New Zealand’s welfare system provides income and other support services to a range of New Zealanders who find themselves in difficult situations.

Who's receiving a benefit

Over 630,000 New Zealanders receive some form of welfare payment over a year (excluding superannuation)

182,000 of these people are working. Recipients with a health condition or disability make up 54% of all main beneficiaries.

277,410 working age people receive a main benefit.

9.4% of the working age population received a main benefit (these numbers do not include those receiving Working For Families tax credits).

279,283 people receive the Accommodation Supplement; 19% are non-beneficiaries.

Over 320,000 hardship assistance payments were made in the June 2018 quarter. Food has consistently remained the main reason for needing this support.

The types of benefits

There are 61 different types of support services available to New Zealanders for varying situations.

Main benefits include: Jobseeker support, sole parent support, supported living payment, youth payment and young parent payment, emergency benefit, NZ superannuation/Veteran’s Pension, Working for Families.

Supplementary benefits include: Housing Assistance, Childcare Assistance, Winter Energy Payment, Disability Allowance, Orphan’s Benefit and Unsupported Child Benefits, Hardship assistance.

Māori are over-represented

Māori are over-represented in the benefit system, making up 15% of the New Zealand population, but 36% of benefit recipients.

Young people who come onto benefits before the age of 20 are more likely to stay on benefit longer.

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