Lisa Woolley, President of NZCCSS, was recently interviewed by Paloma Migone, on the impact of sanctions on children. recently released financial sanctions data shows 43,000 sanctions have been issued to households with dependent children. “The numbers are shocking. The first thing to go when budgets were cut was food, but some may also be struggling with rent, which could lead to overcrowding. The impact on the health for children on overcrowding is huge and also when you think of the children being moved from house to house, it’s their education that gets impacted,”
The Minister of Social Development, Ms Anne Tolley’s view is “Being on a benefit is not a lifestyle”. Indeed not, given the barely sustainable benefit rate families must live on. Few would willingly flock to Work and Income unless for circumstances completely out of their control (redundancy, dependent child with a disability, mental health, sickness, learning disability, low skills). Regardless of all of this, however, the health and well-being of children should not suffer because of these external circumstances.
More information is needed from the Ministry of Social Development on how they are monitoring and evaluating the impact of sanctions on our most vulnerable children and families/whanau.