New Zealand - Social development

A dual system of universal and social assistance is provided to all residents. Monetary benefits are paid for retirement, unemployment, sickness, and emergencies; and to widows, orphans, families, invalids, and miners. Retirement is set at age 65. Benefits are funded by ordinary government revenues and provide a percentage of the average weekly wage after tax. Benefits are taxable, but are not subject to an income test. Medical benefits include medical, hospital, and pharmaceutical payments. Work injury compensation legislation provides for dual universal and compulsory insurance systems. The plan is financed by insurance premiums paid by employers and the self-employed and by a contribution from general revenue. Compensation for temporary disability is 80% of average earnings. Maternity benefits are provided for single women for six months.

Although prohibited by law, discrimination in the workplace still exists. Women continue to earn less than men, and sexual harassment is a a serious problem. Domestic violence and abuse is a growing concern, although the law penalizes spousal rape. The law broadened the definition of domestic violence to include various kinds of psychological abuse. The government provides support to victims of domestic violence.

The government respects the human rights of its citizens.

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