1 in 5 children born last year had parent on benefit

Figures from the Social Development Ministry show 22% of children born last year had a parent dependent on sickness or unemployment benefits.

Of the 13,634 beneficiaries who became primary caregivers last year, almost half were Maori and half were younger than 25.

Social welfare researcher Lindsay Mitchell says research shows the younger a child is when their parent becomes reliant on a benefit, the more likely they are to rely on welfare themselves in later life.

She says the percentage of children born to parents on benefits has remained relatively steady, regardless of the economic conditions and unemployment rate.

Next story in National: Gwaze jury retires for another night