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What the survey is asking about - New Zealand Income Support Survey

Key questions in the survey ask about people’s awareness, understanding, and take-up of income support payments.

Whether people are aware of and taking up income support payments is important for us to know about because income support payments are the main way the government tries to help reduce poverty and hardship.

The survey also asks what is important to people when they think about work, and how much better off they think they will be if they have more earnings.

One of the things that we want better evidence on is whether people feel like they are better off in paid work, or working more hours.

The last time information on these topic areas was gathered through a nationwide survey was in 2006-7.

This new survey provides important information for today, and will let us make some comparisons with results for that earlier period.

Other questions in the survey gather nationally representative evidence on experiences people have when they apply for payments, and ease of accessing income support payments.

MSD is working to improve the experiences clients have when they come to us for support.

Understanding whether people are having positive or negative experiences is important because it shows us where the improvements are having an impact and where there is more work to do.

To understand how people in different situations are doing, the survey asks questions about wellbeing, including income adequacy, children’s participation in activities, and the wellbeing of people’s extended family or whānau.

This information will let us look at the relationship between wellbeing and people’s awareness and take-up of income support payments. This will give us evidence that can inform future policies aimed at reducing poverty and improving wellbeing.

To help provide better information to base policy on, the survey asks a few questions about the person’s family, any shared care arrangements for children, and the care and support provided by other caregivers.

We know that families and arrangements for the care and support of children are more diverse than in the past. But at the moment we don’t have good information that can help income support policies respond to those changes. The survey is going to provide some really important and useful information in this area.

The survey asks about childcare costs and affordability for people with younger children. This information will be an important input into advice about childcare assistance.

And finally, the survey asks questions about people themselves – like their age, ethnicity, gender and sexual identity, health, whether they are a disabled person, where they were born, the languages they speak, and what, if any, income support payments they currently receive.

Questions that might feel more sensitive for people to answer, like questions about health, and what income support payments they currently receive, will be answered in private so that even the interviewers do not know people’s answers.

All this information will help researchers, policy makers and people working to improve the way income support gets delivered understand the diverse situations and needs of New Zealanders.