HUGE Concerns over the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill

Update 5/10/12: Make a submission: Reject compulsory Early Education for 3 year olds



I, along with many other Kiwis and home educators, have huge concerns about this Bill.

First I would like to say that the Government, is moving in the right direction with regard to tackling the attitude of welfare entitlement. I agree with restricting and reducing benefits.  I believe that they should be a hand up, not a hand out.

But we have huge concerns about how the Government is going about this. We need to take a proper look at the Bill but in the mean time here are my quick glance concerns:

1. Social obligations require all beneficiary parents to ensure their children:

  • attend 15 hours a week Early Childhood Education (ECE) from age 3
  • attend school from age five or six
  • enrol with a General Practitioner
  • complete core WellChild/Tamariki Ora checks

If you are not on a benefit of any kind (to name a few that the above will affect widow/widowers, sickness, unemployment and DPB) look what is also being worked on by the Government.

2. Supporting vulnerable children

Result 2: Early childhood education: In 2016, 98 per cent of children starting school will have participated in quality early childhood education.

Result 3: Immunisation: Increase infant immunisation rates so that 95 per cent of eight month olds are fully immunised by December 2014 and this is maintained until 30 June 2017.

Result 4: Assaults on children: By 2017, we aim to halt the rise in children experiencing physical abuse and reduce current numbers by five per cent. —- (Why is Result 4 one ONLY 5%?)

Now is the time to make known our concerns.

Yes, we all do need to put in submissions but lets not be too hasty in sending them off — we have until 1 November 2012. I think we need to have a lot of discussion so that we have thought through all the issues so that we make the best submissions that we can. I also want to get a couple of home educating lawyers to look at the Bill as well.

Some initial discussion:

1. Some people have said that home educators need to ask, in their submissions, for an exemption from putting their children into an ECE. Please, please, please do not ask for this.

Children should be at home with their parents unless parents choose to send them to an ECE. This MUST be kept as a choice. Not something we have to apply for like the Exemption to Hme Educate our children.

2. Tying this bill to education of our children.

There is a lot more discussion going on on Face Book and many of the email discussion groups but for now you can see from the above comments that we need to seriously look at what we put in our submission. This is NOT only a Home Schooling issue. This is for every family in New Zealand. As it is only the beginning. If this goes through for beneficiaries then watch out this could soon become law for all 3 year olds and above.

This bill amends the Social Security Act 1964. It is part of a package of reforms to shift the focus of the benefit system towards encouraging and supporting beneficiaries to move into paid work.

Important Dates

Bill introduced 17 September 2012

1st reading 20 September 2012

Submissions due 1 November 2012

Report due 20 March 2013

My personal initial response

I am a widow with three children still at home who are 14, 11 and the youngest has just turned 7. I also have 5 older children. I am not on the widow’s benefit.

Historically the Church looked after widows and the fatherless.

But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. 1 Timothy 5v4

If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows. 1 Timothy 5v16

The problem we have today is that the Government is requiring such high taxes that it makes it so much harder for families and the Church to look after widows and the fatherless. I have had people telling me that I am crazy not to take the widow’s benefit because I have paid my taxes I am entitled to it. This attitude is now ingrained in the community and also in many Churches.

The Government took on this roll and it has been abused by many people. Now the Government has to be careful how they pull out of supporting widows and the fatherless (who so very often are not fatherless but have irresponsible fathers.)

There are many families who are on benefits for various reasons who want to be responsible and cannot find a way to get off the benefit because the Churches are not helping in this area. These families also see that it is their responsibility to be home educating their own children. The Bible calls parents to educate, protect, train up, and prepare their children for adulthood. These parents are not abusing the Government system – they are working at training up responsible citizens for New Zealand. They want to get off the benefit as soon as they can but also want to be the best parents they can for their children by home educating them.

A lot of home educating parents have contacted me over the last few days really concerned about this new policy. They want to continue home educating their children. This is a full time job. These parents take this job very seriously. It is a concern that they are being required to work for 15 hours a week when they already have a full time job educating their children. You might say that this is a lifestyle choice but we do not understand it as such. We believe that it is the parent’s responsibility to be educating their children not the Governments. Unfortunately there are a lot of irresponsible parents so there seems to be a need for the Government to be involved in schools. But the Government should not take this responsibility away from parents who desire to educate their own children.

It is false economy to put children in day care and expect the parent to work at the same time – it is cheaper to have the mother at home with the child or children and use the day care allotment for someone who wants to use it.

Therefore it is with great concern that home educating parents on the benefit are being asked to work (or study) for 15 hours a week when they are already very busy home educating their children responsibly.

We have even greater concern about the move to have 3, 4, and 5 year olds being required to be in ECE for 15 hours a week. Over the years there has been a lot of research that children do much better at home than in Early Childhood centres. Here are a couple of links


My concerns are:

1. That home educators be able to continue to home educate their children while on a benefit without having to work or study.

2. That home educators and other concerned families be able to keep their preschoolers at home and not send them to ECE. (Greatest concern)


Raymond S. Moore on Early Childhood Centres

Should preschool be compulsory?

TVNZ One this morning Q&A with Paula Bennett

Maxim Institute: What is best for children?

HUGE Concerns over the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill

Letter from Paula Bennett concerning beneficaries and home education

Toby Manhire on Benefit-slaying Nats starting to look plain nasty

Linking welfare to preschool attendance a world first

New Update on: How will the new Social obligations which will be required of all beneficiary parents effect home schoolers?

How will the new Social obligations which will be required of all beneficiary parents effect home schoolers?


From the Smiths:

Updated 23 September 2012: Life for Those Left Behind (Craig Smith’s Health) page 6 click here


Needing help for your home schooling journey:


Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:


This link is motivational: