Palmerston North, NZ – As the government’s Select Committee ponders submissions on the proposed Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill, home educators across New Zealand continue to hope that their concerns over discrimination and other breaches of human rights in the Bill will be heard and addressed. Meanwhile the Home Education Foundation (HEF), which has been advocating parental rights in New Zealand for close to three decades, considers the human rights problems in the Bill serious enough to lay before the Human Rights Commission.
Barbara Smith, National Director of the HEF, says that the decision to contact the Commission was not taken lightly.
“Many organisations from religious bodies to law centres and women’s rights advocates raised the same concerns in their submissions,” she says. “Additionally, most of the submissions on the Bill came from parents who would be discriminated against by the social obligations in the Bill.”
The “Social Obligations” contained in the Bill require all beneficiary parents to ensure that their preschool-aged children attend an accredited Early Childhood Education provider, register their children with a primary health care provider and ensure that their children attend all the core Well Child checks.
According to the Law Society of New Zealand, these social obligations stigmatise beneficiaries as being unable to care for themselves or their children and will likely result in discrimination on the basis of employment status, which is prohibited by section 19 of the Bill of Rights Act.
The Dunedin Community Law Centre highlighted the discrimination involved in the Bill. “These proposals imply that beneficiaries are bad parents who do not know what is best for their children.” This was echoed in many of the submissions. “This Bill creates a category of citizen who has fewer choices and less autonomy simply because they are in receipt of a benefit,” said the Parish Council of St Andrew’s on the Terrace. A private submission stated, “The implication of the bill is that beneficiaries do not see to the necessary health needs of their children…It is a stigma for beneficiaries, rather than a social good for all.”
Others have pointed out the breach of parental rights that results from parents being unable to choose a more natural or home-based approach to preschool and health care. Many parents making submissions on the Bill objected to being forced to send their preschool children to ECE, whether or not the child is ready or the family wishes to provide quality ECE in their own home.
Many of the organisations making submissions also believed that it is not the role of the state to supplant legitimate parental choices. “Social obligation requirements take away the rights of parents to choose what is best for themselves and their families,” said the Auckland Women’s Centre. “Furthermore, some parents want to have a choice about the educational environment they put their children into. Not all ECE is suitable for all children. Some parents choose to home school their children.”
The rights of children are another consideration. One family objecting to the Bill shared how one of their children was unready to attend preschool at the usual age. The parents, unable to force their child to undergo the emotional trauma of being left in ECE all day, elected to keep her at home. “We currently have the financial wherewithal to do exactly as we see fit—but that could change in a heartbeat,” they said in their submission. “In the event of death or illness we would not only become dependent on a benefit—we’d also have our rights as parents trampled upon.”
Other organisations expressed concern over the fifty per cent benefit cuts envisioned for families who fail to comply with the “social obligations”, objecting that the children in such families are likely to suffer unacceptable harm through the loss of basic income.
“We agree with the hundreds of parents and dozens of organisations who have expressed their concern about the Bill,” says Mrs Smith. “Our concerns include discrimination against the unemployed, parental rights to choose children’s education and health care, women’s rights to choose domestic work instead of employment, and children’s rights to access the best available education without being deprived of basic income.
“We are asking the Human Rights Commission to make strong objections to the human rights violations in the Bill, and to defend the rights of beneficiaries with legal action if necessary.”
The Home Education Foundation urges all concerned New Zealanders to contact their local MP about the human rights problems in this bill. More information on the bill can be found at www.hef.org.nz.
About the Home Education Foundation
The Home Education Foundation has been informing parents for 28 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 www.hef.org.nz or more specifically hef.org.nz/2012/make-a-
Media release on Scoop: Home Educators Appeal To Human Rights Commission
Media release on Voxy: Home educators appeal to Human Rights Commission
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Related Links to Social Security Bill:
- Social Security Bill and the Human Rights Commission
- Home Educators on Benefits
- John Key: Let us target and focus more on those who are in need.
- New Zealand, Sweden and the Johanssons
- Contacting the Select Committee
- International Human Rights Day 10 December 2012
- Media Release 14 – Social Security Bill Is Unjustifiably Discriminatory, Says NZ Law Society
- Media Release 13 – Australian Benefit Reforms Bow to Parents’ Rights
- A few more tips when giving an oral submission
- More experiences before the Select Committee
- Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill: Best Scenario?
- Home Educators happy with benefit revamp in Australia
- Kate’s oral submission and some questions
- Submissions published for the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill
- Presenting Oral Submission to Social Services Select Committee
- About Early Child Care in Sweden
- ECE linked to obesity in kids: study
- BERLIN DECLARATION
- Media Release 12 – Early Childhood Education Brings Social Drawbacks, Uncertain Benefits
- New Zealand Law Society Submission
- Australians have common sense where it seems our NZ Government does not
- ECE (Preschool) is no good for 4, 5 and possibly 6 year olds expert says
- Presenting an oral submission to the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill
- Social Services Select Committee members
- Barbara Smith’s submission
- Media Release 11 – Parents Are Responsible for Education, Says HEF National Director
- Media Release 10 – Preschool Associated With Social and Academic Disadvantage
- A Bit of Political Advice to Home Educators by Craig Smith
- Samuel Blight’s submission
- Home Education Foundation’s submission
- Media Release 9 – Social Security Bill Should Treat Home Education as a Legitimate Choice
- Media Release 8 – Social Security Bill Will Cause Real Hardship to Real People
- Family Integrity’s submission
- Media Release 7 – Paula Bennett’s One-Size-Fits-All Approach Leaves Parents With No Options
- 2nd letter from Paula Bennett to Barbara Smith
- Why should I put a submission into the Select Committee about the beneficiaries?
- Media Release 6 – Social Security Bill Will Punish Responsible Parents Who ‘Can’t Be Bought’
- Beneficiaries: Policy and Law
- 66 Submissions
- Submission: Trafficking, extortion, kidnapping, slavery and deception
- Media Release 5 – Beneficiary Parents “Not Able to Home School” Under Social Security Bill
- Media Release 4 – Social Security Bill Targets Responsible Parents for Toughest Penalties
- Letter from Paula Bennett to Samuel Blight
- Opinion Piece in Truth
- Possible timeline for Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill
- Media Release 3 – Social Security Bill’s ECE Obligations Breach Human Rights
- Media Release 2 – Vulnerable Children Not Benefited By Social Security Bill
- Media Release 1 – Social Security Bill Coerces Parents, Removes Freedom
- Make a submission: Reject compulsory Early Education for 3 year olds
- Some of the main links
- Comment on Q+A: Social Development Minister Paula Bennett
- Human Rights in New Zealand Today: The right to education
- 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 to Barbara Smith
- 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 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:
Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/
This link is motivational:
Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill