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Social Security Bill will 'punish responsible parents'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Home Education Foundation (HEF) of New Zealand is calling on politicians to reject the onerous ‘social obligations’ contained in the new Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill. The Bill, which is currently being considered by a select committee, threatens to slash benefits by 50% and instigate CYFS involvement and fraud investigation for parents who fail to comply with the obligations.

"The social obligations will force beneficiary parents to send their children to an approved Early Childhood Education (ECE) provider from the age of three, prohibit home education unless it’s ‘unreasonable’ for the child to attend school, and compel registration of children with a GP and attendance at all the core Well Child checks," says HEF National Director Barbara Smith.

"Even worse, the sanctions for parents who refuse to comply will involve a 50% benefit sanction followed by ‘intensified case management support’ which according to the Ministry of Social Development means CYFS involvement and fraud investigation."

Mrs Smith believes that the new requirements will affect only those parents who are committed to making independent, responsible choices for their families.

"There is nothing more valuable on this planet than children. And most parents understand what a responsibility this is. They know their children are made in God’s image and that they have a duty to make the right decisions for them."

This means making informed decisions, even unpopular decisions. But in forcing parents to choose between benefit money and the government’s child-rearing programme, the new bill rewards mindless conformity.

"This new bill has it totally backwards. It is the parents who value their money more than their children that everyone should be and claims to be concerned about. Because that kind of parent can be bought. They don’t really care about their children at all.

"Yet this is precisely the kind of parent that the government wants to have and reward, while claiming the opposite. They are specifically and unapologetically targeting those parents who refuse to be bought with government benefits, who are willing to take a 50% benefit cut in order to retain the right to make their own decisions."

This will only promote irresponsible parenting, Mrs Smith argues. "Instead of investigating parents who refuse to sell their children to the government for the sake of a little extra money, the Ministry for Social Development ought to investigate those parents who are willing to conform. Those parents who refuse to sell their children become the ‘criminals’, while those who sell their children are the good guys.

"It is diabolically hypocritical.

"God gave my children to me, not to the government. I will not sell them for a bowl of soup. Let them keep their money."

Mrs Smith encourages all concerned Kiwis to make a submission to the Select Committee by the deadline on November 1. Ms Bennett’s letter and materials for writing a submission can be found at www.hef.org.nz.

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