Lindsay Mitchell has a look through the Cabinet Papers for the proposed welfare policy changes. She points to this bit (see p.2):
12. A significant number of sole parent beneficiaries give birth to additional children while on a benefit. In 2010, 4,800 newborns (7.5 per cent of all live births) were included in the benefit of an existing Domestic Purposes Benefit client. The on-benefit birth rate has trended up since 1997, from under 35 births per 1,000 women receiving Domestic Purposes Benefit - Sole Parent in 1997 to over 50 per 1,000 women receiving DPB-SP in 2010.
13. As at November 2011, 26,000 women receiving DPB (29 per cent of clients) had included additional newborn children in their benefit at least once since 1993:
- 20 per cent who had a subsequent child included once (multiple births count as one event)
- six per cent who had a subsequent child included twice
- two per cent who had a subsequent child included three times
- one per cent who had a subsequent child included four or more times.
14. Parents who have additional children on benefit are an at risk group:About 900 women, while on the DPB, had four or more additional children.
- over 90 per cent are single (annual average - see Annex to Paper C for a more detailed breakdown)
- among DPB sole parents, those who have subsequent children on benefit are more likely to:
- have been on the DPB from a young age
- have started on the DPB with a newborn (rather than having exited a relationship with a child)
- have no record of having been employed before, after or during spells on benefit.
The full set of papers is here. Here's Lindsay's prior report for the NZBR, 2009, on welfare.
I'm not from here, but I'd be surprised if it ever were the intention of those who established the DPB that it be anything but a last rung of support for women and children abandoned by deadbeat husbands from whom payment orders were non-collectable. Nor would I expect strong current voter support for a system that yields these kinds of outcomes.
Lindsay has been pushing this file for ages; part of the impetus for fixing things is due to her efforts. Even getting the stats out seems like a victory.