Acting Social Development Minister Jo Goodhew says the number of people receiving a main benefit has continued to fall year on year, with the latest figures the lowest for any June quarter since 2008.
While numbers in Hawke's Bay and Wairoa have fallen slightly on last June's figures, Central Hawke's Bay and Wairoa have bucked the trend with a slight rise on last June, with 501 people receiving a benefit in CHB as opposed to 485 last June. In Wairoa there are now 1059 beneficiaries, up from last June's 1018.
Hastings District numbers have fallen with 5550 people receiving a benefit, down from last June's 5715 while Napier has 4865 beneficiaries, down from last June's 4881.
Sole parents have shown they are willing and able to move into independence.
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"The number of people receiving a main benefit has fallen by 5172 (or 1.8 per cent) in the last 12 months, with those on Sole Parent Support driving the downward trend," Mrs Goodhew says.
"This is the first quarter since the $790 million Child Hardship Package came into effect, raising benefit rates by $25 a week after tax for those with dependent children, and increasing obligations for sole parents," she says.
"Sole parents have shown they are willing and able to move into independence, with a reduction of 965 in the last quarter, or 3818 in the last year in the numbers receiving Sole Parent Support,' she says.
"All regions saw a fall in this benefit type compared to June 2015, with the strongest reductions in Bay of Plenty, down 9.4 per cent, and Auckland, down 7.3 per cent.
"It's also promising to see a 2.1 per cent reduction in the number of jobseekers with health conditions and disabilities in the last 12 months, as we find better ways to remove the barriers they face to employment," Mrs Goodhew says.
"Last week Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner launched EmployAbility, an extension of the pilot Project 300, which saw 584 people with health conditions and disabilities supported into work.
"Funding in Budgets 2015 and 2016 also means that all sole parents and people with medical conditions have access to intensive, work-focused case management," Mrs Goodhew says.