[Sitting date: 08 May 2012. Volume:679;Page:1993. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA (National—Maungakiekie) to the
Minister for Social Development: What recent announcements has she made on the Government’s welfare reforms to support more people off welfare?
Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Development)
: Under Budget 2012 we will provide $287.5 million over the next 4 years for the first phase of the Government’s welfare reforms to support more New Zealanders into work and education. This includes $81.5 million of new upfront funding, with the remainder reprioritised funding from within the Ministry of Social Development. The Government’s welfare changes require significant upfront financial support, and we have made that commitment to ensure fewer people remain trapped on welfare.
Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga: Under these welfare reforms what support will be available for teen parents with children?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: Under Budget 2012 we have allocated $80 million over 4 years available to young parents receiving assistance under this youth package. Of this, $36.1 million will support a new guaranteed childcare assistance payment over the next 4 years, providing childcare for a child to attend an approved early childhood education service. It also includes nearly $44 million to Vote Education to ensure those extra early childhood education places are available.
Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga: How will the new funding support disengaged 16 and 17-year-olds not in education, employment, or training, and how does this compare with what was previously available to support this at-risk group?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: Budget 2012 provides $134.7 million for youth service providers. This increases the funding that previously went into youth services by $75.9 million over 4 years. Youth providers will have unprecedented flexibility to work with these “neet” young people and teen parents to get them either into education, working towards National Certificate of Educational Achievement level 2, or in training. And for the first time, the Ministry of Education will share information with the Ministry of Social Development to stop these young people becoming “neet” long term.
Jacinda Ardern: What evidence does she have to show that $1 billion will be saved by her reforms, or is it what she calls a best guess and therefore as robust as the 170,000 new jobs we are still waiting to be created?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: That is modelling that was done by Treasury and the Ministry of Social Development. They came up with that figure and there are a whole lot of variables to it, so it is a best guess.