As New Zealand continues to battle against the coronavirus pandemic, similar to the rest of the world, a report the Ministry of Social Development highlighted that benefit claims were up by 12% during the first month of lockdown.
The report claimed, “This increase corresponded with the strict alert level 4 restrictions and significant reductions in global demand,” which began on March 25th.
The Ministry noted “that this period includes the global financial crisis and the Asian crisis” and saw the biggest monthly rise in 24 years.
Despite being highly praised for its handling of the pandemic, New Zealand economy was still affected, with economists suggesting that unemployment could rise as high as 26%.
New Zealand had fewer than 2,000 cases of the virus, with only 22 casualties.
“In the current downturn, the percentage increase in unemployment-related benefit receipt was higher for New Zealand Europeans than Māori or Pacific people. Likely reflecting how Māori and Pacific people are over-represented in benefit numbers to begin with,” the report said.
It is not yet clear as for when the number of claims will peak but the noted rise in numbers was “unprecedented in modern history”.
Currently, the unemployment benefit provides households with a weekly NZ$250 for every person.
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