Surviving Without Choice: An Evaluation of the Discrimination of Beneficiaries with Children within the Social Security System
37 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 19, 2017
Since its first inception, New Zealand’s social security system has been guided by the notion of reciprocal obligations. However, obligations required on the part of beneficiaries, particularly those with children, have become increasingly more burdensome. The most recent amendments require beneficiary parents to return to work earlier and for longer hours. This is in addition to social obligations, which provide direction as to what is considered by the state to be good parenting and deserving of welfare support. The child rearing autonomy of beneficiary parents is also affected by the increase in work testing obligations for beneficiaries who have additional children. In conducting a s 19 discrimination analysis, this paper submits that these provisions constitute prima facie discrimination. Beneficiary parents are treated differently from non-beneficiary parents as the provisions that apply to them affect their ability to make valuable choices with regards to parenting methods, having additional children and returning to work. The discriminatory treatment does not only affect beneficiary parents. Welfare provision inevitably affects the children of beneficiaries who are reliant on this support and whose interests continue to be inadequately considered.
Keywords: Social Security Act 1964, discrimination; beneficiary parents; reciprocal obligations; Bill of Rights Act 1990, s 19.
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation