The number of people on the unemployment benefit rose by 974 to 63,059 in July, an increase of 1.6 over the previous month.
The rise accounted for almost all of the increase in the number of overall beneficiaries, which grew by almost 1,176 to 334,000.
The benefit figures come a day after the Household Labour Force Survey showed unemployment jumped sharply to 6.8% in the three months to June.
Social Development and Employment Minister Paula Bennett says unemployment benefit numbers were down in Auckland and Waikato, but up elsewhere.
Ms Bennett says in the past month, 4044 beneficiaries found jobs, but it is clear the recovery is patchy.
The minister says the growth in benefit numbers is slowing, but there is a long way to go yet.