Keep our mana intact, don’t steal our children

I am opposed to the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill.

Parents should retain the right to choose the education and healthcare that their children receive regardless of the source or their income.

Parents who choose alternative education and healthcare for their children have done so after much thought and consideration – it is not the easy path. Yes, sadly, some children are neglected, I think that forcing all pre-school children of beneficiaries to attend an ECE centre is not going to address this issue, nor is forcing children to attend Well Child checks etc.

Sole parents (and one parent at least, in a two parent family) on a benefit already have a full-time job – being the main care-giver to their children. Bringing up children is THE most important job one can do in one’s life. If you force a parent to give up their job as full-time parent to be available for paid work, you are sending a very strong message that being a parent is not an important role, you decrease the mana of those that have chosen this path – again, it is not the easy path.

We have so many un-employed people in our country, if we force parents on a benefit back into the work-force, the jobs that they will take are the jobs that could have been for our childless un-employed, especially our youth. We should be encouraging our parents to stay at home for their children, our most precious resource. And leave the jobs for those that don’t already have one.

I am married with four dependent children, whom I home-school, my husband has a job. If this Bill were to be passed I would live in fear of my husband losing his job or having an accident that would mean that we rely on a benefit for our survival. I feel for all those already in this situation, especially those who are already in fear of having their benefit reduced because they choose to home-school.

If I were in a situation where we depended on a benefit, then my children and I would be financially dis-advantaged as I am very passionate and believe so strongly in the way I am raising my children that any benefit we were on would be reduced as I would not comply with this Bill if it were to be passed. Neglect and fraud are not the only reasons why beneficiaries would not ‘toe the line’.

Please reject this Bill. Retain the right of all New Zealanders to choose the education and healthcare they want. Keep our mana intact, don’t steal our children.

Thank-you for considering my submission.

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