Supporting New Zealand familiesNo Minister No Portfolio
By Social Development and Employment Minister Hon Steve Maharey
Supporting New Zealand families is the top priority of the Labour-led government. At a time when New Zealand enjoys the lowest-unemployment rate in the world and an economy that's stronger than ever, the government is committed to making sure that all families are enjoying the benefits of our economic success.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
In total, half of all New Zealand families with children are set to gain an average of $100 a week in extra income from the package. That's money that will be welcome support for parents who are working hard to provide the best for their children.
The initial roll-out of Working for Families began on 1 October last year. Already around 88,000 people have benefited from extra support for childcare and accommodation costs. In the first five months of the package, the number of accommodation supplements granted to families doubled and the number of childcare subsidies tripled.
On 1 April this year, family assistance rates will increase in addition to increases in accommodation support, foster care allowance, unsupported child's benefit and the orphan's benefit.
One of the most important elements of Working for Families is that it aims to make work pay. In the past, people often lost income by moving off benefits and into work. The government was determined to eliminate this barrier to employment. Evidence from around the world has clearly shown that children are more likely to be healthy and successful when at least one of their parents is in a job.
The new In-Work payment – which will become available on 1 April 2006 – will allow parents to move into work without losing income as a result. In fact, parents who do move into work will receive the biggest gains from the Working for Families package. An estimated 100,000 low and middle-income families will be eligible for the In-Work payment when it is introduced next year.
More changes will be rolled out over the next two years. Along the way, childcare assistance will increase further as will family support rates. The package will be fully implemented by 1 April 2007. By that time an estimated 61 per cent of all families with dependent children will be gaining from Working for Families.
To find out about if your family is entitled to assistance through Working for Families, visit www.workingforfamilies.govt.nz or phone 0 800 774 004.
Working for Families uptake: 200,000 families benefiting from 1 April changes
25 MAY 2005
Around 200,000 families are already receiving extra help as a result of the 1 April Working for Families increases in family income assistance.