Critical Social Policy, Ahead of Print.
New Zealand recipients of the Youth Payment and Young Parent Payment, who are disproportionally Indigenous Māori and sole mothers, must participate in ‘Money Management’. This form of income management restricts spending, monitors financial transactions and requires compulsory budgeting education. Drawing on interviews with Money Management participants, Youth Service mentors and policymakers, this article argues that Money Management aims to responsibilise young people through conditional welfare, rather than improve their long-term financial capability as articulated. This becomes obvious through analysis of how Money Management ignores: 1) New Zealand financial literacy education policy developments, 2) the literature on best practice in financial literacy education and how values about money and wealth are shaped by 3) Māori world views and 4) gendered norms. The article concludes that states should take more responsibility, by increasing social security incomes and better regulating the financial, labour and housing markets, to ensure the financial capacity of their citizens.