Brief History Most of today’s working-age benefits were created in 1938 and were intended to be social insurance. Payment of a compulsory dedicated social security tax conferred eligibility. A discretionary emergency benefit was available but generally, contribution accorded entitlement. In the 1960s the social security tax was abolished and cash transfers were thereafter funded from general taxation. After a merger between Child Welfare (previously the responsibility of the Education Ministry) and Social Security in the early seventies, the Social Welfare Department emerged. The 1972 Royal Commission on Social Policy added to the conceptual redefinition of social security as ‘social welfare’ which guaranteed ‘belonging and participation in society’ regardless of prior contribution or reasons why the individual found themselves in need.
Thus today social security/welfare (the major governing act is still the Social Security Act 1964) has become rather more of a hardship-alleviating redistribution scheme than an insurance policy. Certainly there are thousands of claimants who have never made a financial contribution from earned income. And there are thousands of non-claimants who have made significant contributions but effectively have no entitlement. The recent recession has made this painfully apparent to those who have experienced redundancy only to find they do not qualify for an unemployment benefit.
This website intends to shine light on social security and welfare reform. The current welfare system is unsustainable economically, socially and morally. This site is also intended to be a resource for people interested in welfare reform. Please acknowledge the source of any material you use from this site. Thank you.