Consultation

Social Services Legislation Rewrite bill

This bill repeals the Social Security Act 1964. As well as rewriting social security legislation to “enhance clarity, coherency, and consistency” it also introduces policy changes. These affect the principles underlying the social security system and the rules around financial support for people in need, for example because of unemployment disability, child & family.  

Additional principles are focused on long term beneficiaries and employment. Specifics include merging orphans and the unsupported child benefits; allowing single people to be paid a single rate of sole parent support; renaming the emergency benefit ‘the exceptional circumstances benefit’ and introducing the discretion to apply, for example, work obligations, and removing a benefit which applies only to people who are totally blind (S40J).

NZNO members’ feedback / comment on the health needs of people receiving social security assistance is sought, particularly with regard to work capacity. We note that the Bill frames social security in terms of charity rather than human rights,  ie ‘who is entitled to what’ - rather than ensuring that the basic needs of all citizens are met. The period given for the Committee to consider this substantial Bill, including hearing submissions, has been reduced, under protest from MPs, from the standard six months to four months. We apologise for the short timeframe for feedback.

The bill and accompanying explanatory note (ills Digest) and impact statements can be found here - New Zealand Parliament - Social Secuirty Legislation Rewrite Bill

Feedback due: Please send feedback to marilynh@nzno.org.nz by 20 June 2016.

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