What to make of the government's move to a single core benefit for all working-age beneficiaries? Frankly, it seems mostly to be administrative tinkering. A single benefit means one set of rules, making it that much easier for WINZ staff to calculate what people are entitled to. It should also make it that much easier for beneficiaries to know what they're entitled to as well - a major problem under the current system.
As for the focus on moving people into work, it depends primarily on how it is done. Fortunately things seem to be moving in the right direction here as well, with an emphasis on carrots, rather than sticks. The programme to get people off the sickness benefit by providing them with proper treatment is a good example of this; it makes people able to work, and adds to their general quality of life as well (though isn't this what the health system is for?). And the revival of an employment service focused on helping people find opportunities, with an acceptance that for some, "part-time or intermittent work is a realistic long-term option" is also a good sign - the latter especially, as it will hopefully mean an end to the vicious clawbacks and punitive sanctions which provide a perverse incentive against work.