The Social Security Act of 1938 introduced no new philosophy into the New Zealand way of life but was a natural development towards which the growth and consolidation of the country itself and of its political awareness and social conscience had been heading for years. This maturing process is continuous and the degree of corporate responsibility accepted by the people must grow correspondingly. It can be expected that the social security programme will be extended and modified as circumstances permit to meet the changing needs of the people. Over the years, to meet these needs, New Zealand has developed a four-way approach to social security—by cash benefits as of right, by supplementary benefits according to need, by medical care benefits and, more recently, by various welfare measures – all designed to maintain and improve individual and family living levels.
Note: Since this article was prepared the Social Security Fund has been abolished and, although the 7 ½ per cent social security tax remains, the proceeds fall into the Consolidated Revenue Account from which all social security expenditure is now met.
Cost of Social Security
The mounting costs of social security are always a matter of concern, but over the last 15 years, in spite of very substantial increases in the rates of benefit, the proportion of the national income devoted to this essential form of social protection has shown no marked increase as is shown by the following table:
Social Security Cash and Health Benefits
|Year Ended 31 March||Net National Income at Factor Cost*||Cash Benefits||Health Benefits||Cash and Health Benefits|
|Amount £ (million)|
|Percentae of Expenditure to National Income|
*Source: Monthly Abstract of Statistics.
†Includes supplementary assistance.
by George James Brocklehurst, B.COM., A.R.A.N.Z., Chairman, Social Security Commission, and Secretary for War Pensions, Wellington.