Home Education Foundation’s email to John Banks

22 March 2013

The Hon John Banks

Parliament Office
Private Bag 18888
Parliament Buildings

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

Dear Sir,

Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill

We are writing on behalf of the parents across New Zealand who have contacted us with fears that the Social Security Amendment Bill will destroy their freedom to make choices in the best interest of their children.

We had the privilege of reading your speech on behalf of the Bill at its first reading and were impressed to see you address some of the less popular truths about welfare. We couldn’t agree more that welfare needs reform, cutting back, and restoring to a small-community setting.

Unfortunately, National have seen fit to smuggle social obligations into the bill which will extend the government’s control over the choices of parents about their children’s education. We are very concerned about this for two basic reasons.

First, it will limit beneficaries’ choices about their children and give the government control over preschool education for beneficiaries. It will cause stress and hardship for people already in a bad situation, and it will give the government power it should not have to make decisions for other people’s families.

Second, giving the government control over preschool education for beneficiaries is prima facie discrimination according to the submission of the New Zealand Law Society. According to the Law Society, if you insist on government control of preschool education for beneficiaries, you must insist on government control of preschool education for everyone. Our concern is not simply for the many beneficiary families whom this legislation will force to make choices against their better judgement, but also for all New Zealand families if this government intervention becomes normative.

According to the ACT Party website, the guiding principle of the party is that individuals are the rightful owners of their lives and the proper purpose of government is to protect their rights without assuming their responsibilities. We applaud the ACT Party for taking this stand, and we are writing to you today to ask you to uphold this stand.

Parents have the responsibility to make decisions about their children’s education. Government intervention in this area is not a practical necessity: the voluntary early childhood education attendance rate is 90% among 3-year-olds and 95% among 4-year-olds. Many of the remaining percentage do not attend ECE either because there is no appropriate provider in their area, or because their parents passionately believe in providing quality ECE in their own homes.

The parents of these children should not need government permission to continue caring for their children in the way they see fit.

We understand that the welfare system needs reform. But it should not be at the expense of liberty. True reform will give people more responsibility, not make them more dependent on government approval and direction.

At the Third Reading of this Bill, parents all over New Zealand will be looking to the ACT Party to stand up for the principles of individual responsibility, parental choice in education, and limited government.

On behalf of these parents, we ask you to vote against the Bill at its Third Reading if it contains the Social and Work Obligations and Sanctions.

Yours faithfully,

The Home Education Foundation of New Zealand


Barbara Smith

National Director

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



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Related Links:


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: https://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

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


Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill