Phil Goff's idiotic idea
Phil Goff wants the dole paid to people made redundant due to the recession even if their partners are working. He wants partners income to be disregarded in means testing.
To pay the full unemployment benefit to partnered redundant workers, the whole benefit system would need to be revamped as when an unemployed person with a non-earning partner gets the benefit, half the benefit is paid to the partner, and half to the unemployed person.
Here's what could happen within the current system: A person is made redundant. She earned $35,000 a year - about $670 a week - and does not live with her partner, who has the four children and earns $80,000. Both have separate bank accounts. Instead of getting the dole as at present, the couple move in together. Both get the dole, as the benefit payment is split between partners and into each bank account, and the newly unemployed woman no longer has to pay child support. Good idea, they think. As she is unemployed, Working for Families payments are paid through WINZ. If WINZ do not note the partner's income - because that will abate the benefit instead of waiving it - WINZ would also pay Working for Families payments - as she now has the kids - and the accommodation supplement to pay for the high mortgage.
They'd get about $500.00 extra each week. On top of that, if the unemployed person's bank balance went below a certain threshold, she could get food grants and advances to pay power bills as WINZ disregard the income of her partner.
A nice little earner to ride over the recession. And no childcare to pay too as the unemployed man can look after the kids while his wife works and collects the benefit.
But there's a downside to this arrangement. Guess what it is.