18 May 2012

Extra WINZ staff seen as waste of money

8:03 am on 18 May 2012

Some solo parents on benefits say money being allocated in the Budget for Work and Income case workers should be put into employment incentives.

As part of wide-ranging welfare reforms, the Government will allocate $55 million for 150 extra Work and Income staff.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says it is necessary to spend the money now to save $1 billion in welfare payments later.

But Dunedin solo parent Tara Higgan says the funding for more staff would be better going directly to job training.

Solo father Barry Rumsey, who has just come off the domestic purposes benefit, says Work and Income case workers could work harder, and the money instead be used on incentives for businesses to take on the unemployed.

Otago University social work lecturer Nicola Atwool says she disagrees with much of the reforms but welcomes money being spent on social programmes for long-term gain.

The Budget will be delivered on 24 May.