Change needed for Mums

  • Hon Julie Anne Genter

A report highlighting the barriers some single mothers face returning to work and navigating the benefit system shows the need for the Government welfare overhaul that has already begun, Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter says.

 The Ministry of Women has today released their report “Something’s got to change”, based on interviews with 40 low-income mothers in Whangārei, South Auckland and Gisborne.

The report found that having a baby was a major incentive for mothers to get into training, education or work, but many women faced too many unnecessary barriers.

“It is not only kind to support single mums, who are doing their best to raise their children, it also makes sense for the Government to make it easier for these women to get the support they need to be great parents,” Ms Genter said.

The report found that:

  • Mothers universally wanted to make a better life for their children
  • Mothers struggled financially which was a constant source of stress
  • Mothers dealt with physical and/or mental health concerns
  • Mothers’ experience with government services were often difficult and challenging.

“The findings show the Government can do more for women on benefits, ensuring women are getting what they deserve and assisting with transitions to gain skills or employment, if they choose to.

“Investing in mothers, especially when they are the only adult and income earners within families, is how we address child poverty. Improving the economic independence of these women brings benefits to them, their families and broader society.

 “The experience of the mothers in this study demonstrates the need for the overhaul of the welfare system. I know that the Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni is focused on ensuring that our welfare system works for all, including mothers and children, so she will undoubtedly take this information into consideration.

“This Government aims to make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child. And this means backing their parents to provide for them in the best possible way,” Ms Genter said.