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Govt thumps low-income families again

Rt Hon Jenny Shipley Leader of the Opposition

Sunday 13 May 2001

Govt thumps low-income families again

Low-income families will be hit again under the Government's reported plans to introduce paid parental leave for working mothers and ditch the Parental Tax Credit for low to middle income families, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"The Government's parental leave scheme discriminates towards two working parents with a child and removes the entitlement to a parental tax credit for low income families with one parent working and a full-time parent at home caring for the children.

"The Labour-Alliance Government is again abusing the people it claimed to come into Government to help. The Government is doing away with a need based programme and replacing it with a PC programme that discriminates against mothers who don't work.

"Just as the Government's Community Services Card decision discriminated against 48,000 low-income working families, the paid parental leave scheme will discriminate against mothers from low and middle income families who don't work and who currently receive the Parental Tax Credit," Mrs Shipley said.

National introduced the Parental Tax Credit as part of the 1999 budget. It came into effect on 1 October 1999. The Parental Tax Credit allows any low or middle income family with at least one parent working to receive a maximum of $150 per week for eight weeks.

A family with one income of $30,000 and four children under 13, including a new baby, qualifies for the full parental tax credit of $1,200 in total over the eight weeks following the birth. This is on top of other Family Support and tax relief measures.

"This Government's treatment of low-income working families is scandalous. While Labour and the Alliance claim to protect the interests of low-income families, their record demonstrates the opposite.

"It is outrageous that women on middle and upper incomes from two income households will get taxpayer support whereas women in low income households who choose to be a fulltime parent have their financial support taken from them.

"It is ridiculous to suggest that if I were still having children, I would be entitled to taxpayer support for a new child, but fulltime mothers from low income families will lose their support.

"It is heartbreaking that Labour and the Alliance would announce such a decision on Mother's Day," Mrs Shipley said.


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