NZ First Orphans Bill Progresses

by Desk Editor on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — 5:09 PM

An opposition party MPs Members Bill on welfare support has completed its second reading with the support of all parties.

The Bill’s sponsor Tracey Martin received support for the move to ensure a small clothing allowance to be given to orphans no matter whose guardianship they go under. She said it was unfair orphans who went to live with other members of their wider family did not get the allowance when the allowance was paid when they were fostered out.

National MPs said they would support the bill as it aligned with the Government’s aims to fix an anomaly in welfare support, though the move will not be brought until 2018.

A number of Opposition MPs urged the Government to bring this forward, but the select committee had rejected this saying in January 2014 the Government introduced an annual School and Year Start-Up Payment for carers in receipt of an Orphan’s Benefit or Unsupported Child’s Benefit. This payment ranges between $250 and $400 in 2014, and between $400 and $550 in 2015, and is intended to help cover costs arising at the start of each year.

The committee argued these and other measures would ensure parity in the payment of clothing-related allowances for foster children, and orphans and unsupported children until 2018, should the School and Year Start-Up Payment no longer be available after that.

The Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill completed its second reading on a voice vote.

MPs then returned to the interrupted first reading debate on the Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment Bill
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