Latest September figures show a rise in working age beneficiaries when compared to June but a drop when compared to 1 year ago.
Sept 2006 282,147
June 2007 261,009
Sept 2007 263 234
These figures exclude those on benefits aged under 18.
The In Work tax credits and strong labour market continue to have a positive effect but the problem areas remain with the seemingly unstoppable growth of sickness and invalid benefit numbers and young people going on the DPB. There are still many regions and service centres seeing DPB growth reflecting the rise in young Maori uptake. Against the national trend over 5 years these are some Auckland centres which have seen increases;
Glen Mall and Kelston
There are a few other predictable pockets in the Waikato and Northland.
So, yes, overall numbers are going down but the drop tends to mask the deeper problem of welfare dependency among the uneducated and unskilled, and disproportionately, female and Maori. There should be no expectation that the social problems associated with non-working lifestyles - drug and alcohol abuse, crime, mental unwellness, child neglect and abuse, (and growth in govt services) - will abate.
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