Youth work-seeking bill passed
Thu, 19 Jul 2012 9:39p.m.
A bill which imposes new work-seeking obligations on young people while providing them with more welfare support has been passed by Parliament.
It's phase two of the Government's welfare reform programme and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the aim is to break the cycle of welfare dependency.
"More than 170,000 people have spent most of the last decade on welfare, we simply can't continue to spend $8 billion a year to support eight per cent of the working age population," she said during the bill's third reading debate.
Under its provisions teenage parents will get help to pay for childcare so they can study, train or find work, and young people will have to be in education or training to get a benefit.
There will be a new payment system with essentials like rent and power paid directly, with an allowance and a payment card for living costs.
From October, sole parents with children over five will be expected to be available for and looking for part-time work.
Those with children over 14 will have to look for full-time work.
Labour opposed the bill and says the reforms won't work because there aren't enough jobs.
"If you want to fix welfare you have to fix the economy," said social development spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern.
"Changes need to reach all the young people whose potential is currently being wasted, not just a few."
The Social Security (Youth Support and Work Focus) Amendment Bill passed on a vote of 64 to 57.
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16/08/2012 11:13:16 a.m.
Good to see some positive action at last,long overdue.For so many years under our wonderful social welfare system the monies paid out have been wasted and not used for the purpose given, so much going to pokies etc - I am sure in time those who are unfortunate to be on benefits will see the benefit of this new programme which will see them advance, especially their children. They should all end up with a better life.
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