The welfare system should be reducing misery rather than merely servicing it, NZ Finance Minister Bill English told a Menzies Research Dinner in Melbourne last night (June 25).
Governments need "fewer customers, not more", he said.
"Fewer dysfunctional families. Fewer parents who spend decades on welfare. Fewer people who commit crimes. Part of our response is to recognise that people can do more for themselves, and often want to.
"We expect more from people, because ultimately they are responsible for their own lives and responsible for their own families.
"We don't believe that people whose lives are difficult are automatically helpless and will stay that way forever."
Mr English was in Melbourne to deliver the 5th John Howard Lecture, hosted by the MRC.
Read the full speech here.