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The welfare system of New Zealand is the product of decades of amendments to the Social Security Act. Some amendments were ad hoc, some were attempts to adapt the system to social change and others focused on short-term cost cutting. In recent years, the focus has been on tight targeting and increased conditionality, with concern for the fiscal impact and number of benefit recipients. The overall result is a system that is badly in need of repair and no longer fit for the needs of New Zealand in the 21st century.

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