February 20, 2013
Palmerston North, NZ – While the “social obligations” in the government’s Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill promise to disadvantage children, a number of groups have highlighted the additional disadvantages women will face under the benefit reforms, says Barbara Smith of the Home Education Foundation (HEF).
Under the work focus provisions of the Bill, mothers will need to work 15 hours per week once their youngest turns 5 and 30 hours per week once their youngest turns 14.
“Minister for Social Development Paula Bennett believes mothers should work because being jobless is demoralizing,” says Mrs Smith. “But mothers with children to care for are not jobless.”
In a press release dated 12th September 2012, Ms Bennett cited statistics showing that sole parents receive 23% of the costs of welfare. She said, “We can do much better than this, by providing more support to sole parents and others who’ve historically received very little help to get off welfare.”
“This makes it clear that her plan to cut welfare spending relies on getting single mothers away from their children and into the workforce,” says Mrs Smith. “While many women are happy to work to support their families, it’s disgraceful that women with very young children and women who choose the full-time job of educating their children at home right through secondary school will be forced into the workplace under this bill.
“I have heard from hundreds of women who are concerned that their way of life will be threatened by this bill.”
It’s no surprise, says Mrs Smith, that many women’s groups have expressed their concern with the Bill’s relentless work focus provisions for sole mothers.
According to the Beneficiary Advisory Service, the work focus provisions of the Bill “will impact heavily on young women who are caring for an infant” and the resulting stress and anxiety will pose a risk to both mother and child.
The Auckland Women’s Centre “considers that it is a crucial component of the well-being of our society that extra restrictions and difficulties are not enshrined in legislation that will result in limiting a sole-mother’s ability to provide dedicated, quality parenting to their children.” Domestic work, they argue, forms “a normal part of many women’s lives rather than a deviation from male patterns of employment.”
The Psychological Society of New Zealand also found the work focus troubling. “There are many of those who live in Aotearoa/NZ who contribute in alternative ways e.g. a young Maori woman called to care for her sick kuia, voluntary activities for children within a church or a person with a disability acting as an advocate.”
Te Whaainga Wahine, a national network advocating the rights of Maori women, argued that the amendments will compromise the rights of Maori women to care for, protect, and make decisions in the best interests of their tamariki, mokopuna and whanau.
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom also believed that the work focus provisions would disadvantage women. “It will create extra stress for people who should be work exempt because they are caring for children. The care of children is not given due importance and this amendment appears to be a punitive measure for those who dare to have another child when they are on a benefit.”
“It’s reasonable to say that the Bill will cause serious disadvantage to women,” says Mrs Smith.
Concerned New Zealanders should write, call, and visit their local MPs and the Select Committee, Mrs Smith urges.
Tell your friends. Make appointments to see the Committee members or your local MP.
“Caring for children and whanau is a real job with real value to society. All women, including beneficiaries, should be able to do the work they are called to.”
The Select Committee members are Jacinda Ardern, Simon Bridges, Melissa Lee, Jan Logie, Asenati Lole-Taylor, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, Tim Macindoe, Alfred Ngaro, Rajen Prasad, Mike Sabin and Su’a William Sio. Letters to individual MPs should be sent to this address (no stamp necessary):
Private Bag 18888
More information on the bill and contact details for MPs can be found at http://hef.org.nz/2013/urgent-
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-
Community Scoop: Social Security Bill Work Focus Will Make Life Hard for Mums
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Related Links to Social Security Bill:
- Media Release 18 – How Home-Based Child Care Saves the Government Money
- Media Release 17 –Preschool Bad for Children, Says Swedish Parental Rights Advocate
- URGENT ACTION required: Social Security Bill
- Media Release 16 – Call For Letter Writing Campaign Against Social Security Bill
- Media Release 15 – Home Educators Appeal To Human Rights Commission On ‘Discriminatory’ 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 2 February 2013: 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: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/
Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/
Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill