Social Security Bill Will Cause Real Hardship to Real People
Media Release – Social Security Bill Will Cause Real Hardship to Real People
October 30, 2012
Palmerston North, NZ – Barbara Smith, National Director of the Home Education Foundation of New Zealand, is asking New Zealanders to show support for beneficiaries against the new Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill. Under the Bill, “social obligations” will compel beneficiaries to send their children to preschool, register them with health professionals and attend all the core Well Child checks. Mrs Smith believes that these obligations will cause untold emotional and financial hardship for responsible parents.
“Recently I was able to read the Attorney-General’s report on the Bill,” says Mrs Smith. “The Attorney-General concluded that the social obligations aren’t discriminatory because ‘they are designed to be beneficial.’ He went on to say that if discrimination does occur under the act, ‘the disadvantage is outweighed by the best interests of the child’.
“Perhaps, if the Attorney-General had heard from as many concerned home educators and single parents as I have, he would not have decided that forcing children away from their loving parents to be sent to preschool is beneficial or in a child’s best interests.”
In a submission posted on the HEF website, a young New Zealander from a sole-parent family said, “I think it is terrible to expect parents to put their children into ECE or school, if they don’t believe in doing that. It upsets me that my mother is so stressed out about this, she is a good mother, has always looked after us kids so well and always puts us first. It stresses me out to see this happening, and it is making me wonder how I am going to be able to help my family if this happens and my mother gets her benefit cut in half! This isn’t fair, it isn’t fair to punish us, and it isn’t fair to punish our wonderful mother!”
Mrs Smith says, “The government needs to understand that parents who make the decision to keep their children at home do not do so because they’re lazy, stupid, or unloving. Quite the contrary.”
One mother, an ex-kindergarten and school teacher, stated in her submission, “I have a hundred reasons why [my daughter] will not be attending daycare, preschool, kindergarten or school. I have overheard four-year-olds using language that would make a sailor blush. I have observed persistent bullying. I have observed children wailing for hours for their mothers. I do not want my daughter in that environment.”
Another mother says, “If this Bill were to be passed I would live in fear of my husband losing his job or having an accident that would mean that we rely on a benefit for our survival. If I were in a situation where we depended on a benefit, then my children and I would be financially disadvantaged as I am very passionate and believe so strongly in the way I am raising my children that any benefit we were on would be reduced as I would not comply with this Bill if it were to be passed. Neglect and fraud are not the only reasons why beneficiaries would not ‘toe the line’.”
Other mothers point out the emotional toll that destruction of a treasured way of life will have on families that are already struggling financially. “The stress involved in separating a child from its parents is immense and the emotional trauma from having a parent enduring their own anguish from being jobless, having to be on a benefit, and then being torn from each other is even more emotionally damaging to a child.”
One mother, home educating her daughter on a benefit, says, “My child has never attended public school. To force her to attend now, as a teenager, would be to cause her great harm.”
She goes on: “I have taught my child to be proud to live in a country which helps all its citizens in the different ways they need, including providing financial support if they cannot work. I have also taught her to look constantly for ways in which we can give back to the community, for example through volunteer charity work. This has been my method of counteracting the fallacies that receiving a benefit is shameful and that making money is the only thing which gives a person value.
“I must now explain to her that the National government is sending an implied message that all beneficiaries are at risk of abusing their children, are incapable of providing their children with a quality home-based education, and are cast so low in society that their human rights can be stripped from them and their freedoms revoked.”
Mrs Smith encourages all concerned Kiwis to make a submission to the Select Committee by the deadline on November 1. Materials for writing a submission can be found at www.hef.org.nz.
About the Home Education Foundation
The Home Education Foundation has been informing parents for 27 years about the fantastic opportunity to de-institutionalise our sons and daughters and to embrace the spiritual, intellectual and academic freedom that is ours for the taking. Through conferences, journals, newsletters and all kinds of personal communications, we explain the vision of handcrafting each child into a unique individual, complete with virtuous character, a hunger for service to others, academic acumen and a strong work ethic. For more information, please visit www.hef.org.nz or more specifically hef.org.nz/2012/make-a-submission-reject-compulsory-early-education-for-3-year-olds/