Prime Minister John Key says proposed reforms of the welfare sector will be rolled out in the lead up to the general election, but changes will mean that if people can work, they must.
The Welfare Working Group’s final report, released in February, gave the Government 43 recommendations to reform the welfare system into a work-focused programme.
He had now asked ministers to look at the group’s recommendations and develop a comprehensive package of welfare reform.
The Government would announce policies in due course and campaign on them.
“It’s important we signal to New Zealanders that if we are afforded a second term that there will be reform in welfare.”
However, while ruling out the one recommendation he had earlier indicated was unpalatable, he would not go into detail on the remaining 42 recommendations.
Just to recap, the welfare model recommended by the Welfare Working Group was:
- Abolish the DPB, Sickness and Invalid benefits and roll them all up into a single unemployment benefit called a ‘Jobseekers Benefit. So paranoid schizophrenics are Jobseekers, paraplegics are Jobseekers, solo mothers at home with three children are Jobseekers, ect.
- Privatise the entire welfare system (the Working Group consisted of a bunch of ACT Party members and representatives of private sector welfare companies). All welfare recipients are managed by private companies that bid for tenders.
- Those private companies are incentivised to move Jobseekers into paid employment as quickly as possible.
- They’re empowered to enroll Jobseekers into compulsory work schemes and reduce or cease payment of their benefits if they see fit.
This might sound radical, and likely to cause massive pain and suffering and a return to a pre-1930s social model but it IS predicted to reduce the total number of beneficiaries by 100,000. Which happens to be the number that Labour reduced the total number of beneficiaries by when they were in office, before the economy went south, and is a lot less than the 170,000 new jobs Treasury forecasts over the next four years.