Anne Tolley won’t meet her targets, but damn, we need more of her


Anne Tolley has effectively conceded that National is unlikely to meet its objective of moving 65,000 people off the benefit within the next two years.

The Minister for Social Development revealed that while the Government is “working hard to meet the target”, it was merely an “aspirational” ambition – and she also admitted to being “not too worried” by the number of people coming off welfare support.

Thirty-three-thousand people have come off benefits in the last two years, and Ms Tolley says other positives have come out of her ministry’s social investment approach to welfare.

“The biggest success we’ve had, of course, has been with sole parents – we’ve reduced the numbers of parents reliant on a benefit by 25 percent over the last five years,” she said.

“That means those families are now living independently, and we know that’s good for them and we know it’s much better for their children.”

But Ms Tolley, whose interview with TV3’s The Nation aired on Saturday morning, said the 190,000 materially deprived children nationwide don’t all need Government intervention.

Being “materially deprived” means they miss out on five of 13 key measures, such as having more than one pair of shoes, a warm home, and a hot meal every second day.

“You don’t want the state interfering in families in a really intensive way if they don’t need it,” she said.

A hand up, not a hand out. All too rare for National these days, but it is good to see some ministers still remember it.

National’s plan to create the economic conditions to allow people to get off benefits and find jobs has been one of their true successes but, sadly, it doesn’t rate in the media. All they can focus on is that Tolley will miss her own ambitious target.



– Newshub