person under the age of 25 who has benefited from the benefit for 12 months or more, who then starts working and remains off the benefit for the next 12 months.

And a stick in the form of penalties, for “those who clearly do not follow the agreed plan – in the sense that they do not show up for courses, do not apply for a job or do not confront their job coach”.

However, Luxon did not give details in his speech about what those penalties would have been like.