Amy is the head of news for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Editorial: Safety net is not the norm

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Amy Wiggins.
Amy Wiggins.

New Zealand has one of the best social welfare systems in the world.

I'm proud that we have systems in place that mean everyone can get a hand when they are in need. There are benefits for sickness, for those who can't find work, for solo parents, the list goes on.

It's great that we can help out those who are struggling.

You don't get a lot of money when you are on a benefit, but it is enough to help you afford a place to live and buy food to survive.

And that is how it should be.

Yesterday it was announced benefit numbers throughout the country had fallen by 4369 in the year to March 2016.

That's great news. We should be doing all we can to encourage those who are able to work back into the work force. I agree with most of the conditions the National Government has imposed on beneficiaries. If you receive a benefit because you have no work, you should have to prove you are actively trying to find work. It makes sense.

There would be no one working and paying taxes if you could live on a benefit forever with no obligation to find a job.

Solo parents are a slightly different story. The Government recently changed the law to mean solo parents must start looking for part-time work from when their child turns 3, rather than 5.

I am all for parents staying at home with their kids but more and more these days that is not possible for families with two parents and I don't think it should be different for solo parents. Solo parents only have to find 20 hours work a week. That leaves plenty of time to spend with your children and it also sets a good example for them as they grow up.

We need to instil in our children the expectation that they will have to find work once they finish their studies, whatever level that is. Seeing your parents going to work every day to earn money to support the family sets that example and shows it is the norm.

We should all do our bit and strive to be able to support ourselves without a hand from the Government. I'm glad we have such comprehensive social welfare but it should be seen only as a safety net for when things go wrong.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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