New Board to oversee Work and Income performance

  • Paula Bennett
Youth Affairs Social Development

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett today announced the new Work and Income board members to oversee the investment approach to welfare.

This new approach will be embedded at all levels of the welfare system and the Board will be responsible for ensuring accountability and overseeing the delivery of reforms that will see fewer people on welfare for long periods.

“Paula Rebstock will chair the Board with five other members from outside the public service with a wide range of relevant experience and expertise.”

‘They will help make decisions about which interventions work best for individuals and will oversee trials to collect best evidence,” says Mrs Bennett.

The Work and Income Board will:

  • Advise and support the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development in the implementation of welfare reforms
  • Report to the Minister for Social Development, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of State Services on Work and Income’s performance

The Board members are:

  • Ms Paula Rebstock (Chair)
  • Dr Ian McPherson
  • Professor Kathryn McPherson
  • Mr Andrew Body
  • Mr Reg Barrett
  • Ms Debbie Packer

Members of the Board have experience in the insurance and finance industries which already use investment approaches to reduce future liability.

“The lifetime cost of today’s total number of beneficiaries is estimated at $45 billion. It makes good economic and social sense to provide targeted support up front to get more people into work sooner, ” Mrs Bennett says.

Each year an actuarial valuation will be completed to determine the long-term future spend on the benefit system, taking into account how long clients are likely to remain on benefits and wider economic and demographic trends.

The valuation will provide vital information to the Board and Work and Income on the drivers of cost in the welfare system along with priority areas and groups for investment to reduce long term benefit dependency.

The Government is investing $1.1 million in the six-member board over the next four years. The Board are appointed for 15 months. The Minister will review the operation by June 2013

Work and Income Board members

Ms Paula Rebstock (Chair)

Ms Rebstock was the Chair of the Welfare Working Group which reported to Ministers in February 2011. She is currently Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Railways Corporation, Chair of the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman Commission and a member of the Accident Compensation Corporation Board. Ms Rebstock was previously the Chair of the Commerce Commission and has expertise in governance, economic regulation, and labour market policy.

Dr Ian McPherson is the Chief Executive Officer of Southern Cross Healthcare Group. He holds a medical degree from Otago University and started his career in medicine with the Waikato Hospital Board. From 1982 to 1985, he worked for the International Red Cross as Medical Co-ordinator. He has been chief executive officer for New Zealand hospital boards and worked in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Ministry of Health, advising on New Zealand health reform.

Professor Kathryn McPherson was a member of the Welfare Working Group. She is a Professor of Rehabilitation (Laura Fergusson Chair) at the Auckland University of Technology and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Southampton as well as at King's College London. Professor McPherson has a PhD from Edinburgh University and a background in nursing, midwifery and psychology. Professor McPherson will bring to the Board expertise in the rehabilitation for people with chronic and disabling conditions including strokes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain or life threatening illness.

Mr Andrew Body is a member of the Crown Fibre Holdings Board, and has more than 20 years experience in business. He was a shareholder and Director of FR Partners until 2001. Mr Body brings strong financial skills to the Board.

Mr Reg Barrett is a Wellington based company director and business consultant involved in both the private and public sector. He held CEO positions spanning 13 years and has over 10 years executive experience in a range of business environments as well as 20 years experience as a member or chairman on a range of Boards. Mr Barrett brings governance and critical information technology skills to the Board.

Ms Debbie Packer (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Rauru) is a South Taranaki based company director and business consultant. She also has experience in both the private and public sector. She is a former Deputy Mayor of the South Taranaki District Council. She is a current member of the Minister of Māori Affairs and the Minister for Economic Development’s Independent Māori Economic Development Panel.