Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

Families and churches urged to care for the unemployed

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill has passed by a narrow two-vote margin, together with "social obligations" which will force beneficiary parents to make certain decisions for their children’s health and education or be penalised by a 50% sanction.

"This is disappointing," says Home Education Foundation National Director Barbara Smith, who mobilised parents and young people across New Zealand to object to the draconian "social obligations". "The New Zealand Law Society said this bill would discriminate against beneficiaries, and no amendments were made in response to that. The Minister for Health said that it would result in more children missing out on basic health care, and no amendments were made in response to that. Even a proposed amendment to prevent families being sanctioned where this would leave children without adequate income was defeated."

Most of all, says Mrs Smith, it’s disappointing that government-approved early childhood education will now be mandatory for all 3 and 4 year old preschool-aged children of beneficiaries.

However, she says, the social obligations provide an opportunity for families, churches, and government to reconsider their proper roles.

"If the government pays to support sole-parent and struggling families, then we shouldn’t be surprised when they believe that gives them a say in these families’ decisions. Whoever pays the piper calls the tune.

"But this is a deviation from the government’s properly limited role, to protect national borders and keep the peace."

Mrs Smith says she hopes these rules will convince struggling families to look elsewhere for financial support in times of hardship. "We can’t complain that the government is taking away our responsibilities if we aren’t willing to face those responsibilities.

"Throughout the Christian history of our culture, charity and public welfare has been the responsibility of families and churches, not the state," she says.

"Families understood that they had the responsibility to care for ill or out-of-work relations. And where family support was inadequate, the church would step in to provide for the needy."

Mrs Smith says that the church’s historic role in providing health care, education, and welfare has powerfully shaped culture in the past. "During the decline of the Roman empire, the church became so influential owing to its selfless deeds of charity and mercy that one emperor was forced to set up his own rival social security system to remind citizens that he was their god and would supply all their needs."

Mrs Smith, a widow being supported by her five adult children, says that history teaches us to hope for the future. "There is a better way.

"In the coming days and years, more parents are going to face poverty and hardship because they refuse to sign their children over to a bloated paternal government which insists it knows best.

"We need to be ready to support them."

All articles and comments on Voxy.co.nz have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.