[Sitting date: 09 May 2012. Volume:679;Page:2078. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
Hon TAU HENARE (National) to the
Minister for Social Development: How will Budget 2012 provide greater support for young people most at risk of long-term welfare dependency?
Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Development)
: Brilliant question! Changes in Budget 2012 will support those young people most at risk: teen parents and those 16 and 17-year-olds who are either on benefit or not in education, employment, or training. We have allocated $148.8 million over 4 years to ensure these young people are in education, training, or work-based learning. This includes putting a youth provider alongside each individual to wrap around support. We will expect providers to ensure those people attend classes, receive budgeting advice, and attend parenting courses.
Hon Tau Henare: What reports has she received to indicate public support for these measures?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: Quite extensive for those measures, and also for the call to remove some of the barriers to beneficiaries being able to access contraception. From some of the polls that I have seen—and I have seen three of them—on Stuff 85 percent thought it is a great idea—
Grant Robertson: Oh yes, Stuff—that well-known scientific poll!
Hon PAULA BENNETT: Well, I say to that member that nearly 20,000 people responded to that poll, which is actually more than respond to the household labour force survey. The
New Zealand Herald
itself had an 85 percent favourable response to that one, and
Campbell Live last night had 82 percent in favour.
Hon Tau Henare: What new measures are there that will support young teenagers on benefits to make better choices?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: We have introduced money management using redirections and a payment card to ensure these young people learn how to manage their costs. I make no apologies for this kind of hands-on approach. The previous Government’s hands-off one simply has not worked. We have also introduced incentive payments. We will pay a young person on a benefit an extra $10 per week for each of these if, for 6 months, they have been in education, training, or work-based learning; they have completed a budgeting programme; or, for young parents, they have completed a parenting programme, have enrolled with a primary health organisation, and have up-to-date well child checks for their children.
Jacinda Ardern: Why, under her new reforms, would a woman on an income of $288 a week pay $480 for long-term contraception like Mirena, while a woman receiving the same amount per week but through the benefit system will pay nothing?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: Because we have targeted it at those who are on a benefit.
Jacinda Ardern: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think the answer that the Minister gave was implied in the question. That obviously was not what I was asking. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I am on my feet. With respect, the answer seemed perfectly clear to me—that the Minister’s objective was to target beneficiaries. That is the difference.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Given the questioner’s wraparound support for the Minister and his peerless support for the National Government, did the Minister receive any representations from the questioner about how aghast he was at the attack the Minister received yesterday from her Associate Minister Tariana Turia on this issue?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: I am sorry; my Associate Minister may have opinions, but she is actually not bound to agree with everything that I do.