What do New Zealanders think about welfare?


  • Louise Humpage




Welfare Working Group (WWG), Jobseeker Support, basic rights to health, education, work and welfare, New Zealand Election Study (NZES), social citizenship, attitudes towards the unemployed, work-related conditions for the unemployed, welfare assistance, welfare dependency


‘Welfare’ is always a controversial topic, with considerable debate about the causes of need and thus who is responsible for ensuring well-being. In its final report the Welfare Working Group (WWG) (2011) acknowledges this, noting that structural factors, such as the recent recession, shape welfare outcomes alongside individual behaviours and problems within welfare institutions. However, the WWG was established specifically to examine ways to reduce longterm benefit dependency in New Zealand amongst people of working age. Its recommendations thus place a particular focus on the individual behaviours of the unemployed. The proposed introduction of Jobseeker Support, a new single work-focused welfare payment to replace all existing categories of benefit, suggests that the circumstances behind working-age benefit receipt are similar and that it is therefore appropriate to extend new reciprocal obligations to a wider range of benefit recipients.


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