Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Officials scramble to cover for PM

Officials scramble to cover for PM


Government officials have been scrambling to cover for the Prime Minister after he wrongly suggested that newborns whose parents were on a benefit could get special help in the first few weeks of their life, the Green Party said today.

Last night the Social Development Minister issued a ‘directive’ to her chief executive to ‘consider’ whether someone had a newborn baby when they were applying for hardship assistance from WINZ.

This followed the Prime Minister’s conformation during question time this week that the bulk of babies born into poor households were excluded from hundreds of dollars a week in financial assistance provided in the budget for all other newborns.

"John Key answered my questions about the decision to leave out most poor babies from this support by saying those whose families lived on a benefit could access alternative support through emergency benefits or extra supplementary payments," Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

"This ‘directive’ is a desperate scramble to cover up for the Prime Minister who either knew absolutely nothing about the lack of dedicated support for most babies living in poverty or just didn't care.

"This is nasty on so many levels. Clearly WINZ staff have never been told to consider whether a family had a newborn before this directive was issued, and there is still no dedicated support to give these babies a good start in life, like there is for all other babies.

"WINZ has merely been told to ‘consider’ if a parent has a newborn, which is almost meaningless on its own and made more so by the fact that in most cases families will have to repay any of the assistance they're lucky enough to be given.

"This last minute ‘directive’ shows that John Key was wrong, there was no particular financial assistance designed to help families of newborn babies who were on a benefit, who make up at least 60 per cent of all babies in poverty.

"The budget was sold as being big on support for young families, particularly newborns. Lower income families were given an additional $70 a week in support for their newborns in the budget. This was designed to reduce family stress and provide money for essentials, but it came with the proviso that parents had a job. Babies whose parents didn’t have a job were given absolutely nothing.

“It’s bad enough to punish an adult for not having a job but to punish a newborn baby is a step too far,” Mrs Turei said.

Link to the questions in the House from Metiria Turei to John Key: http://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-nz/50HansQ_20140521_00000012/38709c8d94f321fcf730ad4ae9ace5327a4a804d

Link to the newborn directive https://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/newborn_directive.pdf

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Parliament Kicks Off: Carter Re-Elected Speaker

The 51st Parliament held its commission opening today with MPs sworn in and David Carter elected Speaker.

The day began at 11am with the three Royal Commissioners – the Chief Justice, the Court of Appeal President, and the Chief High Court Judge – declaring the new Parliament open.

After the Commissioners left the Chamber the swearing in of MPs took place in alphabetical order. Unlike some previous openings all MPs managed to swear on the bible or affirm their oath without any hiccups... More>>

 

Labour: Review Team Named, Leadership Campaign Starts

Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban.

ALSO:


Roy Morgan Poll: National Slips, Labour Hits Lows

The first New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll since the NZ Election shows National 43.5% (down 3.54% since the September 20 Election). This isn’t unusual, National support has dropped after each of John Key’s Election victories... However, support for the main opposition Labour Party has crashed to 22.5% (down 2.63% and the lowest support for Labour since the 1914 NZ Election as United Labour). More>>

ALSO:

In On First Round: New Zealand Wins Security Council Seat

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed New Zealand securing a place on the United Nations Security Council for the 2015-16 term. More>>

ALSO:

TPP Leak: Intellectual Property Text Confirms Risk - Jane Kelsey

The US is continuing its assault on generic medicines through numerous proposed changes to patent laws. ‘These are bound to impact on Pharmac if they are accepted’, according to Professor Kelsey... Copyright is another area of ongoing sensitivity... More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith Plans Reform To Ease Urban Development

Newly appointed Environment Minister Nick Smith has announced Resource Management Act reform to foster urban development, where high land prices and expensive resource consents are blocking efforts to provide affordable housing. More>>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On New Zealand getting involved (again) in other people's wars

Apparently, the Key government is still pondering how New Zealand will contribute to the fight against Islamic State. Long may it ponder, given the lack of consensus among our allies as to how to fight IS, where to fight it (Syria, Iraq, or both?) and with whose ground troops, pray tell? More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On child poverty, and David Shearer’s latest outburst

The politicisation of (a) the public service and (b) the operations of the Official Information Act have been highlighted by the policy advice package on child poverty that RNZ’s resolute political editor Brent Edwards has finally prised out of the Ministry of Social Development. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On the government’s review of security laws

So the Key government is about to launch a four week review of the ability of our existing legislation to deal with “suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters, and other violent extremists.”

According to its terms of reference, the review will consider whether the SIS, GCSB and Police are sufficiently able right now to (a) investigate and monitor suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters… More>>

ALSO:

Labour Davids: Lisa Owen Interviews David Shearer

David Shearer still mulling whether to stand for Labour leadership but says his family doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Declares that it will be “incredibly divisive” for the Labour caucus if David Cunliffe returns to the role of leader. More>>

ALSO:

Taser Use & False Evidence: Timaru Officers "Failed To Follow Good Policing Practice"

The Authority found that even if Mr Reuben’s contact with the officer was deliberate it amounted to only a minor assault. While it found the use of the OC spray was justified, the use of the Taser was not a proportionate response... More>>

ALSO:

Little Surprise: Andrew Little To Contest Labour Leadership

I have decided to contest the Labour Party leadership. There are three immediate issues to deal with: creating greater cohesion across the caucus, rebuilding the relationship between caucus and the Party and, most importantly getting the process under way to listen to the voters who have abandoned us... More>>

ALSO:

Two Fewer Votes In Recount: "Positive Result" - Harawira

When I applied for a recount of the votes from the Tai Tokerau election, I made it clear that this application was not aimed at overturning the election result, but ensuring that all votes cast by Maori were treated with due respect, regardless of whether those votes are for Labour, Maori Party or MANA. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news