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ACT Welfare Reform Policy

Goal

All New Zealanders are provided with the opportunity and means to look after themselves.

Background

The original intent of the welfare state was to act as a safety net and a base from which people in need to could be helped to re-enter productive society. Today that system has become a monstrous perversion of the original, with thousands of "lifestyle" beneficiaries living off the incomes of the productive in society. After many years and unimaginable sums of money, problems of disadvantage and poverty have not gone away.

  • Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders are locked into dependency.
  • The welfare system hurts the poor more than anyone else and fails to deliver goods and services which actually help people change their circumstances.
  • The welfare system rewards dysfunction and single parent families
  • The majority of New Zealanders have no savings and thereby no sense of ownership.
  • People are living in inadequate housing.
  • The poor end up at the bottom of waiting lists in public hospital queues and live in neighbourhoods which are subject to higher rates of crime.
  • Maori are over-represented (by approximately 400 percent) in poor outcomes - education, health and welfare.
  • There are too many immigrants on welfare.
  • Bad parenting has negative flow on effects for the next generation.
  • Boredom, low self-esteem, alienation, drug abuse and high youth suicide clearly apparent.
  • Monopoly supply in welfare products and social services and therefore no choice.
  • Hardcore welfare problems continue to increase.
  • 80 percent of retired people have little income beyond that provided by government.
  • Huge increase in middle-class welfare under the current Labour Government.

Principles

Self Reliance and Personal Responsibility

  • Tax/benefit/welfare/savings reform is needed to encourage self-reliance and reduce dependency in retirement.
  • Each generation should provide for themselves to the maximum extent possible.
  • Assist and reward effort and, in a broader sense, self-help, participation and dignity.
  • Avoid creating severe disincentives for employment.
  • Tax collection and payment systems should be such that they minimise interference with people's lives and choices.

Economic Opportunity

  • Economic growth is the only way to get the gains that are needed in living standards and opportunities for all New Zealanders, in particular, low-income working families.
  • Whether economic growth brings more jobs depends on the flexibility of the labour market.
    Labour market reform is needed to create more jobs.
  • System to be fiscally sound i.e. sustainable.
  • Eliminate poverty traps, as far as possible.

Competition and Contestability

  • People should have a choice as to what social services they buy and from whom.
  • Remove the politicians as far away from social policy delivery as possible.

A commonsense approach to implementing these principles would involve the following:

  • A recognition that government funding of welfare is no longer sound and that government will continue to make promises to New Zealanders that it cannot keep.
  • That we need to fix welfare "once and for all". A permanent solution, not more short-term fixes.
  • Solving the growing tensions between the generations as spending on the elderly is set to explode.
  • Tax reform that encourages savings and self-provision.
  • A close look at New Zealand's adoption laws.
  • Require paternity establishment for children receiving government assistance.
  • Provide incentives to encourage constructive behaviour.

ACT Welfare Reform policy detail is included in the following Policy documents:

  • Superannuation
  • Risk Insurance for accidents, sickness and healthcare
  • Welfare
  • Labour market
  • Housing
  • Government Expenditure
  • Taxation
  • Families at Risk



If you believe that all New Zealanders deserve the opportunity, choices and incentives to take personal responsibility for their lives, then give ACT your Party vote.