Funds for welfare reform

The first phase of the Government's welfare reforms has received $287.5 million, over the next four years.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said welfare reform would "cost more up-front to save over the longer term".

The phase includes $81.5 million of new funding, with the rest coming from reprioritisation.

The second phase would be funded in next year's Budget.

The entire welfare package is expected to cost at least $520 million and save $1 billion over four years.

Included in this year's Budget was $80 million for early childhood education and the Guaranteed Childcare Assistance payment; $55.1 million for 155 dedicated Work and Income staff to support job seekers; $1 million for financial assistance to access long-acting reversible contraception; $1.1 million for Winz's board; and $148.8 million for youth services such as budgeting and parenting courses.

The Government's wider welfare changes include part-time work expectation for sole parents with children older than 5, as well as a sole parent support benefit to replace the domestic purposes benefit.

The first Bill of the reforms is before a select committee.


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