Earlier this week the Minister for Social Development, Ruth Dyson, was reported as being "unconcerned" about the large increase in young people on sickness and invalid benefits, saying the overall increase was "hardly a change at all".
Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell today offered to help the Minister put the statistics for young people in context.
"At the end of October there were 1,250 16-17 year-olds receiving an invalid or sickness benefit. In the United Kingdom, also experiencing a huge problem with dependency on incapacity benefits, there were 6,600 16-17 year-olds on the equivalent benefits."
"The population of the United Kingdom is 15 times greater than New Zealand's yet they have only 5 times as many 16-17 year-olds receiving an incapacity benefit. This difference should alert the Minister to a problem urgently warranting concern - not indifference or complacency."
21 minutes ago