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Mitchell: ‘Radical action’ needed to reduce deepening welfare dependency

Summarised by Centrist 

Current welfare stats show a 5% increase in main beneficiaries and a 7.5% rise in Jobseeker benefits since last year’s election, totaling over 380,000 recipients.

Intergenerational dependence on welfare remains a major social problem, driving under-achievement, domestic dysfunction, ill-health, and crime.

However, commentator Lindsay Mitchell observes that instead of “radical action” to break the “inertia” behind a growing welfare state, National wants to tinker at the edges. 

All the while, jobs go unfilled in other sectors of the economy. 

Mitchell cites former WINZ boss Christine Rankin who says that many available jobs are entry-level and that she sees benefits as a privilege, not a right. 

However, “the last ‘confused’ government actually believed a benefit is a right and not a privilege. Nobody should have to work if they don’t want to,” Mitchell summarises Labour, whose six-year tenure saw benefit incomes outpacing inflation and led to fewer beneficiaries under active case management.

Financial support may be more attractive than low-paying jobs when considering childcare and transport costs. Mitchell writes that National lacks the “reforming zeal” to tackle the issue of welfare dependency in New Zealand. 

Their approach “deflects attention and mollifies their voters while the country’s historic heavy and unhealthy over-reliance on the welfare system continues,” she writes. 

Read more over at Lindsay Mitchell blogspot

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