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Government, Social Services

government expenditures, Great Depression, superannuation, welfare benefits, government subsidies

New Zealand introduced a social security system of government-funded old-age pensions in 1898 and expanded the system in the 1920s. The central government took on the provision of social services in the late 1930s, after the global economic recession of the Great Depression. New Zealand developed into one of the world’s most comprehensive welfare states, with government subsidies for programs and services such as health care, welfare benefits, and education. In the mid-1980s, however, government began to reduce expenditures on social services. The reforms coincided with an economic restructuring program designed to decrease the role of government. The age of qualification for superannuation (the state-funded retirement benefit) was raised from 60 to 65, and the level of entitlement was cut. Measures were also instituted to reduce government expenditures on health care and education, but public outcry led to the reversal of some of these cutbacks. Although public hospitals provide state-subsidized health care, many are understaffed due to a nationwide shortage of health care providers. Increasing numbers of people have joined private health insurance schemes to circumvent waiting lists in public hospitals. Universities have found it difficult to function with decreased state funding, and students face escalating costs for tertiary education.

Article key phrases:

government expenditures, Great Depression, superannuation, welfare benefits, government subsidies, tertiary education, cutbacks, public outcry, central government, reversal, public hospitals, reforms, role of government, Universities, Measures, New Zealand, numbers of people, programs, students, lists


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