Radio NZ reports that Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni was on the campaign trail in Christchurch yesterday defending her government’s performance. She said that:
“Her government had seen higher numbers of beneficiaries moving into jobs …”
Yet the numbers on a Jobseeker benefit continue to climb.
Technically her assertion may be true but it’s like someone claiming they’ve been making higher numbers of credit card repayments while continuing to over-use the same card and grow the debt.
Higher numbers may have been moving into jobs, but even higher numbers have been moving onto benefits. It’s the net difference that matters and when she is back in opposition Sepuloni will be using exactly that measure to mount attacks on the government.
FACT: At September 22, 2023 there were 181,167 people on a Jobseeker benefit. In September 2017, just prior to Sepuloni taking up the reins, the number was 120,726. She has overseen a fifty percent increase.
Back to the RNZ report:
“The majority of people went on a benefit for a short time to get a helping hand, Sepuloni said.”
Again, over a given period, this might technically be true but it’s a claim intended to mask the true and worrying situation.
FACT: Three quarters of beneficiaries have been dependent for more than a year and MSD’s annual report shows that average future expected time on a benefit grew from 10.7 years in 2018 to 12.8 years in 2022.
Today Sepuloni is saying:
"I’m proud of the work Labour has done to lift over 77,000 children out of poverty.”
FACT: At September 2017 there were 172,302 children on benefits. By June 2023 that number had grown by 23 percent to sit at 211,617.
Rest assured that whatever Sepuloni would rather sweep under the carpet right now will miraculously become a problem during the 54th New Zealand parliament odds-on to be led by a National/ACT government.
Lindsay Mitchell blogs here