Policy report

Further fraying of the welfare safety net

14 Dec 2017

New Zealand’s welfare system has undergone a major transformation during the past three decades. This process has seriously thwarted the original intent of the system, which was to provide a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders in times of need, says Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

In 2008, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand commissioned the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation of New Zealand to examine and document changes to the welfare state since 1991. Their report, The unravelling of the welfare safety net, painted a picture of cumulative attacks that by 2008 had seriously undermined the welfare state’s original purpose.

To update this picture, this report, Further fraying of the welfare safety net, documents other damaging changes to the welfare system since 2008.

The intent of this publication is to highlight the key changes and identify themes in the continued, systematic reduction of social welfare and income support for children since 2008. The focus is on changes to welfare benefits, the Working for Families (WFF) package, and social security legislation and regulation. Housing, health, and education policies have also profoundly reinforced the trends in welfare assistance, but are not in scope for this report.


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