We are calling for the removal of Sections 176, 177, 178 from the Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill.
These sections impose a weekly sanction of $22 or more on beneficiary sole mothers who have not identified the father of their child. This sanction (in its current form of Section 70A of the Social Security Act) is putting into further hardship families already struggling to survive.
Currently there are approximately 17,000 children in Aotearoa New Zealand for which this sanction is imposed. Of the 13,616 parents, 13,298 are women, and only 318 are men. 52.8% are Māori. This policy severely disproportionately effects women and Māori.
We request to the House of Representatives that the entirety of the provisions set out in Sections 176, 177 and 178 of the Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill, which enable sanctions on the benefits of thousands of sole mothers and their children, be removed from the bill and from legislation.
We have all the political parties on board except National, ACT and United Future. In a recent interview with the Children's Commissioner, he stated that "In principle, I don’t think [the 70A sanction is] child-centred or child-focused. And whatever the rationale for it, it disadvantages kids and it’s not good for children."
For more information about these sanctions see our FAQ: www.aaap.org.nz/stop_the_sanctions_faq