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CPAG Pushing The Wrong Solution

November 27, 2003

The Human Rights Commission today invited various government officials to 'mediate' with the Child Poverty Action Group, who have laid a complaint of illegal child discrimination against the government. "This complaint has been laid because children whose caregivers receive their income from a benefit are not entitled to the $15 a week Child Tax Credit which low-income working families qualify for, " Lindsay Mitchell, anti-DPB campaigner said.

"If anybody is being discriminated against it is working parents. If a caregiver relies on a benefit they already receive family support payments which range from $32 to $60 per child according to the child's age and the number of children in the family."

"Low income workers not receiving benefits, do not get these payments."

"So the message is, get a job and you'll be penalised. What the Child Poverty Action Group wants is for the penalty, or disincentive to work, to be increased."

"New Zealand research shows that the source of income makes a difference to child outcomes. A study published last year in the Social Policy Journal of New Zealand found; 'The results of this study suggest that poor children in families primarily reliant on government transfers are a particularly vulnerable group. Specifically the results indicate that these children are a multiply-disadvantaged group that could be expected to have a relatively high risk of a variety of negative outcomes.' "

"Adding the Child Tax Credit to a caregiver's benefit is essentially increasing the benefit rate. This will draw more families onto welfare. Making more children reliant on government transfers will produce more negative outcomes. It would be a mistake."

"Allowing parents who work to keep more of their earned income would be far better for children."

"I will be sending this advice to the Commissioner of the IRD, David Butler, the Secretary to the Treasury, John Whitehead, deputy secretary for social policy, Peter Mersi, and the CEO of the Ministry of Social Development, Peter Hughes, who have all been invited to the mediation process."

Lindsay Mitchell Petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB

petition forms available from www.liberalvalues.org.nz

e-mail dandl.mitchell@clear.net.nz

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