Yes, oga, the number is a flow figure. Nothing wrong with that in itself - it's just that it doesn't appear the welfare reforms have improved the rate at which beneficiaries are moving into work.
Actually the 1,500 people leaving benefit for work is probably correct and it is FEWER than the weekly average for the period 1999 - 2005 as reported in the Welfare Working Group's "The Issues" paper (p11). lots of possible reasons of course, but it doesn't appear that the reforms have substantially improved Work and Income's ability to find employment for people. This is a topic I hope to write about in the next blog piece.
You are right about the risk that people who need financial assistance and are entitled to it may be being deterred from applying by the application process. You hear anecdotes but we just don't know the size of the problem - again something one would expect an evaluation plan to cover.
Marc, yes, the Ministry did publish a further actuarial report on Friday, which was after I had drafted this. In fact that report draws a lot on the Taylor Fry data. Interestingly, it has a section called "Off Benefit Outcomes" which I thought sounded promising but which turns out simply to report exit rates from benefit.