There are 250 fewer people on a benefit in the Western Bay of Plenty compared to this time last year.

Figures released today showed nationally there were 284,260 people on benefit at the end of the March 2015 quarter, a drop of 11,060, or 3.7 per cent, compared to a year ago. The figures are the lowest since March 2009.

Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller said he welcomed the release of the latest figures which showed the 250 person drop in the Western Bay of Plenty in this quarter compared to the same time last year.

"Nationally the number of people on benefits is the lowest we've seen since 2009, I'm proud that here in the Bay of Plenty we are supporting the effort," Mr Muller said.

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"Moving from welfare into work means a better life, better opportunities, and a brighter future for Bay of Plenty people and their families. There is however still more work to be done and we are continuing to help people into work by making available, childcare assistance, training, workplace support, and access to health and disability support services."

Mr Muller said the Government was working to provide a hand-up rather than a hand-out "to empower those wanting to work".