National expects to sanction more beneficiaries - minister

New Social Development Minister Louise Upston and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon pictured in April 2023. File photo / Dan Hutchinson / NZME

National has confirmed plans to go after more beneficiaries it claims are not doing enough to help themselves.

Social Development Minister Louise Upston, speaking to Q+A on Sunday, said she’s expecting many more beneficiaries to face sanctions.

“I would expect it to increase. It’s a consequence of people not taking actions to help themselves.

“We now have 190,000 people on Jobseeker benefit - 67,000 more than six years ago.”

Upston’s placed the blame for “entrenched welfare dependency” squarely on the former Labour government, accusing them of “absolute blowing out of welfare dependency,” she’s told Q+A.

“I don’t think that’s good enough.”

Labour leader Chris Hipkins is on record as saying “harsher sanctions don’t work”, arguing that National’s plan will “simply result in more children living in poverty because that’s what happened last time”.

Meanwhile, the Green Party, speaking to the issue during the run-up to the election, described National’s approach as “deliberately and heartlessly choosing to make life harder for thousands of people”.