Parliament last night began debating a Green Party bill
that would allow beneficiary families receive the $60 a week
in-work tax credit.
But the bill, sponsored by Green Party co-leader Metiria
Turei, is expected to be defeated when it is voted on at its
first reading, most likely on November 5.
The in-work tax credit is part of the Working for Families
package and is worth $60 a week for poor families with up to
three children but it is not available to those whose parents
don't work a required number of hours or who receive an
income-tested benefit or student allowance.
Mrs Turei said her bill, the Income Tax (Universalisation of
In-work Tax Credit) Amendment Bill, was an opportunity to
lift 100,000 children out of poverty and has argued that the
denial of the credit to beneficiary families amounts to
discrimination against New Zealand's poorest children "on the
basis of parental work status".
Labour is supporting the bill, consistent with policy it
announced before the last election, although it is not
certain it will stick with the policy for the 2014 election.
Yesterday in Parliament, Prime Minister John Key said the
in-work credit had been designed by the previous Labour
government "to make sure that there was always a differential
between working and welfare".
"And the reason for that, and rightfully so, when Michael
Cullen put that scheme together was that he wanted to make
sure there was an incentive for people to move off benefits
"He was right to do that, because quite a lot of research
indicates that the fastest way to lift poor households that
have children in poverty out of that poverty situation is
- Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald