Social Security Bill Coerces Parents, Removes Freedom

Social Security Bill Coerces Parents, Removes Freedom

Tuesday, 9 October 2012, 9:59 am
Press Release: Home Education Foundation

Social Security Bill Coerces Parents, Removes Freedom
The Home Education Foundation (HEF) of New Zealand is calling on politicians to reject the coercive new Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill. The Bill, sponsored by Minister for Social Development Paula Bennett, passed the First Reading and has been sent to a Government Select Committee.

HEF National Director Barbara Smith says, “I, along with many other Kiwis, have huge concerns about this bill.” If the Bill passes, “social obligations” will compel beneficiaries to send children aged 3-5 to an approved Early Childhood Education provider for at least 15 hours per week, ensure that their children attend school from age 5/6, register their children with a general practitioner, and attend all the government-approved Well Child checks.

“The government should not be coming into families like this and forcing our children to be separated from us,” Mrs Smith said. “Back in 1877 we lost the freedom to educate our own children, at home, from ages 6-16. Our forefathers let us down by not fighting for this freedom more when the Education Act was passed in 1877. We now have to apply for exemptions for our 6 – 16 year olds.

“Do we want that for our 3 -5 year olds as well? No, definitely no!”

Under the Human Rights Act 1993, parents have a right to choose what kind of education they will give their children. “Over the years there has been a lot of research that children do much better at home than in Early Childhood centres,” Mrs Smith added, citing research available on the HEF website. Mrs Smith says many concerned Kiwis have contacted her about the new legislation. “They want to continue learning at home with their 3-5-year-old children.”

She is also concerned that the Bill will open a path to ECE and health checks being made compulsory for every child in New Zealand. “The government will say that this is working so well for beneficiaries (and it won’t be) that they will want it to apply to everyone on the WFF and Family Support. Then to all 3- 5 year olds in a few years’ time.”

As a widow with three minor children, Mrs Smith is uniquely placed to grasp the repercussions of the bill. “I am not on the widow’s benefit as my 5 older children are supporting me. I am extremely thankful for them. But I feel for those widows and mothers raising their children on their own, trying to do a good job, wanting not to be separated from their 3-5-year-olds and wanting to make their own decisions about their children’s health. Reforming the benefit system should not include compulsory education and health care.

“Why don’t we target the irresponsible fathers rather than making it tougher for single mothers?”

Serving, Promoting and Strengthening the Home Education Community in New Zealand since 1986



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


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Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill