The Government has announced plans for a “single core benefit”, which will “dramatically reduce the time spent on administration, allowing case managers to focus more on moving people from dependency to work,” said Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.
The single benefit will cover solo parents, those with sick or infirmed dependents, older women living alone, widows, invalids, the sick and the unemployed, but will exclude those who are studying.
“Student support will not be part of the single core benefit,” said Maharey. “Student Allowances are administered under the Education Act rather than the Social Security Act, so legislatively this would be complex. There are also very different provisions for students working while on an allowance compared to beneficiaries.”
The New Zealand University Students’ Association called on the Government to extend the single benefit to all tertiary students, effectively implementing a universal living allowance.
A universal allowance for students would “dramatically reduce the time spent on administration,” said NZUSA Co-president Andrew Kirton, and would “allow students to focus on their study instead of where the next meal is coming from.”