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Ministry of Social Development Figures show that in the 2019 September quarter, Taranaki people receiving a main benefit were up by more than 400 on the same time last year, and those on Jobseeker support were up by more than 300. The trend in the last two years has been upward.

National recognises that sometimes people need help to get back on their feet. We believe in a strong safety net that helps vulnerable Kiwis out of the cycle of poverty, by delivering what they actually need to make the most of their lives.

Our Social Services discussion document released last week proposes ideas that respond to the diverse needs of New Zealanders, whether they’re new parents, looking for work, vulnerable children or struggling to find a place to live. The heart of the document is Social Investment, which aims to improve the lives of New Zealanders by applying evidence-based investment practices to social services. It uses information and technology to better understand what works best for the people who need public services and then adjusts services accordingly.

From that base, we’re looking at a range of plans to empower more Kiwis towards economic independence and better lives. Some of those ideas include:

  • Partnering with Community Housing Providers to ensure local solutions to local housing challenges – when Kiwibuild came to Marfell, the price of its houses was over a hundred thousand dollars more than the community group who’d been working on plans for the area for years.
  • Developing a nationwide action plan to help communities with parenting support and resources.
  • Setting targets to ensure the number of children in benefit-dependent homes is reduced;
  • Increasing fully-funded postnatal care to three days
  • Ensuring paid parental leave can be split between parents and taken together;
  • Keeping superannuation at no less than 66 per cent of the average wage

National is the party of aspiration. We believe social services should be a hand-up, not a hand-out. We’re proposing positive measures to ensure they are well managed to provide the best opportunities for Kiwis to reach their potential.

The Social Services discussion document is part of the work we’re doing now in Opposition so we’re ready to hit the ground running in 2020. Your views are important and public feedback will help form our final policy. Please visit https://www.national.org.nz/discussion_documents and let us know your thoughts.

 

Jonathan Young

New Plymouth MP
National Party Spokesperson for: Energy and Resources
National Party Spokesperson for: Regional Economic Development (NI)

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