Expert Group to advise on Welfare System improvements

Wellington, May 28, 2018

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has announced the formation of an expert advisory group to support the overhaul of the welfare system.

She issued the following statement this morning.

Welfare System overhaul

This Government is committed to overhauling the welfare system to ensure it is accessible and fair for all New Zealanders.

An overhaul of the welfare system was initiated as part of our confidence and supply agreement with The Green Party and is unreservedly supported by all of Government.

The Welfare Expert Advisory Group has been asked to undertake a broad-ranging review of the welfare system. It will deliver advice to the Government on ways to ensure people have an adequate income and standard of living, are treated with respect, can live in dignity, and are able to participate meaningfully in their communities.

Areas of focus

Areas that the Welfare Expert Advisory Group has been asked to focus on range from considering the overall purpose of the system, through to specific recommendations on the current obligations and sanctions regime.

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Cindy Kiro today as Chair of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group. Her relentless focus on building on the potential in people reflects the principles of this government.

The welfare system touches the lives of New Zealanders from all walks of life.

Diverse Group

I am pleased that the Welfare Expert Advisory Group members themselves come from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience, including but not limited to Mori, Pacific, disabled, and young people.

Every member will bring their own unique skills and expertise including experience of advocacy in the welfare system, economics, health, business and research and analysis. Its also important to me that the Group includes members with lived experience of the welfare system.

The Welfare Expert Advisory Group will deliver its advice to the Government in February 2019. I am looking forward to receiving the Groups recommendations.

Greens Welcome
Under-Secretary Jan Logie said that the Greens welcome the establishment of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group.

This Government knows there are immediate changes we need to make to our welfare system, which we are working on. But we also need to take a long term view and ensure the whole system is working effectively and compassionately.

Too many New Zealanders are stigmatised and trapped in poverty because of our welfare system. The advisory group will help us ensure every New Zealander can flourish.

Minister Tracey Martin said that the Working Group would be a great support to the much needed overhaul of the welfare system.

Having a range of experienced perspectives outside of government contributing to the Governments vision in this sector is crucial to getting it right and delivering better outcomes for New Zealanders, she said.

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