If you are ever tempted to think governments have made progress in social welfare over the past decade (other than employment which is actually attributable to the private sector), forget it.
Here's a piece from the Jobsletter June 1995;
PROGRAMME TO TRIM DPB
The Compass programme run by the Income Support Service is also hoping to reduce the numbers of single parents on the DPB by getting them back to work. The Christchurch pilot programme was last week featured on TV3 news and showed that of the 300 beneficiaries on the programme, a third are now off the benefit, and 25% of these have gone into employment. Budget night funding announcements will mean that every office of Income Support around the country will soon have a Compass co-ordinator. Programme organisers are predicting that Compass may help cull the DPB rolls by 30,000 people.
That year there were 102,000 people on the DPB. Today there are 102,000 people on the DPB.
But wait...there's more...
In spite of a drop in unemployment benefits, the government faces a constant and dramatic growth in other benefits, particularly with people on sickness and invalid benefits and the domestic purposes benefit.
Peter Gresham has announced that from September, beneficiaries will be given regular medical check-ups (paid for by the State), in an effort to reduce the numbers on the long-term benefits and encourage them back to work. Social Welfare says that applicants for the sickness benefit would have their initial test done by their GP. A second check would be required four weeks after the benefit was granted, then after three months the beneficiary would be required to be examined by an accredited doctor. The checks would be carried out yearly from then on. On Budget night, the Government estimated that tougher screening would save 5% of the current cost, or $60m, over the next three years by moving people from the sickness and invalid benefits on to the dole.
At that time there were 74,000 people on the sickness and invalid benefits. Today there are 122,000.
The government should STOP doing whatever it is they do. They just manage to make matters worse.