People who do not want to work for money lest it interrupt their day are in the minority, according to Love Soup's Gina Peiffer.

Peiffer believes the Working for Your Country scheme proposed by newly appointed Minister for Regional Economic Development Shane Jones would be a success if it meant people were able to earn enough money to live.

"If they earned enough to meet the exorbitant rents, increased food prices and rising power costs then yes, I believe that they'd all be for it," Peiffer said.

"But if they're no better off financially than what they are on the dole, why would they be in favour?"


She said Love Soup had helped a lot of Rotorua residents into jobs and homes.

"Once we've addressed the homelessness, we then look to employment and sustainability, and almost everyone wants to work.

"The people who don't are a minority."

She said she had concerns about how the scheme would be policed once established.

As part of the scheme, Jones is planning to take four projects to Cabinet before Christmas which, he says, will give beneficiaries a chance to stop "sitting on the couch" and work for minimum wage in industries such as tree planting, riparian planting or developing railway tourism.

He has also suggested welfare payments be cut if beneficiaries refuse to take part in the new scheme.

Jones has described the scheme as a work-for-the dole scheme but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said the terminology is wrong because people would be paid a legal wage.

Rotorua beneficiary advocate Paul Blair said it was his personal opinion work-for-the-dole-schemes had been tried, and had failed, in New Zealand.

"We [New Zealanders] have been down the road of work-for-dole schemes before. The concept is flawed and has been proven to be of no assistance in getting people off the benefit and into full-time permanent employment."

However, Blair said working for a minimum wage was an entirely different concept and one he would support.

"I have no objection to people working for minimum wage. It would be better if it was a living wage but minimum wage makes more sense than people working for what I believe is a sustenance payment.

"That would equate to slave labour."

Waiariki Labour MP Tamati Coffey said he was unsure about the New Zealand First Working for Your Country scheme but Labour had a Ready to Work policy and was committed to doing everything it could to get young people off the benefit and into employment.

"Under Labour's Ready for Work policy, all young people who have been on Jobseeker's Allowance in the Work Ready category for six months will be offered full-time employment for six months on environmental and community projects," Coffey said.

"Ready for Work jobs will pay at least the minimum wage. Mentors employed by WINZ will assist in their training and work preparedness. This job experience will allow young people to make a valuable contribution to the community and earn an income, as well as fostering a work ethic and making them more attractive to employers."