The modernised social security legislation gets its second reading

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni is pleased the long-awaited rewrite of the Social Security Act 1964 will have its second reading in Parliament today. 

“The Social Security Act 1964 is one of the most important pieces of New Zealand legislation,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“It sets out the financial supports available to people who are unable to support themselves and their families through paid work.”

Minister Sepuloni has released a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) to ensure a policy-neutral rewrite of the legislation underpinning New Zealand’s welfare system.

“This Government had objections to the Rewrite Bill in its previous form. Under the previous Government the Bill included significant policy changes and there were major concerns raised during Select Committee. The SOP removes all of the policy changes the last Government tried to sneak in so this can now be truly policy neutral.

“This is a landmark Bill rewriting a piece of legislation that is more than 50 years old,”

“The 1964 Act is long overdue for a rewrite. When it was first passed it had 135 sections. It has since grown to well over 500 sections and, of those, only four remain unchanged, with other sections repealed or amended, sometimes hundreds of times.

“Fifty-four years of amendments and repeals have resulted in this important legislation being a very disjointed and confusing Act. There have been many calls for it to be completely rewritten.

“This Bill provides a solid legislative framework. An enormous amount of time and effort has gone into developing this plain, simple to follow legislation which is easier to read, and logical. 

“I want to thank the members of the public, advocates and non-government organisations who took time to make submissions, both in writing and at Select Committee.

Editor’s notes:

The 1964 Act includes legislation for people in long-term residential care and people who need artificial limbs. It is proposed in this Bill to separate out the particular relevant parts in their own small, contained and user-friendly Acts for these vulnerable clients.

The resulting new Acts will be:

Residential Care and Disability Support Services Act

Artificial Limb Service Act

Social Security Act.