The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by the Child Poverty Action Group which challenged the Government’s in-work tax credit, saying it discriminated against beneficiaries.
The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) had said the credit, which is worth at least $60 a week and applies only to working parents, not those on a benefit, was unjustified discrimination.
The challenge was the subject of a court hearing in the Court of Appeal in May.
CPAG alleged the “off-benefit rule” that the in-work tax credit was available only to those in full-time employment who were not receiving an income-tested benefit breached the Human Rights Act and the New Zealand Bill of Rights which prohibit discrimination on the grounds of employment status.
CPAG took the case to the Court of Appeal after both The Human Rights Review Tribunal and the High Court ruled against it.
The Court of Appeal said while it disagreed with the High Court on one aspect of the appeal, it did not affect the final outcome.
The Court of Appeal found that the off-benefit rule, on its face, subjected beneficiaries to different treatment that amounted to a material disadvantage but the rule ultimately did not breach the Bill of Rights.
“This is because the in-work tax credit deliberately created an earnings gap between people on a benefit and people who are working. The objective was to incentivise people into work and improve incomes for families with children,” the Court of Appeal judges said in their decision released today.
Thank goodness for that. It would have been ridiculous to have had the courts say that the Government can not pay a working family (who have costs such as travel to work) more than a family on the benefit.
However Labour and Greens last election both campaigned to change the policy, so that beneficiary families can get the In-Work Tax Credit. I guess they’d have to rename it!Tags: WFF