Anti-poverty campaigners and politicians have attacked a proposed overhaul of New Zealand's welfare system as a "radical" and "dirty" attack on beneficiaries.

The Welfare Working Group Report was released on February 22 - the day of the Christchurch earthquake - with the aim of reducing New Zealand's long term welfare bill.

Among its recommendations were calls to issue long acting contraception to help beneficiaries "manage their fertility" and force mothers with babies as young as 14 weeks to look for work.

All existing benefits would be scrapped and replaced with a single Jobseeker Support payment, with three-quarters of all beneficiaries required to look for work.

Auckland Action Against Poverty spokeswoman Sue Bradford said the report was a "dirty" attack on beneficiaries and compared some of its recommendations to the policies of Nazi Germany.

"While some of its recommendations are very much in line with what we expected, others, such as forcing beneficiaries with babies as young as 14 weeks out to work, and foisting 'long acting reversible contraception' on vulnerable teenagers take the totalitarian approach to a whole new level," Ms Bradford said.

"I'm beginning to think they've been looking to Nazi Germany for inspiration, with their underpinning 'work makes free' philosophy, attempted eugenic control of a portion of the population, and its potential racist implications for Maori."

Green Party co-leader Meteria Turei said the "radical" report amounted to an attack on beneficiaries.

Placing all unemployed on a Jobseeker allowance - with no guarantee sickness or invalid beneficiaries would be funded at the same level - amounted to benefit cuts, she said.

She called for more focus to be put on job creation.

"This report is absurd in a climate of rising unemployment and returning recession. We need real job creation and a focus on compassion and support at this time, not an all-out attack on beneficiaries."

Her statements were echoed by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU).

Its welfare spokeswoman Eileen Brown said the report's focus should have been on creating extra jobs rather than getting people off benefits.

Welfare Working Group chair Paula Rebstock said implementing the report's 43 recommendations would reduce the total number of beneficiaries from 360,000 to 260,000 and lower the Government's forward liability from $47 billion to $34 billion by 2021.

"The social and economic costs of the current New Zealand welfare system are unacceptably high and the potential benefits of reform are so significant that fundamental change is needed.

"Enabling people to move into paid work reduces poverty and improves outcomes for key at-risk groups, including young people, sole parents, disable people and those who are sick."

Making people find work would have a positive impact on their future, she said.

"The Welfare Working Group is confident that if the reform package is implemented effectively, it will have a positive impact on many individuals, their families and the wider community."

Prime Minister John Key has signalled the Government would pick up some of Welfare Working Group proposals, including a requirement for sole parents with no children under 3 to look for 20 hours of paid work each week.

"That makes sense because it ties up with the Government's 20 free hours," he said. The state pays for 20 hours of free early childhood education from age 3."