Work and Income paid for six people to travel to Australia to take up jobs this year at a cost of $4600, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has confirmed.

But she said there were 16 such cases under the Labour Government in 2007.

Yesterday Ms Bennett admitted Winz had paid for airfares in response to questions in Parliament by Labour's Jacinda Ardern who said she had been told about a meeting where Work and Income managers had confirmed such assistance had been given.

Her ministry was still going through figures for 2008 to 2011, she said.


Ms Bennett said she was advised yesterday afternoon that payments for flights to Australia had been granted under the transition to work grant scheme.

Winz case managers would now be told that paying for any overseas airfares was not acceptable.

"I will be removing any ambiguity in the programme via direction to the chief executive,'' she said.

The average grant payment is $363 a week and can be used for clothing costs for an interview or childcare costs for an interview.

- With New Zealand Herald