Working for Families Evaluation

Funded by: New Zealand Ministry of Social Development


December 2004 to June 2005

PSI researchers:

Genevieve Knight

Alan Marsh

Background, summary and aims

The Working for Families package in New Zealand was passed on 26 April 2004. The Working for Families package is the centrepiece of the 2004 Budget. By 2007 the package will provide around $1.1 billion a year in extra financial and in-work assistance to families with dependent children. The changes will be implemented over three years, starting from July 2004.

Working for Families has two objectives in assisting families with dependent children:

  • to increase participation in employment
  • to ensure income adequacy and reduce poverty, especially child poverty.

These objectives will be achieved through the following components:

  • Family Income Assistance and the In-Work Payment initiatives
  • Childcare Assistance improvements
  • Accommodation Supplement initiatives
  • Invalid's benefit changes
  • Special benefit changes
  • Consequential changes to other social assistance.

While WFF is focused on assisting families, many of changes will also affect people without children (eg assistance for housing costs).

The study focuses on the Working for Families package. It will effectively produce relevant benchmarks for WFF. The preliminary report will outline the range of methods and approaches suitable to measure the effectiveness of the implementation of welfare reform initiatives or welfare policy changes that are broadly analogous to the WFF package. The second report will be a literature review. As well as illustrating relevant evidence against which the WFF can be benchmarked, the review of empirical evidence will indicate ways in which future evaluations and integrative reviews can be strengthened.

Related publications / project outputs

New Zealand Working For Families programme: Methodological considerations for evaluating MSD programmes