27 Mar 2012

Welfare legislation passes first vote in Parliament

9:04 pm on 27 March 2012

Legislation that the Government says will help reduce welfare dependancy has survived its first vote in Parliament.

The Social Security (Youth Support and Work Focus) Amendment Bill passed its first reading by 64 votes to 57.

The bill creates tougher work tests for parents on the Domestic Purposes Benefit.

Under the legislation people aged between 16 and 18 will have their rent and utilities deducted from their benefit and paid directly, and will receive a payment card for food and groceries.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the Government wants to make welfare less attractive to many young people.

She says too many are on benefits for too long.

Labour Party deputy leader Grant Robertson says rather than focusing on a culture of blame, the Government needs to take responsibility for creating jobs.