Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register

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


Justice sought through the courts for NZ's poorest children

4 September 2011: News from CPAG

CPAG v Attorney General

Justice sought through the courts for New Zealand’s poorest children

Child Poverty Action Group takes an appeal in the Wellington High Court this week in a historic human rights case affecting 233,000 of New Zealand’s most disadvantaged children.

“New Zealand has a terrible problem of child poverty, accumulated in large part by the government operating very poor policies for children over a long period of time. Child poverty diminishes the very fabric of society, now and for the foreseeable future” says spokesperson Susan St John.

“A highly discriminatory government policy with serious implications for beneficiary families is being challenged in this appeal. The Working for Families package which provided tax credits for parents with dependent children was intended to lessen child poverty. However children whose parents are on benefits have received very little or nothing from the package. Over half such children live in severely disadvantaged circumstances”.

Beneficiary families are excluded from receiving the In-Work Tax Credit, a payment of $60 per week (or more for larger families) that was intended to help alleviate child poverty. For a variety of reasons including lack of jobs, health and caring responsibilities, parents in those families are reliant on a benefit for their income and so excluded from the payment. Although the Working for Families package did increase the rate of another tax credit which is available to both working and beneficiary families, many beneficiary families had this increase off-set by simultaneous benefit cuts.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

“Using the In-Work Tax Credit, a payment for families of $60 or more per week, to achieve both poverty alleviation and work incentive objectives has been a disaster for families that cannot move off benefits. As a result, 233,000 children in beneficiary families are missing out on this desperately needed income. Also, the loss of the In-Work Tax Credit is a grossly unfair penalty for the child when hours of work reduce in a recession or when natural disasters occur such as in Christchurch” says Spokesperson Janfrie Wakim.

Child Poverty Action Group is claiming that the ‘off the benefit’ requirement of the In-Work Tax Credit breaches the right to be free from employment status discrimination and is unjustified. In 2008 the Human Rights Review Tribunal held that the IWTC was discriminatory and disadvantages children in beneficiary families who miss out “in a real and substantive way” but that the discrimination was justified in a free and democratic society.

CPAG is appealing the Tribunal’s finding on justification and the Crown has also appealed the Tribunal’s finding that the IWTC is discriminatory.

The two-week appeal begins in the Wellington High Court on 5 September 2011.


© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Government's Assault On Maori

This isn’t news, but the National-led coalition is mounting a sustained assault on Treaty rights and obligations. Audrey Young in the NZ Herald has compiled a useful list of the many ways Christopher Luxon plans to roll back the progress made in race relations over the past forty years. He has described yesterday’s nationwide protests by Maori as “pretty unfair.” Poor thing. More

Public Housing Futures: Christmas Comes Early For Landlords

New CTU analysis of the National & ACT coalition agreement has shown the cost of returning interest deductibility to landlords is an extra $900M on top of National’s original proposal. This is because it is going to be implemented earlier and faster, including retrospective rebates from April 2023. More

Green Party: Petition To Save Oil & Gas Ban

“The new Government’s plan to expand oil and gas exploration is as dangerous as it is unscientific. Whatever you think about the new government, there is simply no mandate to trash the climate. We need to come together to stop them,” says James Shaw. More

PSA: MFAT Must Reverse Decision To Remove Te Reo

MFAT's decision to remove te reo from correspondence before new Ministers are sworn in risks undermining the important progress the public sector has made in honouring te Tiriti. "We are very disappointed in what is a backward decision - it simply seems to be a Ministry bowing to the racist rhetoric we heard on the election campaign trail," says Marcia Puru. More




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.