More New Zealanders receiving hardship assistance

By Jessica Tyson

The number of New Zealander's receiving hardship assistance has increased, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today.

She says the rise is due to the ongoing challenges for people seeking affordable accommodation.

“We know that many people are still struggling with finding somewhere to live, and the Ministry of Social Development is continuing to help many families with emergency housing grants.”

The percentage of the working-age population receiving a main benefit has also remained the same as it was a year ago, at 9.4 per cent.

There’s been a decrease in benefits in some regions including Northland and East Coast that are experiencing growth and locals are getting into jobs.

“Changes in the Auckland and Christchurch labour markets, particularly in the construction sector, were largely responsible for an increase in people on the Jobseeker Support," says the minister.

“We expect when large projects like Kiwibuild start to really ramp up, we’ll have the right supply of workers with the right skills to fill jobs.”