11 Sep 2012

Benefits to be reduced if welfare obligations not met

3:45 pm on 11 September 2012

Parents on a benefit could have their welfare payments halved if they fail to meet a new set of social obligations for their children.

The Government will introduce legislation to Parliament next week setting out its next welfare changes, including re-organising the system into three main benefits.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has outlined obligations parents on a benefit will have to comply with and the sanctions they will face if they do not.

From July next year, they will have to ensure that their children attend 15 hours a week of Early Childhood Education from the age of three, attend school from the age of 5 or 6, be enrolled with a GP and complete core health checks.

Ms Bennett says parents will receive three reminders to comply - and if reasonable steps are not taken to achieve those goals, their benefit will be cut by up to 50%.