Government support lifts income for beneficiaries

Social Development and Employment

A report released today shows Government support has lifted incomes for Beneficiaries by 40 percent over and above inflation since 2018.

“This is the first time this data set has been collected, and it clearly shows Government action is having an impact,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“This Government made a commitment to improve access to assistance and increase the value of that assistance. This report shows we are making progress.

The report takes into account inflation data from up to March 2022 and reports a 43 percent rise in After Housing Cost incomes. When adjusted for recent changes to inflation the increase in total incomes in real terms is 40 percent.  This figure does not take into account the Winter Energy Payment which is currently being received by 1.1m New Zealanders.

“Total incomes for families who receive a main benefit has increased by an average of $60 a week in the last year. While average incomes have increased across all family types in the last 12 months, the largest increases have generally been for families with children, reflecting policy changes particularly to main benefit rates.

“These income increases are a result of the policy decisions we have made while in Government to improve the living standards of New Zealanders on Benefit.

“We acknowledge costs are increasing, which makes it even more important that we are able to support families with their financial needs. Total incomes have increased at a faster rate than inflation and we will continue to work with our families to make sure they are aware of the services available to them.

The report only accounts for financial support and does not take into account the known benefits of being in paid work.

“We know that being in work and contributing to a community provides significant mental and emotional wellbeing and helps to break the cycle of benefit dependence. Our focus as a government remains on getting people into work.

“The Government is continuing to invest in programmes to get people into work or education and while this report shows the material increases we have made across the benefit system, getting people into employment remains our priority. We are seeing good progress in this area, with the latest stats showing that over 113,000 people exited benefit to go into work over the last 12 months.

Editor notes:

The report identifies income as the amount families receive across a broad range of support including the main benefit, accommodation supplement and supplementary and other ad hoc assistance.

Reporting on the total incomes of MSD main benefit clients will be released annually and further refined as needed.