Working group to consider welfare reform

The government-appointed Welfare Working Group will consider unemployment insurance, similar to that in Canada, among options for reforming the social security system, says the group's chairwoman Paula Rebstock.

But such insurance would need to sit alongside the welfare system and not replace it, the former Commerce Commission chairwoman told Radio New Zealand today.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the Government would not pre-empt the review group's findings.

The group was formed as part of the Government's welfare package announced in March.

Ms Bennett said it would look at the causes and solutions of long-term welfare dependence and would develop options for creating a more sustainable and fair welfare system.

International models were worth investigating, she said.

Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies will host the Welfare Working Group.

Members include academics, employers and community leaders, with Ms Rebstock chairing the group.

They will have their first meeting this month and are expected to report back by December.