Our social security system does not sit in isolation. Improving outcomes for people on low incomes or in some way receiving support from the welfare system requires a cross-government response. Currently, being on a benefit and/or in poverty often has a detrimental long-term impact on wellbeing for adults and children.
The reasons people receive welfare support are multifaceted, often involving a complex interplay between social, economic, psychological and biomedical factors. The social security system alone cannot prevent or mitigate these factors. What occurs in other parts of the social sector influences who comes into the welfare system and the outcomes for individuals and families supported by this system. Improving outcomes for people receiving support from the welfare system through the use of evidence-informed investments across the social sector now will benefit individuals and families and potentially save money in the longer term.
A significant group of individuals and families experience multiple and long-term disadvantage needing interactions with several government systems. They require a responsive, person-centred, cohesive system of support to improve outcomes. The lack of coordination between government services was a common theme throughout our consultation.
Several reviews and changes are under way or are about to start that could consider how to improve circumstances for people on low incomes or receiving support in some way from the social security system.
Our review contributes to a myriad of evidence about the need for fundamental change and to effect a whakamana tāngata approach to social security – an approach that gives people hope for their future. Nō reira, kia manawanui, kia piki ake te mana tangata.