Saturday, April 19, 2014

More good news - fewer sole parents on welfare

Simon Collins, writing in the NZ Herald, provides an analysis of latest benefit numbers:
Numbers on sole parent support have plunged by 8600, or 10 per cent, in the year to March. It is the biggest drop in a single year since the benefit - previously known as the domestic purposes benefit, or DPB - was created in 1974. Sole parent support is now being paid to 75,844 sole parents, fewer than in any year in the DPB's history since 1988. About 22,000 people with no children under 14 were moved to other benefits when the DPB was abolished last July, but even if they were added back in, the total number of sole parents on any kind of benefit is the lowest since 1993.

Not sure where he gets the data to make the last statement though. Did he add back the 22,000 to the 75,844, arrive at 97,844 then go back through the DPB historical numbers? Looks like it because in 1993 there were 96,335 people on the DPB and in 1994 there were 100,256.

But he wrote "any kind of benefit". He hasn't accounted for the Supported Living Payment/Invalid benefit which grew from 35,000 in 1993 to 87,000 in 2012. In 2009 over 5,000 single parents were on an invalid's benefit.

Anyway I guess I'm being pedantic. Maybe the info was provided to him by MSD because he has other data (eg the specific reasons why sole parents are leaving benefits) which isn't publicly released

Good to see him talking about 'net' reductions. Many journalists forget that there are also people constantly going onto benefits.

The biggest net reduction (13 per cent) was for parents aged 40 to 54, whose children were most likely to have turned 14. The next biggest reduction was in the 18-24 age group (down 10.4 per cent), with a smaller reduction for those aged 25 to 39 (down 9 per cent).
The number of Europeans on sole parent support also dropped sharply (down 12.5 per cent), as did Pacific numbers (down 11.5 per cent). But Maori numbers fell 7.9 per cent, so Maori increased from 44.9 per cent of those on sole parent support to 46.1 per cent.
Michelle Neho, who runs the Pikorua community centre in Papakura, said she had seen little change.
"Not many have gone off the benefit round here," she said.
The most employable people leave first welfare first. We will see how effective the reforms are when the harder cases, the intergenerational types, start leaving.

I note too that another important reason for the reduction isn't canvassed (the official line from MSD is economic trend.) That's the falling number of births, especially teenage. This will definitely be having an impact.

Here's the overall 5 year trend picture.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We will see how effective the reforms are

Well at least you agree the "renaming" isn't effective.

We could get all of them off the bludge tomorrow if the government has the well. Brash's "Incredible Luck" lays out a detailed plan for ending welfare once and for all in NZ (including super, the codger-dole!) and the necessary changes to ensure it can never be reintroduced into NZ --- economic policy decisions removed from the Hosue of Reps and placed with those who understand the issues and are responsible to nett taxpayers, not bludgers. The government would then set policy within responsible fiscal boundaries and would not be able to raise taxes or borrow (as Key has done) to fund pointless welfare schemes.