Press Release – Benefit Rights Service
Graham Howell, spokesperson for the Benefit Rights Service is appalled that Ministry of Social Development investigators are going to commence dawn raids on solo-mums because some neighbour has said some bloke might be staying with her.Dawn Raids of solo-mums deplored
Graham Howell, spokesperson for the Benefit Rights Service is appalled that Ministry of Social Development investigators are going to commence dawn raids on solo-mums because some neighbour has said some bloke might be staying with her.
Dawn raids were used as a mechanism against suspected law breakers last in the 1970s when any brown-skinned person’s home was invaded because they were believed to be an over-stayer. Victims included Maori, while white people here illegally went off Scot-free. The dawn raids sit as one of this nation’s worst breaches of justice in the 20th century The Minister’s dawn raids, or home visits as they are being called will be the same this century.
The understanding by many of the Ministry of Social Development staff of relationships in the nature of a marriage is poor. For example, they believe that repeated acts of domestic violence are not sufficient to turn a suspected relationship from being a marriage type one into one that is not.
People staying overnight can be relatives as well as what might be one night stands. The proposed home visits are not needed. Our experience over many years is that if a single mother does decide to try again with a new “husband” she will tell Work and Income, but it should to be a new “husband” and the supposed relationship is not some aberration in the mind of the spinster living down the road who has “seen” something or a jealous ex husband causing trouble so he can get access to the children.
Our experience with dozens of clients each year is that accusations of a marriage type relationship is seldom proven, yet the mother and children are victimized during the investigation. They have their names smeared in the children’s school and wider community because the Ministry investigator, acting like a police detective goes around slandering the person under investigation.
The dawn raids – or more politely put by the Minister – “home visits of solo parents on benefits in their fourteenth week” is a waste of resources and an abuse of already abused or traumatized women as many on the solo-parent benefit are only on it because they left an abusive partner or are recently widowed. Both these events are incredibly traumatic.
The states resources would be better off catching tax cheats, but that is a less news worthy headline in election year than finding a single mum in bed with some bloke. Catching tax cheats might mean less so-called anonymous donations in the party coffers but it would re-coup vastly more money for spending on vulnerable children.
The Minister needs to re-call the blood hounds before they even start