Welfare Amendment Bill Progresses

by Desk Editor on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — 7:36 PM

A welfare amendment bill has made progress in the face of some opposition.

The Social Security Amendment Bill (No 3) completed its second reading by 95 to 25 with the Greens and NZ First opposed.

It was introduced in November 2010 with the intention of clarifying a number of legal issues in regards to welfare payments.

Amongst these is the payment of workers getting compensation from an ACC accredited employer. The bill ensures any income tested benefit being received would be deducted from payments whether they are made by ACC or an accredited employer.

The bill also prevents students applying for the accommodation supplement instead of the student allowance.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said the would ensure the law treats people on benefits consistently and fairly. Currently some anomalies existed where people had benefits reduced as their income was treated differently.

One beneficiary had successfully challenged the Government’s interpretation of their deductions and the bill would address this though the person who successfully challenged would not be retrospectively hit by the new law,

Sue Moroney said Labour would support the bill which had languished on the Order Paper for years as it made sensible changes to fix loopholes.

The Green Party opposed the bill saying it was about clawing back a small amount of money for the Government, but would hurt those hit by it. Jan Logie said it would cut off the inability of students to get more money to help them survive.

New Zealand First opposed the bill for similar reasons saying the bill should instead allow students to apply for the accommodation supplement to assist them.

MPs then began the third reading of the Energy (Fuels, Levies, and References) Amendment Bill.
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