Unemployment in Rotorua dropping

By Cherie Taylor

Unemployment and benefit numbers are slowly dropping in Rotorua.

Latest figures released by the Ministry of Social Development show at the end of December 2012 there were five fewer people on the dole in Rotorua than in December 2011 and 140 fewer people on any type of benefit for the same period.

Rotorua MP Todd McClay said he believed the reduction was a result of two things - legislation introduced by the Government to get more people off benefits and into jobs and a dedicated team at Work and Income who worked tirelessly to support people into work.

New welfare policies were having a positive impact on benefit numbers, Mr McClay said.

"We have put in a number of plans and welfare reforms to encourage people and support people to get back into the work force ... we have an evolving job market out there at the moment," he said.

Some of those reforms include requiring domestic purposes beneficiaries to be in part-time work or training when their child turns 4 and full-time work when their youngest child turns 14. "They have obligations."

Last month, Mr McClay said he met with local ministry staff who told him people were serious about getting work. In return, many Rotorua families were benefiting with more money to survive on, he said.

"People have been working towards entering the workforce ... We have to realise we are fortunate because the recession didn't hit the Bay of Plenty as hard as predicted.

"The benefit numbers could have been much higher ... We have a dedicated team in Work and Income with a new approach to working with people. Yes, times have been very difficult but people are seeing work as the way forward and the benefits of being employed. Working improves life for our families."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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