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Call for peaceful protests on Social Security Bill

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

As the government Select Committee draws up its report on the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill, time is running short for New Zealanders to let MPs know about their concerns with the Bill. Barbara Smith, National Director of the Home Education Foundation of New Zealand, says that concerned citizens should organise peaceful protests outside their local MP’s office.

"Time is limited," says Mrs Smith. "In two weeks, on 20 March, the Select Committee has to hand in their report to Parliament. We do not know what is in their report. We do not know if they are going to recommend against the social obligations and sanctions in this Bill or not.

"So we need to keep this before the Select Committee and all MPs."

According to Mrs Smith, most of the submissions on the Bill came from parents concerned about the social obligations in the Bill, which will force beneficiaries to make certain decisions about their children’s health and education.

"It’s taking away the rights of beneficiaries to make the best decisions for their children. Even the New Zealand Law Society said that’s discriminatory."

Mrs Smith is asking concerned New Zealanders to take action. "We’re asking people to organise peaceful protests outside their local MP’s office, especially the National MPs. Make a banner protesting the social obligations and sanctions."

The HEF has already been organising a letter-writing and visiting campaign against the social obligations in the bill. But, says Mrs Smith, it’s time to take the campaign to the streets.

"We asked an MP what else we could be doing. This MP said we should look at peaceful protests. Make sure you let local media outlets know that it’s happening."

Opponents of the Bill are organising peaceful protests this Friday, the 8th of March at 1:30 pm outside MP’s offices across New Zealand.

"Parliament is in recess this week and all the MPs should be in their offices," says Mrs Smith.

"We all need to be standing out there with banners to raise awareness of what is happening.

"Get in touch with your local media. Invite all your friends. Print out the flyers available on the HEF website.

"We’ll see you at the protest on Friday."

While the Select Committee is writing its report on the Bill, concerned New Zealanders can also write, call, and visit their local MPs and the Select Committee, says Mrs Smith.

The Select Committee members are Jacinda Ardern, Jan Logie, Rajen Prasad, Phil Twyford, Melissa Lee, Asenati Lole-Tayler, Sam Lotu-liga, Alfred Ngaro, Mike Sabin, Phil Heatley, and Michael Woodhouse. Letters to individual MPs should be sent to this address (no stamp necessary):

Parliament Office

Private Bag 18888

Parliament Buildings

Wellington 6160

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