Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Landmark legal case challenges In-Work Tax Credit

Landmark legal case challenges discriminatory In-Work Tax Credit

Child Poverty Action Group is bringing a legal case with the Office of Human Rights Proceedings alleging the In-Work Tax Credit discriminates against many of New Zealand’s poorest children. The case begins June 3rd, 2008.

The In-Work Tax Credit (IWTC, formerly the In-Work Payment) is part of a package of family assistance policies called Working for Families Tax Credits. The IWTC is worth $60 or more per week but is only paid for children in low-income families where parents are in paid work for a minimum number of hours per week. Children whose parents are on a benefit, or cannot work this number of hours, are not eligible for this payment.

By 2006, the incomes of New Zealand’s poorest families had been falling relative to average incomes for many years. In April that year the In-Work Payment was introduced. This extra payment was desperately needed by all children in low-income families, but denied to the poorest children where parents did not work the necessary hours.

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) states this policy discriminates against children on the basis of their parents’ work status. CPAG argues the discrimination is unacceptable as it leaves approximately 150,000 children in poverty. While there is no question that work is an important source of well-being for families, CPAG believes child benefit payments should not be used as a work incentive.

There are other, much better, ways to make work pay. All children deserve support, no matter where their family’s income comes from, and government policies should treat all children from low income families the same. To reduce child poverty rates, family assistance policy should be directed at a child’s needs, not used for a different purpose.

CPAG is pleased its case will finally be heard in mid-2008, after struggling since 2004 to bring it to a hearing.

There have so far been three legal decisions, on preliminary issues pursued by the Crown in 2005-06. All have confirmed CPAG's right to bring the case. In the process, they also affirmed the right of similar groups to challenge discrimination in government policy. The main issue of discrimination will now be heard in the June hearing, which is likely to last for some weeks.

Note: The original subject of this case was the Child Tax Credit, introduced in 1996. This policy has now been almost completely replaced by the In-Work Tax Credit. The case challenges both policies.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On DHB Deficits And Free Trade

Currently the world is looking on aghast at the Trump administration’s plans to slash Obamacare, mainly in order to finance massive tax changes that will deliver most of their gains to the wealthy. Lives will be lost in the trade-off. Millions of Americans stand to lose access to the healthcare they need.

Spot the difference with New Zealand, where DHBs are under intense pressure to reduce deficits within a climate of chronic underfunding. More>>


Greens' Response: Slum-Like Rentals Exposed In Renting Review

“...The grim findings of the review are a wakeup call about the true state of rentals in this country. Too many renters are festering in slum-like conditions under the thumb of landlords who have largely unchecked powers and ignore tenants’ complaints when it suits them.” More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election