John Key has just delivered a speech, where he outlines National’s Benefits Policy. A summary is in this press release, and also they have released the full 11 page background paper. Very pleased to see the full papers released.
So the major aspects:
- Paid work is the best way to reduce child poverty
- A part-time work obligation on DPB recipients whose youngest child is six or older
- A part-time work obligation on those (5,600) sickness and invalids beneficiaries who have been assessed as capable of working part-time
- No work for the dole
- Any long-term unemployed (one year or more) will have to reapply for the benefit and undergo a comprehensive work assessment
- Case Managers to be given more options rather than just stopping benefit payments, such as a graduated reduction as an interim sanction
- Increase in the earnings threshold before abatement from $80 a week to $100 a week
- Anyone on the sickness benefit for more than a year will be sent to a designated doctor for an assessment
- CPI adjustments to benefits to be enshrined in law (as it is for Super) rather than merely being convention
- Those who frequently need benefit advances to attend (at taxpayer expense) a budget advisory service to help them manage
Looks to me a very good moderate policy, with the right mixture of carrots and sticks. The left all too often go all carrot and no stick, while the right do all stick and no carrot.