10 Apr 2012

One in five Kawerau residents on a benefit

8:51 am on 10 April 2012

The mayor of Kawerau says he is trying to deter more beneficiaries from moving to the North Island town which already has the highest percentage of working age residents on benefits in the country.

Ministry of Social Development (MSD) figures show 1324 of the town's residents are working-age beneficiaries.

That would equate to 19% of the population of 6940.

The Far North has the second highest percentage of people on welfare at 13.75% followed by Wairoa, Whanganui, and Gisborne.

Mayor Malcolm Campbell says that while there are jobs in the town, many are taken by people who live in nearby centres.

He says some beneficiaries move to Kawerau because it's a very cheap place to live.

"We're working at present with MSD and suchlike to try and make sure this is an exclusion area - that they just can't move here."

Mr Campbell says anyone wanting to move to Kawerau would know they would not get a job.