A new approach is required into the type of work people on benefits go into, after it was found 50 per cent of people who left the benefit in 2013/2014 ended up back on the benefit within 18 months.
Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said the report had given the perception of a higher number of people who were coming off the benefit, following the 2012 welfare reforms.
The report looked at what happened to people who left the benefit system in 2013/2014.
"What the biggest finding is… is that actually 50 per cent of people who have gone off benefits, following those welfare reforms, ended up back on a benefit within 18 months," Ms Sepuloni said.
She said it gave the perception that while there were a number of people coming off the benefit, they were not going into "meaningful, sustainable employment".
"It's not just about pushing people off benefits into any old job."
Geography was a factor in the findings, with certain areas more likely to see people going back on the benefit within 18 months.
Māori men, especially those living in the geographical areas, were also a group of people found more likely to go back on the benefit.
"We've got to do some work," Ms Sepuloni said.