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Lockwood Smith PhD gets it wrong

28 July 2006

Lockwood Smith PhD gets it wrong

Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope has corrected Dr Lockwood Smith PhD's erroneous claims concerning Working for Families, published yesterday in the Dominion Post and The Press.

"Dr Smith has claimed that the answer to Parliamentary Question 08833 (2006) related to Working for Families", Mr Benson-Pope said today.

"In fact, the Family Assistance data provided in that answer was for the 04/05 tax year, before the implementation of Working for Families. The first changes made to Family Assistance under Working for Families came into effect on 1 April 2005, after the end of the 04/05 tax year", Mr Benson-Pope said.

"This may have been a simple mistake on the doctor's part, or it may have been a deliberate attempt to mislead. Either way, Dr Smith is wrong".

The Minister said that Dr Smith had also misinterpreted the 04/05 data. "Family Assistance is paid weekly or fortnightly, but the overall income assessment is annual", Mr Benson-Pope explained. "This means that a family may receive Family Assistance during a period of lower earnings. If it turns out their annual income puts them out of entitlement range, that overpayment will be recouped after the end of the tax year".

The Minister said that Dr Smith also had the answers to Parliamentary Questions 8717 (2006) and 8238 (2006). These showed estimated Family Assistance entitlement in the 05/06 and 06/07 tax years, once Working for Families had taken effect.

"These clearly contradict the allegations made by Dr Smith", Mr Benson-Pope said.


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