November 1, 2014


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Beneficiaries and WINZ

Many beneficiaries are getting letters from WINZ that are very concerning. Here are some of the concerns from these letters:

I have, today, received a letter from winz stating that one of the requirements of me receiving the new sole parent benefit is that my children are enrolled in and attend school?? I am confused and alarmed. Do you have any information about this? Neither of my children attend school and neither have been immunised.

and

I received the letter and pamphlet today also and am left feeling crushed and distraught, although I’m sure a little more research etc. will hopefully shed some light on what it all actually means. My 2 yo turns 3 in Oct and I VERY MUCH do not want to enrol her in an early childhood centre (I currently homeschool her school-aged brother and sister) but I do wonder, if I am forced to enrol her somewhere, whether Play Centre is included in the approved programmes? At least then we could maybe get away with the one short session a week…

Firstly take a look at this link: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/

and this link:

You can home school and get the benefit. The Select Committee said that you would be able to do both.

 http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/BA3A8C04-EA05-454D-8875-EA715B021E0B/269438/DBSCH_SCR_5776_SocialSecurityBenefitCategoriesandW.pdf

Exemptions for home schooling

Many submitters raised the right of parents to home school their children.

We wish to assure them that this bill does not propose changes to policies on home schooling school-age children. The Ministry of  Education currently issues a Certificate of Exemption from Enrolment at a Registered School to parents who have met the criteria for home schooling, and the Ministry of Social Development does not intervene in decisions regarding schooling exemptions made by the Ministry of Education. However, because the legal requirement for school attendance begins at 6 years of age, the Ministry of Education does not currently provide exemptions to home school a child aged 5.

 We recommend amending clause 25, new section 60RA(3) by inserting paragraph (ab), to allow home schooling to meet the social obligation for school attendance by children aged 5 years until they turn 6 years old if the parent meets the additional criteria set out in regulations for an exemption from work test obligations for home schooling. This would recognise that school attendance is not legally required during this year, and a Certificate of Exemption from Enrolment at a Registered School cannot be obtained until a child is 6.

However, once the child turned 6, an exemption certificate would still be required.

The proposed change should make it clear that it is not our intention to remove the ability for children aged from 5 to 6, or older, to be home schooled.

We also wish to note that a beneficiary can be exempt from meeting some or all of their work test obligations if they hold an exemption certificate and are home schooling a dependent or foster child who could not reasonably be expected to attend school because of, for example, learning or behavioural difficulties.

I am at a conference at the moment will add to this as soon as possible

 

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3rd Reading of Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill

Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill — Third Reading

There are now 310,146 people on benefits: 92,550 sole parents on Domestic Purposes Benefit, 58,208 on Sickness Benefits and 48,756 on Unemployment Benefits.

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From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 2 February 2013:  One year on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

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

http://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

http://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

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/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/

 

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Where to for Beneficiary families now that the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill has passed its Third Reading

Families Children and Parents Together

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.

 

My recommendations

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.

Updated 03/10/14

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

http://hef.org.nz/beneficiaries/submissions/home-education-foundations-submission/

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 feel free to repost, forward or pass on  this email

Please do so with the whole post. Thankyou

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Related Links:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

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

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

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

http://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

http://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

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/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

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Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill

http://hef.org.nz/2012/make-a-submission-reject-compulsory-early-education-for-3-year-olds/

 

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Media Release 25 – Families and Churches Must Care for the Unemployed

April 10, 2013

Palmerston North, NZ – The Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill has passed by a narrow two-vote margin, together with “social obligations” which will force beneficiary parents to make certain decisions for their children’s health and education or be penalised by a 50% sanction.

“This is disappointing,” says Home Education Foundation National Director Barbara Smith, who mobilised parents and young people across New Zealand to object to the draconian “social obligations”. “The New Zealand Law Society said this bill would discriminate against beneficiaries, and no amendments were made in response to that. The Minister for Health said that it would result in more children missing out on basic health care, and no amendments were made in response to that. Even a proposed amendment to prevent families being sanctioned where this would leave children without adequate income was defeated.”

Most of all, says Mrs Smith, it’s disappointing that government-approved early childhood education will now be mandatory for all 3 and 4 year old preschool-aged children of beneficiaries.

However, she says, the social obligations provide an opportunity for families, churches, and government to reconsider their proper roles.

“If the government pays to support sole-parent and struggling families, then we shouldn’t be surprised when they believe that gives them a say in these families’ decisions. Whoever pays the piper calls the tune.

“But this is a deviation from the government’s properly limited role, to protect national borders and keep the peace.”

Mrs Smith says she hopes these rules will convince struggling families to look elsewhere for financial support in times of hardship. “We can’t complain that the government is taking away our responsibilities if we aren’t willing to face those responsibilities.

“Throughout the Christian history of our culture, charity and public welfare has been the responsibility of families and churches, not the state,” she says.

“Families understood that they had the responsibility to care for ill or out-of-work relations. And where family support was inadequate, the church would step in to provide for the needy.”

Mrs Smith says that the church’s historic role in providing health care, education, and welfare has powerfully shaped culture in the past. “During the decline of the Roman empire, the church became so influential owing to its selfless deeds of charity and mercy that one emperor was forced to set up his own rival social security system to remind citizens that he was their god and would supply all their needs.”

Mrs Smith, a widow being supported by her five adult children, says that history teaches us to hope for the future. “There is a better way.

“In the coming days and years, more parents are going to face poverty and hardship because they refuse to sign their children over to a bloated paternal government which insists it knows best.

“We need to be ready to support them.”

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

.

Where this Media Release appeared:

.

Voxy: Families and churches urged to care for the unemployed

Scoop: Families and Churches Must Care for the Unemployed

Newstalk ZB: Interviewed today- recorded – will post up link when it is available

Radio Rhema: have rung me and I may be interviewed tomorrow, 11 April

.

Other Press Releases on the 3rd reading so far:

.

Paula Bennett: Welfare reforms pass into law

Auckland Action Against Poverty: Beneficiaries ‘receive biggest boot in the guts since ’91′

Peter Dunne: Fairer child support reform bill passes

Parliament today: Child Support And Welfare Reforms Pass Into Law

Labour: Welfare Reforms Mark The End Of Social Contract

Jacinda Ardern: Welfare reforms mark the end of social contract – Jacinda Ardern

Asenati Lole-Taylor  Social welfare reforms ‘impose unrealistic obligations’

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 2 February 2013:  One year on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

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

http://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

http://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

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/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

 

 

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Is the Government planning on imposing a Government approved Curriculum on Home Educators?

 

Families Children and Parents Together

A new thought about the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill.

Today at the Home Education Workshop in Dunedin during my “State of the Nation” Talk I was talking about the changes in the Bill at the 2nd reading. Beneficiary parents will, if this Bill passes, be able to home educate their 3 and 4 your olds at home, but only using a State approved curriculum. Stacey, one of the Mums, then said this could be the first step towards making it compulsory for all home educators to have to use a State approved curriculum.

When Ruby Harrold-Claesson was in New Zealand a few years ago she talked about the “Tryanny of the small steps”.  One of the things I did not like about this Bill was the fact that it was going to be compulsory for some children to attend a Government approved ECE.  That this could be a first step to make ECE compulsory for all children. Now I am also concerned that if this Bill is passed it could give the Government a foot in the door for being able to make all Home Educators follow a Government approved Curriculum.

I believe that this Bill could be debated from 7:30pm Tuesday 9 April and the 3rd Reading vote could be around 9:30pm.

Taking a look at the Order Paper for Parliament on Tuesday 9 April I find that the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill’s third reading is third on the “Government Order of the Day” list: http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/7B3B73E3-47FC-456C-83D3-8BA19D6A5BAC/268689/00HOH20130409_orderpaper_1.pdf. Previously when it has appeared on the Order Paper it has appeared on the “Member’s Order of the Day” list.

We just need one MP to change his vote at the 3rd Reading.  The 2 MPs that can do this are John Banks and Peter Dunne. Please write and ring them asking them to  vote against this Bill. Thank you – details below.

Tuesday at Parliament:

ACT:  John Banks  (04) 817 9999  (corrected phone number-you will be transferred to his office)

United Future:  Peter Dunne 04 817 6827

ACTION STATION

If you have not emailed and/or rung Peter Dunne and John Banks this week please do so immediately.

Peter Dunne: peter.dunne@parliament.govt.nz, ohariu.mp@parliament.govt.nz, sue.locke@parliament.govt.nz

John Banks: johnbanks.epsom@parliament.govt.nz, john.banks@act.org.nz

Put in your subject line as the MPs might not be able to read every email if they get a lot of emails: Please vote against the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill

My emails for you to use as a guide targeting their stand on this issue from their Party ideals:

Peter Dunne: http://hef.org.nz/2013/home-education-foundations-email-to-peter-dunne/

John Banks: http://hef.org.nz/2013/home-education-foundations-email-to-john-banks/

Please also ring the MPs. You will probably not be able to talk to the MPs. I have been trying to ring them for several days and I only get their secretaries. When you ring them please make sure you tell the secretaries that you want the MP to vote against the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill while the Social and Work Obligations and Sanctions are still in the Bill.

While at Parliament:

ACT:  John Banks  (04) 817 9999  (corrected phone number-you will be transferred to his office)

United Future:  Peter Dunne 04 817 6827

Until 9 April:

Epsom -  John Banks, Office 2.4, Level 2, 27 Gillies Avenue, Newmarket, (09) 522 7464

Ohariu - Peter Dunne, 3 Frankmoore Ave, Johnsonville, Wellington, (04) 478 0076

THE ISSUES as I see them again:

We will fight this Bill:

1. While ECE is compulsory for any 3 and 4 year old child

2. While any child has to use a State approved curriculum

3. While the Government is making it compulsory for any mother to have to go to work while she still has children at home

4. While it is compulsory for any child to have to complete the Well Child Checks

5. While our freedoms are slowly being taken from us

Encouragement:

Peter Dunne has changed his vote in the past at the 3rd Reading. So although it is very rare for a Bill to have a different outcome at the 3rd Reading from the 2nd Reading we have lots of hope that this Bill will be one of those rare Bills to change at the 3rd Reading.

So please, please, please write emails and ring these two MPs. It will be the volumne of emails and phone calls that will sway these MPs.

Thankyou to everyone who writes an email and/or rings Peter Dunne and/or John Banks.

****************************************************************************
In 1877 New Zealanders lost the freedom to educate our children at home without applying for permission. Our forefathers let us down by not standing up for their rights.

In 2013, will we be the generation that begins to lose the freedom to preschool our own children, to make our own decisions about health care, or to invest our time in our families above a job?

We say NO

Let us protect the children of Beneficiaries

Because this could extend to ALL children if this passes

SPEAK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE

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Please feel free to repost, forward or pass on  this email

Please do so with the whole post. Thankyou

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Related Links:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

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

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

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

http://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

http://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

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/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

*******************************

Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill

http://hef.org.nz/2012/make-a-submission-reject-compulsory-early-education-for-3-year-olds/

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