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Report: Youth service and money management in New Zealand: Preliminary research findings

Youth service and money management in New Zealand: Preliminary research findings - 11 December 2018

A research output from ‘Conditional welfare: A comparative study of compulsory income management policies’

A new report by CPAG Associate, Dr Louise Humpage (University of Auckland), highlights how young people are still being targeted by punitive policies of Money Management that were introduced by the previous government. As part of the Youth Service established in 2012, Young Parent Payment and Youth Payment recipients lose full control over their income, with most of it being redirected to landlords or placed on a Payment Card that can only be used at certain suppliers and never to buy alcohol, cigarettes or electronic goods.  Yet the report - based on interviews with payment recipients, Youth Service providers and welfare advocates - highlights that the assumption that all young people are poor money managers is simply not true and Money Management puts some young people at risk of exploitation by landlords, their families or suppliers willing to ignore the rules.

Non-government Youth Service providers are contracted to support Youth Payment and Young Parent Payment recipients in meeting their educational, parenting and budgeting course obligations and receive performance payments when they do so (young people also $10pw incentive payments when such goals are achieved).  While many providers are working hard to support young people, they find the compliance framework that drives the Youth Service gets in the way of youth development goals. The report also highlights that delays and efficiency issues at the Youth Service Support Unit, which makes final decisions on Youth Payments and Young Parent Payments based on recommendations from providers, are impacting on young people and the children that many of them care for.  The report recommendations suggest Money Management be abandoned, the Youth Service to be reoriented so youth development goals are its main focus and big improvements are needed at the Youth Service Support Unit.‚Äč

Download the report here.