But in contrast to providing temporary relief to productive, working parents, why should the taxpayer be left holding the baby for sole parents claiming a benefit, who refuse to disclose the identity of the child’s father?
The parental disclosure requirement has been government policy for 27 years, with the financial sanctions introduced by a Labour Government in 1990 and subsequently increased by the Helen Clark-led regime in 2005.
A variety of exemptions shield sole parents from coughing up a name, if they genuinely don’t know, if there is a risk of violence, or if the child was conceived as a result of sexual assault. But that hasn’t stopped the Greens from gunning to eliminate these sanctions, and now Labour has tacked left to make it a reality.
Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni thinks the disclosure rule is “discriminatory against sole parents”, while furnishing in the cynical cloak of identity politics: “97.7 per cent of people sanctioned are women, and 52.8 per cent Maori.”
There’s some blokes who won’t name the mother?
The latest government figures indicate 13,000 mothers drawing a sole-parent benefit have been sanctioned for refusing to name the biological father. Over 100 of those mothers have had at least four children. Even more bizarrely, there are 300 men on a sole-parent benefit having their welfare payments docked for playing dumb who the mother is.
Watch these numbers grow. Basically child support obligations have now become voluntary.
Anyone who parents a child should be held financially accountable, particularly when we shell out over a $1 billion on the sole-parent benefit alone, in addition to the billions lavished on the accommodation supplement.
It’s clear many parents are stiffing the taxpayer by doing a no-names deal, whereby the mother drawing welfare won’t divulge the father’s name to the state, on the proviso that the he flicks her some regular cash payments, on the sly.
Beyond the financial abuse of taxpayers, National’s Bill English has quite rightly issued a note of caution about the unintended consequences of this retrograde win for welfarism.
He worries women could face a greater risk of violence as absent fathers pile on the pressure not to name them. Oh the irony.
Under current policy women could point out that they are required to name the partner. Under this new policy they won’t face any sanction, so will indeed have great pressure from deadbeat dads to leave them out of it.
In addition to the 13,000 non-disclosure benefit sanctions, nearly 15,000 other beneficiaries had their welfare payments reduced in September for breaching their work obligations, like attending arranged appointments.
The Greens are now on the warpath to repeal all “excessive sanctions”, suggesting the long shadow of Metiria Turei is undeservedly getting the last laugh, while the taxpayer gets royally screwed.
It’s a gratuitous leftie overreach that will rile middle ground voters. I’m staggered that New Zealand First hasn’t scuppered it.
And it’s precisely the type of policy change that will ensure Labour doesn’t pocket the 10 to 15 per cent honeymoon bounce in the polls that’s typically showered on new governments.
Add to that Jacinda Ardern’s blinkered crusade over Manus Island and Labour will be lucky to get beyond 40 per cent party vote support in the next round of polling.
Just wait until they try to repeal the three strikes law and Kiwis realise which criminals will benefit the most from this law change.