The Green Party says the growth in unemployment in New Zealand is highlighting flaws in the welfare system.
Under current legislation, people are not entitled to the unemployment benefit if their partner earns more than $534 a week.
Social development spokesperson Sue Bradford says the rules should be eased as many families are facing financial pressure.
Ms Bradford says families who normally survive on two salaries are struggling.
She says the idea that just one parent works is outdated and welfare legislation needs to change to reflect that.
Unitec accounting and finance lecturer Keith Rankin says the welfare system is based on the outdated idea of families being made up of one income and one partner with two or three children.
Mr Rankin says the main benefits should have more of an individual focus.