He mihi

Foreword from the Chair


Executive summary

Current welfare system is no longer fit for purpose and needs fundamental change

Rebalancing the social contract

Many New Zealanders lead desperate lives with seriously inadequate incomes – this must change

Eligibility rules don’t reflect today’s families and need updating

Income support system needs substantial reform to significantly improve its adequacy and design

High housing costs exacerbate problems for people on low incomes – housing supply needs urgent attention

Welfare system fails to deliver for Māori – higher quality learning and employment opportunities are needed

Opportunity exists to do things differently and increase people’s employability

More can be done to improve outcomes for people with health conditions or disabilities and carers

People not undertaking paid work are also contributing

Isolated change by the welfare system is not enough – integrated, cross-system change is needed

All benefits by region at a glance

Financial assistance

Key recommendations

Purpose, values and principles

Governance and performance

Improving outcomes for Māori

Rebalancing the social contract – improving the operation of the welfare system

Income support

Alleviating the housing conundrum

Improving access to employment supports and work

People with health conditions and disabilities and carers


01 Introduction

Process of deciding on the recommendations

Reform is needed to ensure the dignity of all New Zealanders

Benefits at a glance as at December 2018

02 Fundamental change is needed

Current system was set up in a different time and is no longer fit for purpose

Some groups are disproportionately negatively affected

Employment and labour market support need revamping

03 Listening to New Zealanders – what we heard

04 Reforming social security – Kia Piki Ake Te Mana Tangata

The foundation

The future

Values underpinning the new system

Welfare and wellbeing – purpose of the welfare system

Core principles

Responsibility for implementing recommendations

Improving outcomes for Māori

Better serving the needs of Pacific People

Recommendations – key

05 Delivering for Māori

Changes are needed to improve outcomes for Māori

Recommendations – key

06 Restoring trust with people using the welfare system

How the Ministry of Social Development can work to restore trust

Recommendations – key and detailed

07 Achieving security requires adequate income

Social and financial security sufficient for an adequate standard of living

Investigating adequacy using example families and budgets

Immediate steps towards adequacy

Additional steps to achieve adequacy

Relationship status within the welfare system

Recommendations – key and detailed

08 Alleviating the housing conundrum

Housing is a critical component of good welfare policy

Boosting housing supply is critical

Recommendations – key and detailed

09 Improving access to employment and labour market support

Paid work and the social security system

Delivering effective employment support

Social security must be prepared for an uncertain future of work

Early intervention is preferable

Recommendations – key and detailed

10 Creating a fairer deal for people with health conditions or disabilities and carers

The system response needs to improve in several areas

Recommendations – key and detailed

11 Strengthening community organisations and volunteering

Enabling community organisations to prosper

Recommendation – key

12 Improving outcomes requires a cross-government response




Appendix A: Members of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group

Appendix B: Terms of Reference for the Welfare Expert Advisory Group

Appendix C: Treasury modelling of tax and welfare changes

Appendix D: Full list of recommendations

Appendix E: Technical information and background papers

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