National will get Kiwis off welfare and into meaningful work

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Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown says it makes no sense for more than 34,000 people under the age of 25 to be on the Jobseeker benefit when businesses are crying out for staff. Times file photo Wayne Martin
  • By Simeon Brown, MP for Pakuranga

Last weekend the National Party held its annual conference where Christopher Luxon outlined a major part of our plan to get New Zealand back on the right track.

Most agree that something needs to be done about our social welfare system. It is failing taxpayers but far more importantly, it is failing those who rely on it for support.

At a time when businesses are crying out for more workers, it makes no sense that there are more than 34,000 people under the age of 25 receiving a Jobseeker benefit, an increase of 49 per cent from five years ago.

That figure is made worse when around a third of them have been stuck on that benefit for a year or longer.

Data shows that if someone under the age of 20 goes onto a benefit, they will spend an average of 12 years on welfare, meaning wasted human potential and a significant economic burden on taxpayers.

Our Welfare that Works policy has three main components:
Community providers will be contracted to provide 18-24-year-old Jobseekers with a dedicated Job Coach to help them with the skills they need to find and maintain stable and fulfilling employment.

Jobseekers will receive more support toward their goal of finding work, with a proper assessment of their individual barriers to finding a job and a personalised plan to address them.

Those who fail to follow their plan will face sanctions, such as money management or benefit reductions, but long-term under-25 Jobseekers who get into work and stay off the benefit for at least 12 months will receive a $1000 bonus.

Under Labour, we have seen a consistent failure to deliver across all areas of responsibility, including health, education, housing, law and order and welfare.

Their modus operandi is to throw money at a problem and then act surprised and blame someone else when it doesn’t solve itself.

National will do things differently. We will redirect funding from MSD to pay for our Welfare that Works plan, ensuring that taxpayers aren’t paying more but are getting better bang for their buck.

We as a nation have a responsibility to take care of our own when they’re struggling and Kiwis are happy to support people in their time of need.

But social welfare is meant to come with a catch, that you take steps to help yourself while receiving support to get you through hard times.

We simply don’t accept that some people are too hard to help. If elected next year, we’ll give Kiwis a hand-up, not just a handout.