People should not be forced into inappropriate work, punished for being in relationships or discouraged from finding additional income through secondary tax.

“Don’t penalise parents for living together to raise their children. It’s important that whānau are supported and that our welfare system reflects this.”

  • Sophia, Social Worker, Huia

“Being able to work part-time, without incurring financial loss and therefore making it not worthwhile to actually work.”

  • Sue, Sole Parent, Ashburton

“I think if someone is working they should not have to automatically pay secondary tax. I think there should be an opportunity to work more without losing out on their benefit. The way things are means it's pretty hard to be on benefit and make enough money to be comfortable. I worked it out that I get the same working 10-15 hours week with benefit as I do working 35-40 off benefit. If I work more than those hours I just lose out on benefit so I'm not actually getting more for it.”

  • Andrea, Sole Parent, East Takaka

“There are serious flaws with threshold levels for declaring relationships; investigations are draconian … Too often the rules are flouted because people are just trying to live on an income that is not liveable, especially solo mums, being a solo mum is a tough job. Clients are too often prosecuted for breaking WINZ rules in small ways; in comparison to other sectors of society it is akin to being prosecuted for stealing a loaf of bread … The threshold for benefit reduction when working is far too low, it disincentivises working above earning $80 extra per week unless securing a full-time job; the system as it stands is actually quite cruel.”

  • Feydre, Jobseeker