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Social bond to help Kiwis back to work

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/02/2017

As many as 1700 Aucklanders with mental health challenges will be helped back into work if the government's first social bond project is successful.

Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Social Investment Minister Amy Adams announced the bond launch on Tuesday, outlining plans to help people with mild to moderate mental health issues off welfare and to lead more independent lives.

The nation's social bond programme, which allows the government to contract services and funding to non-government or private groups through results-based funding, was approved in December.

"Through this social bond we can utilise private sector skills and innovations to help participants into paid employment, so they get off welfare and improve their mental health," Ms Adams said.

"Job seekers with a qualifying benefit and a diagnosed mental health condition may be eligible to be referred for the services."

The pilot programme will be delivered by APM Workcare in a number of south Auckland suburbs over five years.

"If they meet the targets the government has set, the bond investors get their money back and on agreed return," Mr Joyce said in speech to the Institute of Public Administration in New Zealand on Tuesday.

"It is an innovative approach to a long-term problem. I look forward to seeing how this pilot performs."

A second bond programme, targeting youth re-offending rates in the justice system, is expected to be announced later this year.

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