Big Changes in Welfare

John Key and Paula Bennett have announced big changes in Welfare this morning at the National party conference.

Key Points:

  • Changes to Privacy Act and Education Act ?to ensure that:
    • Schools are required to inform the Government when 16-17 year olds leave during?the?year and
    • The Ministries of Education and Social Development will be able to share information they have on those young people

Additionally?National will introduce:

  • Changes to benefit system to stop handing over cash:
    • Essential costs such as rent and power will be paid directly
    • Money for basic living costs such as food and groceries will be pre-loaded onto a payment card that can only be used to buy certain types of goods and cannot be used to buy things like alcohol and cigarettes
    • Small amount allowable for discretionary spending only
  • Young people in receipt of those payments will have to be in education, training or work-based learning
  • Government will fund support providers such as NGOs to assist in intensive case management and mentoring

The changes will be introduced to parliament to take effect in early 2012.

I think that this policy is going to go down very will indeed with middle New Zealand, very well indeed. It certainly shows that they are now prepared to grasp the welfare nettle.

Middle New Zealand will understand this policy far more easily than Labour’ bombed capital gains tax policy. Middle New Zealand understands that welfare hasn’t been working and that changes are needed. National is clearly grabbing and locking in that middle ground for this election.