WHY THE GAP HAS WIDENED
Wednesday, August 9, 2006
One of the 20 year comparisons from the Ministry of Social Development Social Report 2006 found a widening gap between the "rich" and the "poor".
Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell says, "A major reason for the growing percentage of people experiencing hardship is the growth in benefit numbers."
"Twenty years ago 136,485 people were on one of the main benefits - unemployment, invalid, sickness or domestic purposes."
"At June this year the number had grown to 263,814 or 93 percent."
"To put that into context, over the same period the population increased by 25 percent."
"As Maori and Pacific people are over-represented amongst beneficiaries they are disproportionately experiencing hardship."
"There are also over 200,000 children relying on welfare."
"Until the incentives are changed and we stop encouraging people to have and add to their families on welfare, expect inequality to grow."
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