Latest benefit figures released

Latest benefit figures show the percentage of the working-age population receiving a main benefit remains the same as it was a year ago, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said today.

“The total proportion of people on a main benefit has remained steady at 9.4%.

“It’s heartening to see more people in some of the main benefit groups gaining a greater degree of independence. Fewer people are receiving Sole Parent Support and the Supported Living Payment.

“A steep rise in the level of hardship assistance being given was expected and reflects the ongoing challenges for people seeking affordable accommodation.

“We know that many people are still struggling with finding somewhere to live, and the Ministry of Social Development’s continuing to help many families with emergency housing grants. The figures also show that people know where to go for help when they need it.”

“There’s been a decrease in benefits in some provinces - places like Northland and East Coast are experiencing growth and locals are getting into jobs. That’s really encouraging and demonstrates this Government’s commitment to investing in the regions is paying off.

“Changes in the Auckland and Christchurch labour markets, particularly in the Construction sector, were largely responsible for an increase in people on the Jobseekers Support. We expect when large projects like Kiwibuild start to really ramp up, we’ll have the right supply of workers with the right skills to fill jobs” Carmel Sepuloni said.