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It’s becoming ever-clearer that the Labour-led Government’s idea of being ‘kind’ and ‘caring’ simply means throwing more money at a problem and hoping it goes away. The idea of incentivising work, and promoting a pathway that is proven to provide a better quality of life simply doesn’t register.

Figures released recently show that dependence on benefits is up by 42% in the Waikato, despite the fact that employers are desperate for workers. This means that fewer people are moving into work, living better lives and sharing in the Waikato economy. The Government continues to claim the economy is strong, but we are just not seeing that translate into more moving into work locally.

Since coming into power, this Government has seen more than 15,000 more Kiwis reliant on a jobseeker benefit. Letting Kiwis languish on benefits is neither kind nor caring. Benefits are a vital safety net, to give a helping hand in times of need – they are not a long term solution for people struggling with the rising cost of living.

Labour’s poor policies have seen the cost of living dramatically increase. Here in the Waikato, the average rent has risen by $42 a week, there are more taxes on petrol and electricity prices are set to rise. Across the board, incomes aren’t going as far as they used to.

National’s priority has always been to incentivise people into work as that is proven to be the best route out of poverty. There will always be those who will need ongoing support, like people on Supported Living Payments due to disability and long-term illness. But we know that long-term reliance on benefits provide poor outcomes. It’s important for people to upskill, develop professionally and remain relevant in the job market. Being out of the workforce for longer makes it harder and harder to dive back in.

I am and will remain aspirational for Kiwis. It’s important we’re all able to live happy and independent lives, and pursue a brighter future. We want Kiwis creating opportunities for them and their families. We know that children in households where parents work go on to lead better lives.

We’ve got plenty of innovative and dynamic employers in the Waikato electorate who want to keep growing their businesses, but this Labour-led Government just isn’t aspirational for Kiwis who could have a brighter future in employment. Where is this Government’s plan to move people into work?

New Zealanders can’t afford this Government.

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