So a couple of days ago we had the numbers from the budget detailing the split of the Ministry of Social Development's spend on welfare. From a total budget of 23 billion, we had 4.4% on the unemployment benefit, 3.4% on the sickness benefit, 5.8 on the invalids benefit and 8.2 on the DPB. As best as I can tell, these are the benefits that are National proposes scrapping and turning into 3 new benefits. That totals 21.8% of the welfare spend. which comes to roughly 5 billion dollars.
Apparently, ditching the old and creating the new benefits will save 1 billion over 4 years. I'm presuming that that means 250 million a year on average rather than 1 billion a year. 250 million a year, out of a spend of 5 billion dollars gives us roughly, a 4% savings. The full benefit is currently about $230 a week. 4% of that being, 9 dollars. That, to a beneficiary, will make a lot more difference than you think, 2-3 meals a week. More problematic I think, is the putting everyone on the sickness benefit into the job seeker benefit. There's plenty of jobs about if you're a java programmer with 6 years experience. Most people aren't though. And there's not enough jobs there for the unemployed, let alone jobs that will be able to cater to the needs of those currently unsuited to full time labour.
In short, as best I can tell, it's a rearranging the deck chairs, the primary purpose being to use the unemployed as a boogie man to wave in front of the voters to distract them from the fact that jobs are not plentiful.