12 Sep 2012

Govt warned crackdown could hurt children

8:07 am on 12 September 2012

The Government is being warned a crackdown on beneficiaries could ultimately hurt the very children it's intended to help.

From next July, parents on a benefit will have to ensure their children meet four health and education requirements, otherwise their benefit could be cut by up to half.

Children must also be enrolled with a GP and have core health checks.

Parents will get three chances to fall into line before having their benefit cut by up to half.

Labour says if a benefit is cut, the children the Government says it's trying to help could end up worse off.

The Green Party describes the move as ''another'' mass distraction from the problem of child poverty.

Party co-leader Metiria Turei said it's unfair that the financial penalty would apply solely to beneficiaries and not other parents.

But United Future leader Peter Dunne says it's a fundamentally good idea for people receiving a benefit to have to meet certain obligations for their children.

However, he hopes it won't be a repeat of the Shipley Government's code of social responsibility.

Mr Dunne said that failed by imposing obligations on people without the Government providing services to hold up its end of the bargain.