There have been some changes to the Bill since the First Reading back in September 2012. It is important if you are on a benefit that you understand what the law does and does not say so that you are not forced by WINZ to do something that the law does not require of you.
What does the law say?
1. It is compulsory for 3 and 4 year olds to be attending an ECE—this ECE can be in your home with your own children. If you are keeping your children home you will have to use a Government approved programme for an undisclosed amount of time each week which will be taken out to 15 hours a week sometime in the future.
2. You can keep your 5 year olds at home doing whatever you like with them—just like before this Bill passed.
3. Your 6 year olds and above have to attend school or you have to get an exemption for them—just like before the Bill passed.
4. You will have to enrol your children with a GP.
5. Your children will have to complete the core WellChild/Tamariki Ora checks
6. If your youngest is 5 you (mothers) will have to work for 15 hours a week.
7. If your youngest is 14 you (mothers) will have to work for 30 hours a week.
8. From the time you go onto a benefit until the end of that year the social obligations do not apply – this also applies to everyone going onto the benefit this year.
What does the law NOT say?
1. You do not have to send your child to an ECE facility.
2. The Bill has not set the minimum weekly hours for using the Government approved curriculum in your home. At the moment you can determine that time at less than 15 hours a week. It will be extended to 15 hours at a later date.
3. The law says nothing about 5 year olds.
4. You don’t have to visit the GP—(have to be enrolled with a GP)
5. Compulsory immunisations are not in the Bill, and Paula Bennett was not able to include them in the Bill after the Second Reading. So you do not have to get your preschoolers immunised.
6. Mothers have to work 15 or 30 hours a week but it does not have to be out of your home and there is no money value on it in the Bill. One WINZ worker told a beneficiary mother (before the Bill passed) that she could sit at home watching TV while she knitted for 15 hours a week.
7. The Bill does not say that you have to go to “Getting Work Ready Meetings/Training” before your youngest is 5. So if you get a letter when your youngest is still only 2 or even younger (I heard of someone getting the letter when her youngest was only 6 months old) then hold the WINZ workers to the law. You only have to be working 15 hours a week once your youngest turns 5—not before.
8. You can home educate your children and work 15 or 30 hours a week. Paula Bennett said that you would not be able to, but if you are working from home then it is possible—hard, unfair etc. but it is possible. More on this later with ideas etc.
1. We don’t know how the sanctions will work. If you are on the Benefit when this Bill comes into effect we don’t know how hard or easy it will be to get off the benefit if you are not obeying the social obligations or work requirements. You might be able to say that you don’t want to receive the Benefit any more and that will be the end of it. But on the other hand the sanctions are nasty. If after three warnings over 6-8 weeks you haven’t fulfilled the social obligations you will lose half your benefit and be subject to “intensified case management support”—in other words more frequent meetings with WINZ to make you comply with the social obligations. According to the MSD’s Welfare Reform Paper E, “There are operational processes in place for clients to be referred to CYF or fraud investigation if they continue on a fifty percent sanction.” This means that parents who continue refusing to fulfill their social obligations after losing half their benefit may be reported to CYF or investigated for fraud.
2. So my recommendations would be if at all possible to get off the Benefit before this bill comes into effect in July 2013 especially if you have no intentions to teach the Government approved curriculum to your 3 and 4 year olds and do not intend to work the required 15 or 30 hours a week.
3. 1 Timothy 5 talks about older children looking after their mothers and younger siblings and leaving true widows for the Church to look after them.
- · If at all possible get your older children or the father of your children or extended family to help/support you and your children.
- · If this fails and your family can’t help then go to your Church and talk to them. It is time for the local Church to take up their responsibilities to help the widow and those in need and not leave it up to the Government any longer.
- · If you are not on a benefit then please consider providing the needy families you know with this help and support as appropriate.
MSD and Home Schooling
Different WINZ offices have been operating differently. Some have been compassionate and others have been obnoxious towards home educators. The MSD (Ministry of Social Development) have told me that they want to have the same policy toward home educators across the country. They want the WINZ workers to be compassionate not obnoxious. Some WINZ workers are against home education. They don’t see why they have to put their children in school and have to go out to work while the Government pays home educating mothers to stay home with their children—they forget that it is a choice that they made. They forget that the government pays for their children’s school and ECE. They ignore the fact that home educators save the government money when they keep their children home. So they try to make things very hard for home educators by saying they have to send their children to ECE and go out to work.
We have had some conflicting information from Paula Bennett about what the MSD policy is for home educators. In a letter from her in October she said that beneficiaries who want to homeschool their children will have to provide “proof of restricted circumstances that makes their child’s attendance at school unreasonable” as well as a Ministry of Education (MoE) exemption certificate, in order to fulfill the Bill’s requirement for children to be attending school. However, Parliamentary documents such as the Select Committee’s report confirm that an MoE exemption is all you need in order to fulfill the social obligation for school attendance.
The MSD wants to be consistent with how they treat home educators. If your case worker at WINZ is being unfair and intolerant and thinks you should not be homeschooling or keeping your 3 and 4 year old home, then Head Office would like to hear about it. Please ring (04) 916-3300.
Another thing to remind your case worker at WINZ is that you are saving the Government money by home educating your children. This is what I put in the Home Education Foundation submission:
From the Home Education Foundations submission on the Beneficiary Bill October 2012
6. The Bill will not necessarily save the government money
Single mothers on a benefit
We have heard from a number of mothers that the birth fathers of their children are paying maintenance to Work and Income which is paying for a good portion of their benefit.. If this is so and the mother is mainly relying on the children’s birth father rather than the government, then chasing the mother into employment and forcing the children into preschool will not save much money but will continue to put the family through unnecessary hardship.
Home educators save the government in school costs
According to Ministry of Education statistics, New Zealand spends US$5,582 (approx NZ$6,790.51) per primary school student per year and US$6,994 (approx NZ$8,501.67) per secondary school student per year. This is how much money home educating sole parents save the government annually. A sole parent home educating three children could be saving the government around NZ$22,000 per year, which is more than her benefit. If she has special needs children, she could be saving the government even more: special schools in New Zealand spend up to NZ$160,000 per year on each student.
Meanwhile the cost of a year’s ECE for one child attending 15 hours’ preschool per week is approximately NZ$5112.90 per year, and 75% of ECE funding comes from the government.
We believe that work test requirements should be mindful of, and friendly toward, the monetary and social benefits of home education at all levels, and should seriously consider the possibility of pursuing delinquent fathers for maintenance rather than harrying single mothers into the workplace.
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Please do so with the whole post. Thankyou
- 3rd Reading of Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill
- Media Release 25 – Families and Churches Must Care for the Unemployed
- Is the Government planning on imposing a Government approved Curriculum on Home Educators?
- Media Release 24 – Well Child Obligations Target Families for “Surveillance”
- Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill: A few more days for lobbying
- Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill still time for emails and phone calls
- Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill 3rd reading still to happen – possibly next week
- 3rd Reading TODAY for the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill: What can we still be doing?
- Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill – Committee Stage
- 3rd reading tomorrow afternoon or most likely 7:30-9:30pm tomorrow evening
- 3rd Reading of the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill TODAY
- 3rd Reading of the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill
- Home Education Foundation’s email to Peter Dunne
- Home Education Foundation’s email to John Banks
- Media Release 23 – Social Security Bill Passes Second Reading
- Videos of the 2nd Reading of the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill
- Please ring as many MPs as you can today before 2pm
- Please email the MPs today before 2pm
- Second reading TODAY for the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill
- Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill 13 March 2013 – still wanting: Action Station
- Media Release 21 – Parents Unhappy with Select Committee Report on Social Security Bill
- Long days at nursery or with childminders ‘raising a generation of school tearaways’
- Peaceful Protest TODAY outside a MPs Electorate Office – Are you going?
- Media Release 21 – Call for Peaceful Protests on Social Security Bill
- Current Social Services Select Committee Members: Urgent action required
- Media Release 20 – Accidents, Escapes Plague Early Childhood Centres
- Media Release 19 – Social Security Bill Work Focus Will Make Life Harder for Mums
- 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
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- 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:
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