The Labour-NZ First coalition, supported by the Greens, will have a challenging task to stitch up the frayed and neglected welfare safety net.
In 2008, the Catholic foundation Caritas Aotearoa documented the cutbacks that began in 1991 in their report they called The Unravelling of the Welfare Safety Net. By 2008, the welfare state was unrecognisable to those who had grown up in the more benign post-war era and, as Caritas noted, it was no longer performing its traditional role.
They stated in this report: “Beneficiaries and benefit advocates are sounding an alarm that the safety net is unravelling. Caritas believes many people are unaware of changes that have occurred in recent years. More disturbingly, it appears to us that, despite overall increased social spending, many of the changes are fundamentally at odds with the concept of meeting need.”