Media Release 5 – Beneficiary Parents “Not Able to Home School” Under Social Security Bill

Media Release – Beneficiary Parents “Not Able to Home School” Under Social Security Bill

October 24, 2012

Palmerston North, NZ – Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett last week told parents that under the new Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill, beneficiaries will face increased government discrimination in seeking exemptions to home educate their children.

In a letter dated October 18, Ms Bennett told the concerned Kiwi dad who contacted her that “in general, a beneficiary parent will not be able to home school their child.”

Under the Education Act parents currently have the right to apply to the Ministry of Education for an exemption to home educate their children. Exemptions are granted if the Ministry is satisfied that the child will be taught “at least as regularly and as well” as in a registered school.

But according to Ms Bennett, the Social Security Bill will only allow beneficiary parents to home educate in strictly limited circumstances, where the parents can prove that it would be “unreasonable” for their child to attend school where transport is unavailable or because of severe physical or learning disabilities.

Ms Bennett alleged that these draconian terms are intended to provide “better outcomes for children”. But Barbara Smith, National Director of the Home Education Foundation of New Zealand, says that they are harsh and discriminatory.

“These new hurdles will effectively make it impossible for beneficiaries to choose the kind of education their children will receive—which is a basic human right under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Mrs Smith says.

“All the research on home education shows its superiority to the school system. This bill makes it impossible for beneficiaries to give their children an excellent education.”

Mrs Smith says she has heard from hundreds of concerned parents who treasure the opportunity to learn with their children at home.

“Everyone has questions. What about the many responsible, dedicated home educators across this country? If their breadwinner loses his job, will they be forced to choose between their way of life and food on the table?

“What about the single-parent home educators, some of whom have left dangerous situations and gone on the benefit to keep their children safe? Will they be forced to part from those children because Paula Bennett doesn’t think they’re doing a good enough job of raising them at home?

Mrs Smith emphasises that current law already requires home educators to prove their children are being taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school. “Requiring beneficiaries to prove that it would be ‘unreasonable’—according to the Ministry of Social Development—to send their children to school gives no benefit whatever to children,” she says. “By law, if the parents are home educating, they’ve already proved that their children are better off at home than at school. Why would Ms Bennett force them into an inferior education?

“It’s time the government stopped treating beneficiaries and home educators like second-class citizens.”

Mrs Smith encourages all concerned Kiwis will make a submission to the Select Committee by the deadline on November 1. Ms Bennett’s letter and materials for writing a submission can be found at

About the Home Education Foundation

The Home Education Foundation has been informing parents for 27 years about the fantastic opportunity to de-institutionalise our sons and daughters and to embrace the spiritual, intellectual and academic freedom that is ours for the taking. Through conferences, journals, newsletters and all kinds of personal communications, we explain the vision of handcrafting each child into a unique individual, complete with virtuous character, a hunger for service to others, academic acumen and a strong work ethic. For more information, please visit or more specifically

Already appeared here:

Scoop: Beneficiary Parents “Not Able to Home School” Under Bill

Voxy: Beneficiary parents ‘can’t home school’ under Bill

NewstalkZB: Welfare reforms may limit home schooling

As well as 3 Radio interviews today so far:

Radio Rhema at 9:45am
NZ Talk ZB
Radio Live

Raglan Community Radio 9:15am Friday


Related Links:


From the Smiths:

Updated 5 October 2012:  One year on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 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:


Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill


2 thoughts on “Media Release 5 – Beneficiary Parents “Not Able to Home School” Under Social Security Bill

  1. This is outrageous why should people on a Benefit be treated any different to working class people. We can educate our children just as well if not better than anyone else. This is very unfair to the parents and the children concerned.

  2. Hi there, I am a solo mum on the benefit with children whom I home educate. I am very offended by what Paula Bennett is insisting upon us. I never thought I’d see the day where Parents are (possibly) forced to sending their kids to school. This is appalling and down right punishment. I do not believe my children will progress in the ways the are now by sending them to a school. It is so frustrating when we do not believe in the many pagan holidays the schools here in NZ practice. We don’t do Christmas, Easter etc.. but should that matter to anyone else?? It shouldn’t. Unfortunately it does. It bothers most of the Teachers and other classmates in a school because (my child) then gets looked at like the weird one who doesn’t celebrate or participate in anything (well not anything of course but you could understand the feeling if you went through this). Speaking from personal experience I have had my grades lowered in primary/intermediate because I did not participate in some of these activities. I am worried my children will have to go through what I had to.. And I do not want that for them..My children deserve better..

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