(June 09 benefit data is used because the most recent HLFS data available is June 09.)
This is what I found;
No bloody correlation whatsoever.
So what is this chart telling me?
On the face of it, one would expect that where the unemployment rate is low, reliance on the Unemployment Benefit would also be low.
For example Nelson has low unemployment and a low ratio of dependency on Unemployment Benefit.
Northland, on the other hand, has a high rate of unemployment and a low ratio of dependency on Unemployment Benefit.
Or, expressed another way;
Nelson has low unemployment and a high ratio of dependency on other benefits.
Northland has a high rate of unemployment and a high ratio of dependency on other benefits.
Is it safe to conclude then, that people will rely on other benefits (SB, IB and DPB) regardless of the unemployment rate?
That is, anyway, what recent history tells us. We hit the lowest level of unemployment in the OECD at one point but reliance on other benefits was largely unchanged or growing.
The implication of this is very important. It seems obvious that people are on other benefits for other reasons. Granted. But when it comes to trying to tackle their dependency we are told, but there are no jobs so we can't do anything.
Hon PAULA BENNETT: This Government is committed to helping sole parents into work. We intend to change the work-testing rules to incentivise those parents to get a part-time job when their youngest child turns 6. However, I am committed to setting up domestic purposes beneficiaries to succeed, so we will hold off on making the changes until the economic conditions change and there are jobs for those people to be getting those sorts of opportunities.
But for many unemployment didn't cause their dependency and employment won't necessarily solve it. Many of these people are going to continue on benefits long term regardless.
BUT, Bennett is so hung up on what to do about existing beneficiaries that she is too distracted to think about how changing the rules would effect potential beneficiaries. Can't change the rules because there are no jobs for us to enforce new rules. Doesn't matter. Change the damn rules as a deterrent if nothing else. Change the rules in anticipation of an economic upturn. Get on with it or dependency will be allowed to just keep on growing.