While young working families got treats in the Budget, there
was nothing extra for beneficiaries' pockets - the key
welfare announcement was an extra $25 million a year to help
get beneficiaries back into work.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the $100
million funding package over four years would help provide
8,000 places in job and work-readiness programmes, as well as
work more intensively with those with complex needs.
The extra funding was on top of the $187 million in last
year's Budget aimed at driving the welfare reforms through.
Ms Bennett said those reforms meant benefit payments were now
$320 million less than forecast in 2011.
Under the reforms, more beneficiaries are work-tested and
face more obligations to return to work or risk having their
The most controversial change was for sole parents to return
to work when their youngest child was school age.
Ms Bennett said the welfare reforms meant there were now
15,000 fewer people on benefits and there were 29,500 fewer
children living in benefit-dependent homes than two years
A $33.2 million package of funding will be used for the
Children's Action Plan, set up by Social Development Minister
Paula Bennett to address child abuse and neglect.
The package includes $16.4 million for new services and
greater monitoring of children considered to be at risk of
abuse or neglect. A further $13.7 million will go to Child,
Youth and Family to better support children in state care and
those with high needs.
The Budget also included funding for the Ministry of Social
Development's new role in managing state house tenants'
housing needs, including undertaking 'tenancy reviews' and
shifting tenants into other housing if they no longer meet
the criteria for a state house.
The new 'tenancy reviews' will begin in July and the Ministry
of Social Development was given $8 million for a fund to help
state house tenants move into alternative housing (such as by
paying a bond or moving costs.) The department got about $81
million from the proceeds of the asset sales in the Future
Investment Fund to set up its systems for its new
responsibility of conducting those reviews, doing housing
assessments, and managing social housing providers.
A further $30 million has gone to the social housing fund,
which provides grants to increase the size of the social
Whanau Ora Minister Tariana Turia said she was pleased with
the initiatives for low income families which would benefit
They ranged from free doctors' visits for under 13s, to an
expansion of the rheumatic fever programme to include free
drop-in clinics for 90,000 more children, as well as
expanding the healthy homes initiative.
Ms Turia also secured a further $15 million over three years
to fund those who work with families under the Whanau Ora
programme she set up. She said the programme had so far
worked with 6000 families - more than 45,000 individuals. The
Budget also includes a $10 million contestable fund to
develop Maori sports.
- $100 million to get beneficiaries back into work
- $33.2 million for work with vulnerable children at risk of
abuse or neglect
- $81 million to manage state house portfolio, including new
- $15 million for Whanau Ora 'navigators' working with low
- $10 million contestable fund for Maori sporting and