Monday, 8 October 2012

The Hardest Blog I have ever had to write...

The Hardest Blog I have ever had to write... 

As many of you know I am a single Mum and I homeschool my girls. What I may not have shared with you before now because it is deeply personal is that when my marriage broke up I was forced into a position where I needed financial help from our government here in New Zealand. I swallowed what pride I had left and asked for help which they gave and for that I am most grateful. 

Being a single Mum can be incredibly challenging with all the responsibility squarely on just one set of shoulders. It is not easy trying to find work full stop but trying to find work that fits around one three year old and one six year (even if they were at school) as a single Mum is even harder. However my love is writing and since becoming a single Mum I have focused much of my working energy on making a living as a writer and photographer. I am not yet at the point where my writing can sustain us fully but it is my hope that one day soon it will, I certainly put in the hours!

I am writing this blog today on a very personal note and in support of other Mother's like myself who contrary to the new 'social obligations' that are about to be attached to the Sole Parent benefit have our children's education, health and well being at the centre of our universe. The new 'social obligations' being added are that children of sole parent beneficiaries like myself must :-

  • attend 15 hours a week Early Childhood Education (ECE) from age 3 
  • attend school from age five or six 
  • enrol with a General Practitioner 
  • complete core WellChild/Tamariki Ora checks 

These new 'obligations' will be compulsory for all sole parents like myself. For non compliance three warnings will be given before their benefit is cut by half. At which point other pressure will be applied through other agencies like CYFS to ensure submission. 

These new obligations make the very wrong assumption that all sole parent beneficiaries are bad parents and are incapable of making intelligent and well reasoned decisions for their own children. As my Mum said to me this week "One size does not fit all"

Interestingly in a recent interview on TVNZ's Q+A programme Ms Bennett actually states "I don't think that every child actually needs to be in early childhood education, but I do think it benefits those that are most vulnerable so much, that's why I'm doing this." but she agreed these reforms would indeed force all beneficiaries to enroll their children."It is an expectation for all beneficiaries, however we will only be dealing with those whom we class as vulnerable" Ms Bennett said there had to be a "stick at the end" to get behavioral change. 

Does that mean it's just tough luck for those of us who actually care about our children? That we must all be treated the same? Or hope no one notices us sitting quietly in the corner praying to God our children will not be forced from our homes into substandard childcare (in my area anyway). When we ourselves as their Mothers are willing and able to offer them a rich environment of education, care and love? I would love to know what percentage of sole parent beneficiaries children are 'vulnerable' and what percentage are like my family that simply doesn't have quite enough to get by on. 

How times have changed! It used to be that Mother's were respected for their choice to stay at home and care for their young, now it seems we are to be punished for it. It is now the 'norm' to send our children off to be looked after by strangers under the pretense it is somehow good for them to be separated from those who love them. Many of my friends send their children to ECE and I respect their decision to do so, in the same way as they respect my decision not to. It is a freedom of choice that is being removed from one section of society - sole parent beneficiaries.

According to the Human Rights Act 1993, "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children" My human rights are being completely violated by this new bill and why? because I am not able financially to completely support myself. This bill targets just one section of society, am I somehow less human than my friend down the road with a husband at work? Or is this the beginning of legislation they will bring in for all parents across the board. 

Even if you are not a single Mum or Dad, beneficiary or not please take the time to look at this issue, it has the potential to effect all us and the freedom we currently enjoy to make decisions for our own children.

Our Family - Please help us to Protect our Freedom to choose

Below is the submission I made to the Government. If you would like to make a submission please go to


Submission regarding Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill

I am a single Mum to Charlotte who is six and a half and Rosie who has just turned 3. I am not a single Mother through choice; I cannot imagine there are too many parents who would choose this difficult path to one of two parents sharing the role of parenting and the financial security this would usually bring. 

My choice is to stay at home with my children, I look at it as a profession that demands the absolute best that I can bring to it and I do it with a bucket full of love for each of my precious children. I also work from home as a freelance writer and photographer and I am also a sole parent beneficiary.

I knew I wanted to homeschool my children before they were even in existence. I feel passionately about bringing up my children within the home environment, somewhere their needs and education can be met with love, respect and passion.

I would draw your attention at this point to the Human Rights Act of 1993 that states, “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children”. I believe this bill will be in breach of my human rights. How can we only target one section of society because they are poorer than the rest, are we saying that somehow this section of society is less human than our next door neighbours because they don’t have a husband or full time employment to support themselves without help? I repeat it is not a path you would choose if didn’t have to; Single parenting is hard, incredibly rewarding but hard.

I believe that a child's ability to function throughout his life is directly attributed to their home environment. ‘Home is where the heart is’ I believe the saying goes. Home is where you rest your head at night; it’s a place where we find comfort, food and clean clothes. As adults we have many roles in life and being a parent seems to be becoming less and less important. Trying to force Mother’s back to work when they should be at home caring for their children is a loss of one of the most important tasks a person can undertake, to educate and care for their child and not feel pressured if that is their choice. I understand it is not for every parent but it should remain a valid choice of career for Mothers. Our children after all are the future, what more rewarding or important task can there be in life than to bring these little people up to be incredible human beings?

You would not expect a government department to work without a manager would you? That person is present everyday to ensure that plans are followed; jobs are completed and that everyone is working the way they need to. It’s the same in my house, I am that Manager I have the time and energy to invest in my two little girls like no one else does, no one is more qualified than I am as their Mother.

My two children are thriving under home instruction and I find it more than a little difficult to understand a government policy which can possibly think that my girls would be better off in an over crowded classroom or fighting for a place in the local Early childhood education centre which isn’t even walking distance from our home, when I am willing and able to provide such a high level of individual tuition, activities and education for them both.

I would bring your attention to the study done by the researcher Dr Raymond Moore: ‘“Harold McCurdy, a distinguished psychologist from the University of North Carolina and a leading student of genius, says that genius is derived from the experience of children being most of the time with adults and very little with their peers. So when you start assembling children in very large numbers for long periods of time, you are on the wrong course for producing strong character and intellect. The more children around your child, the fewer meaningful human contacts he will have. Let me give you another example, the matter of adult responses. John Goodlad, Graduate Dean of Education at UCLA, came out with an article in the Phi Delta Kappan in March, 1983. He did a comparison of over a thousand schools and found that the average amount of time spent in person-to-person responses between teachers and students amounted to seven minutes a day. It doesn’t take much to see that if your child is one of 20, 25, 30 or maybe more youngsters in a classroom and the teacher is giving only seven minutes a day in responses, that your child is lucky if he gets spoken to once a day. If he is an aggressive or misbehaving child, he might get more attention. But when a child is home with his mother, he may get one, two, three hundred answers to his questions and ideas a day. So you can see right there where we are in terms of the sheer potential there is for the stimulation of intellect in a home.”

In further research I have undertaken I have found many reasons against sending my children to Early Childhood facilities. I will just mention two of the studies for you. The first study was undertaken by The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and found that aggression and behavioral difficulties are linked to children being placed into early childhood settings from a young age. The second study by Jay Belsky Birkbeck College, University of London, U.K. found that his analysis of research produced the conclusion that early and extensive non-maternal care carried risks in terms of increasing the probability of an insecure infant—parent attachment relationships and promoting aggression and noncompliance during the toddler, preschool, and early primary school years. 

My children are both thriving at home and I do not wish to separate them from one another. They are best friends and absolutely adore each other. At the present time they learn together with great enjoyment of each other’s company, although they work at different levels of course. It would be detrimental to both my children to remove the younger of my children into forced ECE. At this current time I hold an exemption for my eldest as was even commended highly from the Ministry of Education for my enthusiasm “Congratulations on this application, a very full, thorough and well reasoned approach. Your enthusiasm certainly comes through. Nice to see you know the “big picture”, enjoyed the DVD” Steve McGregor. 

I understand sadly that there is many parents out there, who are not just single but married, on benefit and not on benefit that do not have their children’s welfare at heart and these children need to be protected. However I cannot object more strongly to the government’s assumption that sole parents on benefit are all neglectful parents who don’t care about their children’s health and education and in the words of the MP Paula Bennett need “A big stick waved at them” to be compliant to the new social obligations that make sweeping assumptions about our parenting abilities as single parents because we have had to ask for financial assistance. What possible basis do you have for such severe discrimination and assumption of bad parenting against this small section of society?

There is no thing of greater importance in my life than my two children, their education and their health. I do not wish to delegate my responsibility to educate and care for my children to anyone else. Yet according to new guidelines after three warnings of refusing to bend to your will, the little help I get from the government will be halved and the big stick brought out to punish my little family. Followed by involvement from other government agencies to further push and stress my beautiful family into submission.

On the issue of health I do believe children should be enrolled with a GP or at least have access to a doctor but not just the children of single parents but ALL children, again why is this issue aimed at sole parents only, yet more discrimination and judgements on our parenting abilities and freedom of choice for our families.

I do believe we have a right to choose if our children are to be vaccinated. I know this is a hugely controversial issue and the government is keen to get to its targets but at what risk? Let me site three interesting facts concerning vaccines and why it should be a choice given to all parents to make for themselves.

  • In 1975, Japan raised its minimum vaccination age to 2 years old. The country’s infant mortality subsequently plummeted to such low levels that Japan now enjoys one of the lowest levels in the Western world. 
  • In Australia in 2005 the flu vaccine was suspended after an alarming number of children were showing up in A&E with febrile convulsions and other vaccine related symptoms just hours after receiving the vaccine. 
  • Some of the ingredients that can be found in vaccines currently on the market MSG, antifreeze, phenol (used as a disinfectant), formaldehyde (cancer causing and used to embalm), aluminum (associated with alzheimer’s disease, parkisons and seizures), glycerin (toxic to the kidney, liver, can cause lung damage, gastrointestinal damage and death), lead, cadmium, sulfates, yeast proteins, antibiotics, acetone (used in nail polish remover), neomycin and streptomycin. The ingredient currently making the press is thimerosol (more toxic than mercury, a preservative still used in many vaccines, not easily eliminated, can cause severe neurological damage as well as other life threatening autoimmune disease). 
To say nothing of the controversy that has surrounded the MMR for years and the tragic effects it can have. As a family we know this only to well after watching a friend lose her child from the suspected effects of the MMR vaccine.

I would at this point draw your attention to a paper that MP Paula Bennett released where she stated, “Immunization is a medical treatment and the decision should remain with the parent” I don’t think at any point did Ms Bennett say ‘except single parents on benefit’! Why do we cease to get the choice? Are we now lesser members of society because we are financially vulnerable and in need of help from the country we live in?

I work as many hours as I can to help provide for my family. I am a writer and photographer and do as much work as I can to help my situation. I imagine next to a lot of people the hours I work as a parent on my own, teacher to my children, and as a writer would make their working day feel like a part time job! It is my hope that it won’t be long before we can fully support ourselves but until then I am at your mercy. 

It is my hope that you will all individually consider the rights you are intending to take away from sole parent beneficiaries like myself and SAY NO to this bill, one size does not fit all.

I truly believe that this new legislation discriminates against beneficiaries and their children. The question is how long before this type of legislation creeps into all of our lives and decisions that should be ours are taken away from us? Speak now or forever hold your peace.

Have a great day folks and thanks for listening, this has to be the hardest blog I have ever written.

Kate xx 

Replies from MP's so far -

Dear Katherine

Thank you for your email, and for sharing your personal experiences and opposition to this bill.

You are not the first mother who has raised with me these concerns, and I followed up with some questions to the minister to clarify whether there would be any home schooling exemptions- the simple answer is no. I have also pushed the other point that you have raised, and that is that if she believes these obligations are in the best interest of all children, why is she only targeting those on government support? Her response was in essence, 'because we can'

I also sought clarity around the question of immunization. Although the social obligations include well child checks, the minister has said that this will not include sanctions if a child is not immunized.

These are all issues though that I will continue to raise at select committee. I really do encourage you to make a submission on this bill, although I appreciate that you have enormous amount of pressure on your time.

In the meantime, I can assure you that labour will be opposing this bill every step of the way.

Yours Sincerely

Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern

Labour Member of Parliament based in Auckland Central

Labour Spokesperson for Social Development and Children


From: David Cunliffe

Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2012 04:05:06 +0000

Subject: RE: Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill.

Hi Katherine

Thank you for your heart felt email. I am sure that you do the very best for your kids and I agree that Ms Bennett is discriminating against beneficiaries.

Thanks for sharing your views.

Kind regards

David Cunliffe 


Dear Katherine,

Thank you for your thoughtful letter. I appreciate your situation, and taking the time to write.

I shall be discussing this with my colleague(s) in the Green caucus who are responsible for this issue.


Ken Graham


I have finally heard back from Ms Bennett's office, asking me whether I require an answer to the same email that I wrote to all the other MP's and also makes up my submission to the select committee!  I wrote back and said yes I would like a reply as I would appreciate her comments before the select committee meet in November.  I also inquired as to when I might hear back from Ms Bennett regarding my previous letter sent to her office on 18th September and apparently 'it is in the final stages of sign-out and should be sent to you early this week'. I am learning this is a fairly standard reply sent out from this office!  I take it they actually mean early next week as it is Thursday now!  I have had replies from so many MP's within just a few days and yet it has taken 21 days so far to get a reply to my first letter.  Only time will tell, I do so hope that the Hon. Paula Bennett actually addresses the issues I raise and I don't get general letter of reply, fingers crossed. 28 days and counting and still waiting :-(  UPDATE STILL NO reply from Paula Bennett it has now been 34 days I was promised a reply last week, just waiting on the final sign the Tui advert says 'Yeah Right'.

Hi Katherine

Your email of 18 September 2012 was received by this office and your response is in the final stages of sign-out and should be sent to you early this week.  An acknowledgement was emailed to you on 20 September advising that you would receive a response at the Minister’s earliest convenience.

I have forwarded your email of 7 October to the Clerk of the Social Services Committee and consideration is currently being given to the matters you raise and you may expect a reply at the Minister’s earliest opportunity.

Kind regards
Natalie Hansen

Private Secretary, Office of Hon Paula Bennett Minister for Social Development | Minister of Youth Affairs Executive Wing 5.5, Parliament

Dear Ms Armon,

On behalf of the Prime Minister, Rt Hon John Key, I acknowledge the copy of your email sent for Mr Key’s information.

E Tanga         
Ministerial Assistant/Records Officer          
Office of the Prime Minister


Dear Katherine,
Thank you for your thoughtful letter.  I appreciate your situation, and taking the time to write.
I shall be discussing this with my colleague(s) in the Green caucus who are responsible for this issue.
Ken Graham


Dear Katherine

Thank you for your letter on the Social Security Amendment Bill.

I have passed it on to Jacinda Ardern, Labour’s Social Development Spokesperson and asked her to copy to me her reply.

I certainly understand the concerns you have about the Bill.

Yours sincerely

Phil Goff

Hon Phil Goff
MP for Mt Roskill
Labour Spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Trade

Interesting and unbelievable reply someone has received from Paula Bennett (so doing better than I am!!)


A rather predictable reply from Hon Jo Goodhew regarding immunizations. In reply to the comments in her letter, there are as many studies that DO show the links between autism and other conditions.

I notice she does not address the issues I raised about the toxic contents found in vaccines, I wonder why!!!!

STILL awaiting reply from Hon Paula Bennetts office it has now been 36 days.  Every other person I wrote to within parliament has now replied except the one person who is able to make a decision about it!!!!!!   


  1. I strongly suggest you also approach the Human Rights Commission. The more who lay a complaint, the more weight the Commission will have. Be strong. You have support from others who may not be in your situation, but still strongly disagree with the mentality behind this move.

    1. Thank you for your support - It's my job for tomorrow to get in touch with the Human Rights Commission - thanks so much

    2. Hi Kate
      I have placed a submission, please read below.
      I am a single mother of two children. One girl aged 2.5 and a boy aged 5.5 who is at school. I am very grateful to the government for supporting me as a single mother. I do not know what I would have done if I couldn't receive government support. I chose to have my children, which means I choose to raise them. I am a mother and that is my full time job. It is a job that does not end. I cannot finish my job at 5pm and go home and relax. I still do not get a full nights sleep. I expend a huge amount of energy every day trying to meet their needs, which are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I am a personal assistant, cleaner, cook, counsellor, taxi service, gardner, handyman, all rolled into one package. Now on top of that you want me to go out and get a real job? Thats what I thought I was doing. How do I get the energy to do that on top of the above jobs and still raise happy children? If I am exhausted how can I possibly meet my childrens needs? An unhappy child whos love tank is empty is a child that causes alot of problems in the home as well as at school and that behaviour will continue into the teenage years and beyond. In fact isn't being a mother the most important job in the world? I am totally responsible for raising two socially responsible citizens of New Zealand. Also, I am not a robot! I am an emotional mother who struggles with the day to day grind of being alone. I have to meet my own needs for love and support. How will I be able to fill my energy if all my time is given to raising kids and working? where is the time for me to go and have a coffee with friends and receive emotional support and a shoulder to cry on. If this change is put into effect I can guarantee you there will be many mothers in burnout and depression could become the new norm for single mothers. I would also like to know who is going to look after my kids when they are sick? Since my son started school in March his attendance has been shocking because of sickness. My 2.5yr old was sick nearly all winter. What will happen to my job if I have to call in once a week sick because of sick kids? How employable are single mothers? I do not have a support network of family I can get to look after the kids at these times. I am alone. Another issue for me is that my little girl is very sensitive and she needs her mother. There are days when she will gladly go into care and others where it is not in her best interest. To force my child into the arms of a childcare centre when every fibre of her being and mine is screaming no, would undoubtedly cause her alot of emotional harm. How about arranging a meeting with single mothers to listen to their concerns and ask what single mothers need for themselves in order to raise healthy children and eventually get back into the workforce. How about asking single mothers what age they would see as a good age for kids to be before the mothers go back to work. Asking any mother to go back to work with an under 5 year old is ludicrous! Do you realise that once our kids are school age, there then becomes naturally not only energy to do work, but a natural wish to start living their life and finding not only work, but things that satisfy them. Forcing mothers with under 5's into work is not going to work. Forcing me into work is only going to cause me alot of distress which in turn is going to harm my children. Happy mum, happy children.
      Charlotte Murray

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Dearest Charlotte, I have to admit to reading your submission with tears rolling down my face. If only we could make law makers stand in our shoes just for one day. Parenting is indeed a full time job which never stops and I too wonder constantly how employable single parents are as we are already full time workers who don't even get weekends or days off from it. I don't know many people who work the long hours single parents do - On average my kids wake me at 5am go to bed if I am having a really lucky day by 8pm usually then wake me at least once or twice during the night for wee's or drinks or bad dreams or illness etc and we do this 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Wonderful but completely exhausting. You are so right when you say that all these new obligations being placed will now ensure that sole parents will now face breakdown and complete burnout. We are superhero's in our own right already without any more pressure!! Can you imagine if you told the average person they had to work 105 odd hours (excluding getting up at night) for a couple of hundred dollars???? It's all reaching breaking point for us all I know. This is why it's so important that we stand up and shout in our very loudest voices that the pressure and abuse to sole parents must STOP. We are doing the most worthwhile job there is as you said Charlotte 'raising responsible citizens of New Zealand' Thanks so much for sharing your submission Charlotte and know that you are not alone. Kate x

    5. Thanks Kate
      It helped me writing it. I put alot of pressure on my own shoulders to be socially acceptable. In fact, I am tired and am learning to be much more gentle with myself and how big a responsibility being a good single mum is without support.
      I am willing to stand up and find solutions that not only help the government but help us single parents.

  2. Oh Kate, seriously my heart goes out to you!! You and I are in the exact same boat. Recently seperated I am homeschooling 7 year old twins and my four year old and am also relying on a benefit due to these recent changes in my circumstances. Prior to this i was studying full-time as well as homeschooling with the support of my husband. I know how difficult it is to share this personal information and im grateful to you for having the courage to do so. As a homeschooling mother and a beneficiary myself I know you may be suffering from a lack of support and understanding from some people simply because you have chosen to do what you know to be right for your children and in addition to this we now face this discriminatory act by the government. We all try to do the best we can for our children and in my case i believe that is what i am doing by choosing to homeschool. I agree that this is a human rights issue and i totally support your decision to fight for your rights and the rights of your children. Thank you again for sharing and i will follow developments and follow ups with interest with interest and take any action myself that supports this.

    Sincerely Shannon.

    1. There is nothing more wonderful than to know you are not alone - thank you Shannon so much for your heartfelt message, I am very grateful for it. No it is not an easy thing to put yourself out there, knowing that many of the people you know and don't know will not understand, but I believe now is the time to stand up and be counted and fight for our rights. I know we are doing the right thing by our children Shannon and it's worth fighting for. Thank you again so very much. Kate :-)

  3. Well written Kate! We seem to be going backwards with this new proposal.

  4. Thank you :-) We do indeed seem to be going backwards :-(

  5. I have just read evrything you wrote (and tried to watch the video but couldn't stand the voice of the singer!).I admire your views and actions. I was on the Domestic Purposes Benefit from 1989 to 2001,when a Work and Income New Zealand officer (wrongly and inaccurately,as far as I know,said "You know you are supposed to be looking for work when your daughter turns 14.", cut off my benefit that day, and advised me to immediately go down the road and sign up for the student allowance. During these years,I sometimes, had four children and, at other times,three children;however,most of the time it was two children (I had had two childen by a marriage and two others by a defacto marriage - during which,at the time of the children's births,I was in jobs for wages or salary). When on the DPB, work that fitted in with children, kindergatren, kohanga reo,school,and the DPB was impossible to find from when I was aged of 32 to 41 - and, I do mean, impossible.I have no doubt that - for excellent reasons - my moral responsiblity was to bring up my children,full-time (having been deserted by my partner ,whom ran off with another man). Being on the DPB,ruined my work path (what most people call a 'career') I was on - but I felt that my young children (one year old when her mother left and my son (3 years old) were the No. 1 priority. About 3% of DPB recipients - as far as I recollect - in the late 90s were men. Being male,carried a social stigma particular to tha fact that some women I knew felt that a man should be working; this, of course, is a stero-typical view which limits men and woemn to prescribed functions in society. However,the stigma of which I was most conscious - on a daily basis - was the constant beneficiary bashing that emanated out of the mouths of one Jenny Shipley (Social Welfare minister) and one Ruth Richardson (Finance Minister). Their victimisation of beneficiaries applied,of course to all DPB recipients -whom were, mainly,women.Richardson and Shipley made our lives hell - and reinforced any negative views from within our circles (whether it be family or friends) who disapproved of knowing someone on the DPB - someone seen as lazy and allegedly 'bludging ' off the worker who was a taxpayer (even though benefits are taxed).People who bash beneficiaries are are very ignorant people and need to be fully informed and educated about the real issues. Hoever, many or most critics will remain impervious to rational argument, as they prefer their prejuidices (as it does not involve trying to learn the facts and the truth and it, also, allows them to be sanctimonious and feel superior). I have a wide definition of Rednecks but I call all these people Rednecks.Unfortuantely,too, I think that given the level of trival selfish-ness and superficiality in society, we, the people whom know the truth, will have to either 'Stand Up And Fight Back' (as one popular street slogan states as the necessary response to attacks upon our dignity and rights and living-standards) or quietly remain self-assured that we are doing the 'right thing' for our children.Good luck to your whanau and you. Yours sincerely, Tony Allen.

    1. Hi Tony, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Doesn't look like much has changed does it?! Sorry about the music ;-) the words were just too apt not to use!

    2. Hi Kate,

      Thanks so much for sharing, it is your voice and story that people need to hear, to see a real person (and her children) that will be affected by this bill.

      I too have young children (4.5 and 2.5) and we are on a homeschooling journey, mostly because my children would not cope with the separation, and large numbers, but also because I want them to grow and learn in a way they can only do, when in a loving and supportive environment... However, I have a husband who works part time, and studies full time and we receive some government support, but we are 'working' and somehow are just outside, but close to the edge, if you know what I mean, of those, like yourself who will be affected.

      I think it is appalling, and a breech of human rights, absolutely, you are doing a great job, I would like to use some of your references in my submission, if that's ok? Not your personal story, but notes about the human rights act.

      I have been mulling over a blog post about all this too. Hopefully I'll get a little of my story out there too.

      Kia kaha

    3. Hello Angela

      Of course you would be so very welcome to use any references or this blogpost in anyway that is helpful to this cause.

      I hope you do write a blogpost, the more public we can make this debate the more likely our voices will be heard.

      Thank you for your kind words, I have been overwhelmed by replies on here and email to this blog. Knowing that there are so many people out there that feel as I do and understand is of great comfort.

      It is definitely time to stand up and be counted whatever the outcome.

      Thank you again - Kate x

  6. Dear Kate

    What a woman! I so respect who you are choosing to be. I would be doing the same. I am a writer too. My relationship broke up when my daughter was two and I went on a benefit for a year and a half before I started back to a 'paid job'. After some stops and starts trying to get work that fits around my daughter now I work from home and my daughter is being home schooled by our local community. Home schooling is a fantastic curriculum. (Everyhting does all work out in the end, sometimes better than you ever dreamed possible) This legislation is just wrong. The government shouldn't choose for you - the irony is that next year you get to choose the government! I will be voting for a more moral one next year that doesn't impede women's civil liberties (and children's) because of their financial circumstances - that is just eletist social policy born of a complete lack of understanding and compassion. Ironic that if the tide continues turning against them many will be jobless themselves next year...

    1. Thank you, thank you so much. Yes I too already know which way I will be voting in the next general election and it can't come quick enough! Not just for this as you say but for many reasons. Sometimes you just got to have a little faith that you are doing the right thing and stick to your plan, but it can be a little scary at times :-)

      Kate x

  7. Kate, thank you so much! I am in the exact same boat as you - and always intended to homeschool my girls. We have been 'officially' homeschooling now for 2 years. There is nothing on this earth that would make me stop, but this government have put the fear of god into me. I do believe this policy is just the beginning in the move to state control across the board. Keep fighting!

  8. Thank you, Kate. You raise excellent points that surely must influence how this legislation is drafted and, if enacted (god forbid), implemented. The prospect that a family such as yours could have its financial support halved because of a refusal to send your preschooler to ECE when you can do a better job educating and caring for her at home is just ridiculous. Wonderful, capable, caring mothers like you SAVE the government money by not sending your wee ones to ECE. If anything, you should be eligible for MORE financial support in compensation for educating your own children, not threatened with less.

    1. Thank you so much for the support and kind words, it means so much that so many are supporting us. Homeschoolers do indeed save the government a great deal of money. My children mean the world to me.

      Thank you again Kate x

    2. Hi there, am a granda of 4, soon to be 5 great kids. I love what you have put together both as a blog, and a submission. Don't hold your breath honey waiting for change, it won't happen any time soon. In the 80's labour made beneficieries of one sort or another,out of working families,re the family tax credits system. It has grown into such a major part of income, it wud be fair to say,that the Tax Department virtually subsidises the family income of hundreds of thousands of families. Ms Bennett, in her ignorance, fails to see any of that. She has been stuck up there to dish the dirt out, take the flak for,and impliment the silly decisions,her masters tell her to put in place. Don't panic, she won't be there long enough to see it through. None of them will... Except that they will be nose in trough at the next election, when we will elecy=t another bunch o bunnies, expecting them to save the day. A clear sign of madness is this; Doing the same things , the same way, and expecting a different result. I am not in any way suggesting we are mad,but somebody is. I wud not count on the meekness of the mob continuing too much longer, if i was a politician. Your pix are lovely, but more important, the kids are VERY HEALTHY. Well done. Pappa harry

  9. Hello Kate, I am also a single mother on a benefit. I have been home educating for over 13 years. When my marriage broke up I continued to home educate my 3 children. Because of the welfare reforms in the past years I have begun to work. Thankfully, I managed to find work early in the morning and I have a seventeen year old daughter able to care for the home and younger children while I am gone. I am able to begin our day together at 9 am which is not too disruptive. I am very tired now though and wish that I lived in a society that valued what I do at home enough to want to provide for us.=). How wonderful it would be to live in a society that understood that this working on top of what I am already doing is not doing our family any favors. I am really grateful in that I have a community of friends around me who help and contribute to our family in ways financial and supportive. I don't know how I could manage this without their encouragement and support. I am trying to write a submission but I find that my children need me all of the time, or I am at work or I need to do some chores or have a sleep. I have spent hours on it already and am not happy with the result. I am sadenned by the plight of the single mother on the benefit who wants to keep her children with her but I am also saddened when I think of the wife with the husband who forces her into work and the children into school believing this to be the only way to pay the bills. These same people cannot comprehend why their taxes would be well spent providing for people like me. I pray that good men, men who value the role of mothers would take the lead on this issue and open their eyes to see that raising children is important and worth supporting, beginning in their own homes and then helping with the community. Your submission is so well written and your family is beautiful. Keep up the good work. Rachael

    1. I understand your plight completely Rachael and couldn't agree more with you. I work long hours at home on my writing before and well after my children are in bed to try and bring an income to my family. I too do not know what I would do without the support of my wonderful loving parents and close friends. The submission was hard and took me many hours usually some ridiculous time in the morning, leaving me fit for not much the following day!! It has kept me up worrying for some weeks now and I knew that if I got it done it would make me feel a little better knowing I had at least tried to do it. You will finish it don't worry, you have until the 1st November to do so, I did mine online to make it a little easier. I always find that inspiration will suddenly come upon me and then there's no stopping me!! Keep smiling Rachael x

      Kate x

  10. Thanks so much for sharing this Kate,
    I am not a beneficiary or a solo mother, but I deeply empathise with your plight. I believe this kind of governmental interference in parenting decisions is just one more stumbling lunge down a slippery slope which leads to a pit of misery and fascism. The slope has been increasing in gradient for many years now and unfortunately beneficiaries like yourselves are more vulnerable at the present time than those of us who are able to defy the government and bear the consequences (I refer to choosing to keep our children out from media and school influences, despite the tight financial straights this puts us in with such a heavy tax burden on our single income).
    I want you to know that I have had it on my heart to write my own submission for weeks now and your blog post has spurred me to make an appointment with myself to do it this week for fear that I might run out of time.
    I love what you are doing with your dear little girls. I have seven daughters and one son two of which have left home now, but my youngest two are 6 and 3 as well.
    My mother was on the DPB for several years after my father deserted her and hated the shame of it so much that she put them in school and went back into the work force after maybe 3 years. This was to the great detriment of my siblings who grew up without an mother or a father for many years. My mother is a wonderful person and has set us all a good example of hard work and endurance, as well as forgiveness toward my Father, but I still believe she made a terrible mistake in abdicating her parenting like that. I thank God that my husband and I were able to move closer at that time and provide a home for my siblings to await her return from work each school day.
    Don't give in. No amount of money is worth sacrificing your availability to your children for.
    I would dearly love to offer my home to any and every destitute solo parent who is without a place to stay should this bill be made law. I know there are others out there who feel the same way. We must stand together as communities to oppose this legislation.

    Hugs to you.

    Kind regards
    From EVA.
    PS This may be the hardest blog you have ever written but I pray it will be the one God uses most for the good of our country, despite the outcome of the bill before parliament.

  11. Dear Eva

    I am just so completely overwhelmed by the incredible support that my blog has generated. I can't thank you enough for your kind words and even more so for finding it in your heart to write a submission against this bill. I am trying my very hardest to now 'Give this to God' and I hope that he does indeed use my words for the good of all women and men in my situation and that we will be able to make a difference.

    Thank you again so much


  12. This is a story about a Solo Mother where a Man has walked away from the Woman. There are as many women who also walk away from the men including where there is no violence involved. No wonder Paula Bennet has a hard task in her Portfolio as there are 10,000 Divorces a year in New Zealand and some 200,000 children in Blended Families. The children are being sacrificed for personal issues. All marriages have thier ups and downs but some work on it and some wont. No wonder there is child deprivation because the standard of living has now to be divided between the Custodial and Liable Parents. Keeping TWO households far more expensive than is one where family is together.

  13. Hi Kate

    Glad I stumbled upon this site. I've been a solo mother for nearly 11 years. When I left my marriage, my boys were 3 1/2 years and 4 weeks old. The hardest thing I have ever had to do was to walk out on a 13 year relationship. At the time I thought I was the worst mother ever by destroying my sons' relationship with their father. Turns out it was the best decision I had ever made. Over time my then husband had become abusive and controlling. My parents knew it was only a matter of time that I would gather up all of my strength to leave him. I had always thought of single parent families as being disadvantaged. Turns out that is not so, well my personal experience anyway. My boys have turned out to be well adjusted, lovely boys with fabulous manners etc. I can hold my head up high and say that I've done a fantastic job with raising the boys on my own for nearly 11 years.

    Thank you so much for this great website.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing your story, so similar to my own. Thank you for your kind words about my website, I really enjoy writing on it and I am just so glad that there are people out there benefiting from it, it makes it so worthwhile. Kate x

  15. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!
    My website : Elmo Kellaway

  16. Hi Kate, I just came across your blog tonight via my best friend's page. Glad to have found you in the blogging world! I too wrote a submission on this issue (about 14 pages from memory). It was frustrating that the legislation got through by one vote. But I've also been encouraged lately at just how much friends have rallied around my single homeschooling friends, and I too have felt the responsibility to help support them to enable them to continue. I hope you are surrounding by a supportive network yourself. All the best, from Victoria

    1. I am glad you are being well supported :-) Me too I have fantastic parents who are 110% behind me and help so much. Thanks for visiting my blog :-))))


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