Business groups have welcomed the National Party's election policy on benefits but advocacy groups say there's cause for concern.
Under the policy, those on the DPB will have to work or train for fifteen hours a week, once their youngest child turns six, and people on sickness and invalid benefits who have been assessed as being able to work part-time.
"When the children are at school and not during the holidays, I think they should be doing something for themselves," says National leader John Key.
Long-term unemployed people will also have to re-apply for their benefits if National wins the election.
However the party's policy is not popular with some, including a 31-year-old solo mother on the DPB.
The solo parent, who wants to remain anonymous, says National's proposals may prove to be too harsh.
"It's putting so much strain on the families, and the parents. And you want to be able to be a good parent, you want to be able to be there for them when they come home from their day at school," she says.
Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson says the National policy will take New Zealand backwards.
She says the approach is punitive and last time a similar approach was tried it resulted in an unacceptable rise in child poverty.
A National-led government last introduced a controversial work
for the dole scheme for sole parents and other beneficiaries in the
The Ministry of Social Development did a review of that scheme. It found many single parents wanted to enter the workforce and more of them did go off the benefit.
But there was not enough administrative support and parents had trouble finding childcare. Critics are concerned those problems could arise again.
Some people's advocacy groups echo similar sentiments.
"You want failure, you introduce work-test sanctions for DHB and the only people that will suffer are the children," says Paul Blair, Rotorua's People's Advocacy Centre.
There are also concerns that solo parents will just end up in low paid jobs.
"By forcing out mothers into minimum wage labour so they can provide cheap labour for John Key's big business round table mates. They won't earn much more on their benefit...and the kids get inferior childcare and supervision," says Blair.
Despite drawing criticism from some advocacy groups, businesses say it's a way to create a productive labour market.
Several business and employment groups have welcomed the policy, saying they support the principal of getting able-bodied people back into the workforce.
They say there is a demand for workers in retail, banking, and the hospitality sectors.
"Even if employment is easing somewhat, retail always needs a large pool of people to keep it ticking over," John Albertson, Retailers' Association.
Meanwhile political scientist Therese Arseneau says National's policy will attract some voters and send other voters back to Labour.
She says that National has finally adopted an election strategy suited to winning an MMP election.
"It has softened its rhetoric, moved towards the centre on several key policy issues and challenged Labour for the crucial centrist swing vote. In 2008 National's strategy is intended to grow its vote primarily at Labour's expense," she says.