The Government is abusing its power of veto by scuppering a Green Party amendment designed to protect children on the grounds it has already budgeted for savings from slashing their parents' benefits, the Green Party said today.
The Government used its power of financial veto today to rule out Green MP Holly Walker's amendment to the Social Security Bill which would have meant Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) couldn't cut a parent's benefit if their child would be left cold, hungry or homeless as a result.
"The Government says it can't afford to let my amendment pass because it has already budgeted on saving $128 million by slashing the benefits of parents who won't be able to comply with its new work testing obligations," Ms Walker said.
"That it is literally banking on depriving some of our poorest children of the basic necessaries of life. They're already planning on taking these kids' food money.
"All my amendment sought to do was to give WINZ the discretion not to cut a parent's benefit if their child was going to unduly suffer as a result. It ensured WINZ considered the human rights of the child, and that New Zealand met its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
"It would have been bad enough to vote this amendment down, but to toss it out on the basis that they've already banked on kids' food money is even worse.
"New Zealanders value fairness for all our children and will not be impressed by this move."