Labour never did this, and National simply don’t get enough credit

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says that the number of teen mums requiring a benefit has fallen significantly since 2009, alongside increased government support to help them and their families lead independent and successful lives.

There were 57 per cent fewer young mums on main benefits at the end of 2016 compared to 2009, down from 4,263 to 1,836.

Teen parents have some of the highest lifetime costs of any group on welfare, going on to spend more than 17 years on benefits.

“We want to see young families thrive, rather than relying on benefits,” says Mrs Tolley.

“If we can give young mums opportunities to be independent and successful then that will mean better lives for their children. We know that kids who grow up in benefit-dependent homes are more likely themselves to go on to a benefit, are more likely to be notified to CYF and are less likely to achieve NCEA Level 2.

“The Youth Service has been supporting young sole parents into training and education and helping them prepare for employment, while also offering budgeting and parenting skills.

“Budget 2016 invested an additional $41 million into this service to extend it to 19 year old parents.

“We are getting in early and working for longer with the young people who need this intensive support. They deserve opportunities to learn important skills to help prepare them for employment. It benefits them and their families and also reduces the future cost for taxpayers.”

Every one of those statistics represents many lives improved. ?First, by not getting pregnant in the first place. ?Second, by working hard on making sure one mistake does not become a lifestyle.

Labour would just have given them more money. ?National worked hard to give these girls a future.

This is where National has really been solid and done the job better than anyone before. ?Pity it is spoilt by a lack of focus in other policy areas.