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


NZ welfare policy around relationships harms disabled

Welfare policy which penalises people for forming relationships is harming the disabled community, Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) says.

DPA are joining Auckland Action Against Poverty, Child Poverty Action Group and Action Station in calling on the Government to change rules around the reduction of supports and benefits for people who form relationships.

An open letter to Jacinda Ardern was launched today asking for change to how relationships are treated by Work and Income New Zealand - so people get what they need to live a dignified life that does not trap them in poverty and make them fearful to build relationships.

“Many disabled people rely on the benefit system because they aren’t able to work, or have difficulty finding work. These people should not be financially disadvantaged because they have formed a relationship,” DPA Chief Executive Prudence Walker says.

“Disabled people should have as much of a right as non-disabled people to form relationships without losing their livelihood.”

The Disability Action Plan (2019-2026) sets out the vision for disabled New Zealanders: “We have an adequate standard of living that enables us to fully participate in society, where necessary through the provision of income support which takes into account the additional cost of disability.”

“Until welfare rules change, this vision cannot be realised,” Ms Walker says.

“We also have concerns about the impact of forcing people to become reliant on their partners early on in a relationship

“Policies that create a power imbalance in relationships can make it difficult for people to leave unhealthy relationships. Disabled people are particularly vulnerable as they are much more likely to experience family violence than non-disabled people.”

Julia*, who has a physical disability that causes pain and fatigue, was receiving the Supported Living Payment when she met her partner Michael*. Unable to work at the time, she says it was a “huge decision” for her to move in with Michael.

“It was a lot to ask of him – to support me both physically and financially”.

“It meant that I had to rely on him totally, which was a real blow to my independence”.

As well as losing her core benefit entitlements, she no longer received the disability allowance.

“Being disabled is expensive – and suddenly I had to cover extra expenses like unfunded medications, transport and equipment”.

Julia’s disability support hours were also reduced when she moved in with Michael, because she no longer qualified for a community services card.

“There are so many disincentives for people on benefits to form relationships, it’s really unfair.”

*not their real names

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

PM's Statement: Deadly Eruption Of Whakaari / White Island

At this stage, we can confirm that amongst those currently listed as missing or injured are New Zealanders who were part of the tour operation, and tourists from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. That is to the best of our knowledge.

To those who have lost or are missing family and friends, we share in your unfathomable grief at this moment in time, and in your sorrow. Your loved ones stood alongside kiwis who were hosting you here. We grieve with you, and we grieve with them... More>>

Police Update: Two Further Fatalities
Two further people have died following the eruption on Whakaari / White Island, bringing the official toll to eight. One was being treated at Middlemore Hospital and one at Waikato Hospital. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Eruption And Tourism Safety
Adventure tourism is a central theme in New Zealand tourism, and by definition, adventure always includes a certain level of risk. That said, New Zealand itself is also at risk of being seen as a tourism destination where commercial factors – rather than safety factors – are routinely allowed to determine the point where the boundary line of acceptable risk is being drawn. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Welfare Vs Infrastructure Spending

If New Zealand has a pressing need to stimulate its flagging economy, it seems very weird that the government is choosing a $12 billion package of infrastructure spending – mainly on road and rail – that by definition, will take a very long time to deliver their stimulatory benefits ... More>>

New Reports: "Immediate Commitment To Doing Justice Differently"

Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and Te Tangi o te Manawanui: Recommendations for Reform from the Chief Victims Advisor. Both recommend a fresh approach to the way criminal justice has been approached... More>>


Latest 'Discussion Doc': National On Healthcare

National has today released our eighth Discussion Document which focusses on health and outlines a range of policies which will enable more Kiwis to access high-quality healthcare, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says. More>>


Select Committee Report: Combatting Foreign Election Interference

MPs have finally delivered their recommendations to combat foreign interference in elections in a long awaited and much delayed report. More>>

Mosque Attacks: Names Of Arresting Officers Released

Police are now in the position to name the two officers involved in the arrest of the alleged gunman responsible for the attacks on the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques on March 15. More>>

Big, Bold, Permanent Change Needed: Children's Commissioner On 2019 Child Poverty Monitor

“I want to see family incomes dramatically raised by increasing benefits and making the minimum wage a living wage. And the Government needs to move much faster at increasing the supply of social housing..." More>>


RNZ Live Updates: Weather Mayhem Strands Tourists; Major Roads Closed

Hundreds of tourists are stranded on the West Coast, and on the other side of the South Island a flood-damaged bridge has closed State Highway 1, after a weekend of torrential rain... More>>






InfoPages News Channels