Media Release by Hon Kevin Andrews MP

New Zealand Waiting Period for Benefits

In New Zealand, a person who applies for unemployment benefits has a 20 working-day period in which to complete required activities like prepare a resume and attend a job seminar.

When I visited New Zealand earlier this year to learn more about the social security system there, this was commonly referred to – by Ministers and Government officials – as the one-month waiting period.

If an applicant does not complete required activities within this time, their benefit claim lapses and typically, some job seekers wait several weeks before receiving a payment.

This means job seekers are asked to show that they are genuine about looking for work before they receive a benefit.

According to the Ministry of Social Development Annual Report 2012-13, almost 40 per cent of job seekers who participated in pre-benefit activities did not go on to benefits.

By comparison, in Australia 30 per cent of Newstart recipients move off payment within 3 months and 50 per cent move off within 6 months.

I stand by my comments that in New Zealand, applicants can wait a month to receive payments and that this policy has helped divert people away from welfare and into work.

For details on the New Zealand system go to