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

 


CPAG says benefit sanctions need monitoring.

CPAG says benefit sanctions need monitoring.

Child Poverty Action Group's latest research backgrounder - Benefit sanctions: Creating an invisible underclass - shows monitoring systems are lacking and creating confusion over the numbers sanctioned, in particular parents of children.

CPAG spokesperson Associate Professor Mike O'Brien says the government has introduced wholesale changes affecting children without robust systems of accountability or public scrutiny in place.

The CPAG report relied on the Official Information Act and questions asked in Parliament due to the scant information available. This was contrary to the Welfare Working Group's (WWG) recommendations for transparent public reporting of the number of sanctions imposed.

Mike O'Brien says while the government continues to state its commitment to vulnerable children the benefit sanctions leave struggling families to fend on their own. "The reality of reducing or cancelling a benefit is that children of struggling parents are placed at greater risk," says O'Brien.

Welfare recipients who do not meet the new conditions face increasing sanctions, up to a 100% cancellation of all income support. Sole parents and couples with dependent children face a maximum sanction of 50% of their main benefit.

Between September 2010 and January 2012, there were 2,977 Domestic Purposes Beneficiaries sanctioned for failure to meet a work test obligation. There was no clear breakdown of the grade of sanction or indication how many people on the DPB had benefits cut. Also the number who failed to meet their obligations, as opposed to those penalised as a result of administrative error, remains unclear.

Figures for the end of March 2013 for beneficiaries with children show 520 sanctioned for up to four weeks, 78 sanctioned from four to eight weeks, and 25 sanctioned for over eight weeks.

O'Brien says while these numbers are relatively low, it's important to gain an understanding of how families cope with severely restricted incomes over long periods and what the adverse affects are for children.

Families who have benefits reduced are telephoned by the Ministry of Social Development but this is a long way from the wrap-around services originally conceived by the WWG and probably required by families increasingly isolated by the benefit system.

The CPAG report urges monitoring of the sanctions, particularly for sole parents. O'Brien says this would assess the effects as well as monitor people who move off a benefit and are again receiving a benefit again within three, six or 12 months.

"The government needs to assess whether the system is creating additional hardship by churning people in and out of the benefit system".

The government's Green Paper for Vulnerable Children - Every child thrives, belongs, achieves - advocated child-centred policies to protect New Zealand's most vulnerable citizens. CPAG wants the sanctions repealed to safeguard the wellbeing of vulnerable children and for all policies such as the welfare reforms to take a child-centred approach.

Benefit Sanctions: Creating an invisible underclass is part of CPAG's ongoing series, monitoring government policies. It will be launched on Tuesday October 22 at the Auckland City Mission, Training rooms, 195 Federal St at 6.30pm.

http://www.cpag.org.nz/news/invite-october-research-report-launch/

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The National Leadership “Contest”

Key’s endorsement of English has turned this “contest” into a race for second place.

This succession was well planned. Lets not forget that English was told by Key in September of his intention to resign, and English was the only member of Cabinet entrusted with that information before it was sprung on everyone else on Monday morning. More>>

Latest: Judith Collins and Jonathan Coleman have withdrawn from the leadership race, leaving Bill English the only candidate to replace John Key as Prime Minister.

 

Education, Marketing, Taxes: Health Groups Call For Actions For Sugary Drinks

The New Zealand Dental Association is launching a new consensus statement on Sugary Drinks endorsed by key health organisations. The actions seek to reduce harm caused by sugary drinks consumption. More>>

ALSO:

More Departures? David Shearer Proposed For UN Peacekeeping Role

Mt Albert MP David Shearer is being proposed for a demanding and exciting role heading the United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. More>>

ALSO:

Security Agencies' Reports: GCSB Wants To Give ISPs More Power To Block Threats

The Government Communications Security Bureau wants to give internet service providers more information and power to block cyber threats which are increasing, its director told the intelligence and security select committee yesterday.. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Charter Schools Misleading Pass Rates

Labour: NCEA results for charter schools have been massively overstated... In one case a school reported a 93.3 per cent pass rate when the facts show only 6.7 per cent of leavers achieved NCEA level two. More>>

ALSO:

Rebstock Report Resolution: SSC Apologises To Derek Leask And Nigel Fyfe

Following a complaint by Mr Leask, the Ombudsman found that the State Services Commission acted unreasonably in relation to Mr Leask and identified numerous deficiencies in the investigation process and in the publication of the final report and in the criticisms it contained of Mr Leask... More>>

ALSO:

International Rankings: Student Results 'Show More Resourcing Needed'

NZEI: New Zealand had only held relatively steady in international rankings in some areas because the average achievement for several other OECD countries had lowered the OECD average -- not because our student achievement has improved. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Salvation Army Report: Beyond The Prison Gate Report

A new Salvation Army report says changes must be made to how prisoners re-enter society for New Zealanders to feel safe and secure in their homes and communities. More>>

ALSO:

Surprise Exit: Gordon Campbell On The Key Resignation

The resignation of John Key is one thing. The way that Key and his deputy Bill English have screwed the scrum on the leadership succession vote (due on December 12) is something else again. It remains to be seen whether the party caucus – ie, the ambitious likes of Steven Joyce, Judith Collins, Paula Bennett, and Amy Adams – will simply roll over... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news