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

 

CPAG: Government Spends Over $100K Pursuing Beneficiary

For the past fifteen years, Kathryn, now in her fifties and living alone with chronic ill health on a benefit, has been challenging the decision by the MSD that she has to pay back $117,000. She has no assets or savings and cannot afford to pay for fresh food or therapy that would improve her health. More>>

ALSO:

Labour: National’s Cuts Shave $100K Off KiwiSaver By Retirement

New analysis shows National’s constant cuts to KiwiSaver will reduce the average worker’s retirement savings by $100,000 over their working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says... Since coming to office it has made five separate cuts to the scheme." More>>

ALSO:

Auckland: Transport Operators Switch From SuperGold To AT HOP Cards

Seniors using Auckland’s public transport will need to use their AT HOP cards from today but Auckland Transport has requested its operators to show understanding for those customers yet to complete the switch from SuperGold cards. More>>

ALSO:

Crime Stats: Burglary Up 11.9%

“While burglary rates are still below that of recent years, there has been an increase of more than 10 per cent over the past 12 months, which is of concern to Police and something we are determined to tackle,” says Police Commissioner Mike Bush. More>>

ALSO:

Help: Lifeline Aotearoa Fighting For Survival

Lifeline Aotearoa has announced it only has enough money to run for one more year. By 30 June 2017, all available sustainability reserves and funds from a new mortgage on its Auckland property will be exhausted. More>>

ALSO:

Overseas Investment: Auditor-General To Examine OIO

The Auditor-General is to examine how the Overseas Investment Office collects and manages information following a request from the parliament's finance and expenditure committee. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bill English Living In Denial

The working poor have been a direct byproduct of the economic policies in vogue for the past 30 years or more, all over the Western world... That anger was evident in the Brexit vote, and it underlies the support for Donald Trump in the United States. More>>

ALSO:

Final Reading Of Parental Leave Bill: Families With New Babies Victims Of Veto

“For the first time ever, a Bill will have a third reading debate and no vote will be taken at the end because the National Government has used its veto – an extreme measure against families,” says the Bill’s sponsor, Labour MP Sue Moroney. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news