Views Sought on Social Assistance Fairness

August 31, 2010 New Zealand Finance

MoneyThe New Zealand Government is attempting to provide fairer access to social assistance for all New Zealanders, and has released a new paper discussing the issue.

In a statement made on August 30th Peter Dunne, Revenue Minister of New Zealand, said that there are currently several inconsistencies and issues within the national social assistance system. According to the Minister, some individuals are able to restructure their financial affairs, in order to unfairly receive monetary assistance from the Government, like Working for Families, student allowances and community services cards.

Peter Dunne announced that the Government has released Social Assistance Integrity: Defining Family Income, a public issues paper which seeks feedback on the potential solution to the perceived unfairness. The man suggestion consists of a revamp to the definition of income, when evaluating welfare applications. Specifically, income from trusts, some fringe benefits, passive income of children such as interest or dividends over NZD 1 000 a year, and income of non-resident spouses are being suggested as potential changes.

It has been proposed within the paper that some of the changes be instated as early as April 1st 2011. Any suggestions brought forward from the consultations will be instated through the Supplementary Order Paper to the Taxation (GST and Remedial Matters) Bill, which is currently in front of parliament.

The paper can be found on the Inland Revenue Department website, and all submissions are required to be submitted before September 24th 2010.

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