The current welfare system was designed for the New Zealand of 80 years ago, to support New Zealanders who find themselves in difficult situations through no fault of their own. It has been subjected to decades of amendments but is not equipped for the needs of society in the 21st century. The increasingly complex nature of family, whānau, community, employment, and business structures makes it no longer fit for purpose.
Too many Zealanders are living in desperate situations, and there are pervasive and persistent inequities across the system. There is growing concern for the marginalisation of different groups, with many New Zealanders disproportionately affected including Māori, Pacific People, youth, disabled people, and people with health conditions. These imbalances need to be addressed in ways that will treat people more fairly and ensure a better future for all New Zealanders.
It has been our task to recommend reforms to the welfare system to future-proof it for the coming generations. A system that will return dignity to social security in New Zealand, a system in which we can be proud.
240,000* children live in households below the poverty threshold and 40% of these children live in working households.
Based on poverty measure of 60% of the median income (after housing costs and adjusted for household size). *(Perry 2018: 62)
People with a health condition or disability account for over 50% of the approximately 300,000 working-age people receiving a main benefit.
Each year over 630,000 people receive payments from MSD.
This excludes superannuitants and those in receipt of student loans and allowances.
345,900 families receive a Working for Families tax credit.
Some of those in receipt of the tax credits will also be receiving a payment from MSD.