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DPB Women Staying Single

DPB Women Staying Single

Thursday 15 Apr 2004

Dr Muriel Newman Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today demanded that the Government tighten its control of the Domestic Purposes Benefit in a bid to halt the growing prevalence of family breakdown in New Zealand.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that, between 1998/99 and 2002/03, the number of women leaving the DPB due to a change in their marital status dropped a dramatic 24 percent," Dr Newman said.

"In the 1998/99 year, 12,914 women left the DPB because they commenced living with a partner or reconciled their relationship. Each following year this has dropped until, in the 2002/03 year, that number was down to 9,814.

"Further, answers to PQs I released yesterday showed that, as of the end of March 2004, a total of 187,839 children were being raised in DPB-led households. These figures are extremely worrying.

"All research tells us that children raised in welfare-dependent families fail to do as well in life as those with one or two working parents - sole parenthood, in particular, has been identified as a significant risk factor for children.

"The DPB is a major incentive for family breakdown in this country. This lifetime benefit allows some fathers to shirk financial responsibility for raising their children, and lets many mothers alienate their children from their fathers. In all of these cases it is the children who lose out.

"I am calling on Labour to tighten the restrictions on the DPB. It must be returned to what was originally intended: an emergency benefit for women with dependent children, rather than the permanent lifestyle choice it has become under their government," Dr Newman said.


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