Kiwi Polemicist

December 22, 2008

Will National force homeschooling beneficiaries to go to work?

In an earlier post I wrote about National’s plan to force beneficiaries to find work once their children reach school age, and I showed how this ill-conceived idea will backfire.

I was concerned that beneficiaries who wished to homeschool might not be allowed to do so, so I emailed Paula Bennett, the new Minister of Social Development (Minister of Social Welfare in old-speak). Today I have received a letter from her which says in part:


This is a tricky situation for a classical liberalist. On one hand I am opposed to taxpayer-funded welfare, and on the other hand I am opposed to state education that indoctrinates children and undermines families.

On balance I believe that beneficiaries should be allowed to homeschool for the following reasons¹:

1) it’s better for the taxpayers: paying a benefit is cheaper than sending a child to school plus paying a partial benefit to a parent who is working part time².

2) a child that is homeschooled is more likely to benefit society than one who is schooled by the state, because a child who is taught well at home has better academic results, more maturity and is better when it comes to logic and independent thought. They do not turn into adults who continually grasp the mammaries of the nanny state³.

3) as I said in the post linked to above, the state uses schools to undermine families, and undermining families harms children as well as the rest of society.

4) the fundamental issue here is whether or not children of beneficiaries will be forced into state schools, and I believe that parents should be free to raise their children as they see fit and without the liberal left propaganda that is fed to children in schools


As Bennett’s letter says, she is still considering whether or not to force the children of beneficiaries into state schools. I strongly urge you to make a stand for freedom and email her or write to her, stating that you wish to see an exemption to the work rule for beneficiaries who desire to homeschool4. It helps to give reasons for your belief, a paragraph will suffice.

Click here for Paula Bennett’s email form.

A stamp is not required for snail mail:

Hon Paula Bennett
Parliament Office
Private Bag 18888
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

What are your thoughts regarding beneficiaries who wish to homeschool?

When you’ve written to Paula Bennett please post a copy of the letter in a comment or send a copy to me via the contact page.


Click here for a biblical perspective on home schooling and state schooling.


1) there is no perfect solution in our present society, so I am focusing on the lesser of the evils.

2) this statement is based upon a back-of-the-envelope calculation.

3) this statement is based upon my personal observations of children who are homeschooled.

4) The state is arrogant enough to police parents who homeschool via the Education Review Office, so beneficiaries won’t find that homeschooling is an easy way to avoid work.



  1. People who are capable of working should not be collecting benefits. You can’t use the inadequacy of state schools to get around that. The ability to home school is one of those things that single parent families have to give up.

    The real solution is to raise school standards and fund schools based on parental choice not bureaucratic control.

    Comment by Nigel Kearney — December 23, 2008 @ 7:17 am

    • Nigel: I agree that people should be working when they are capable of doing so, and homeschooling is a type of work (based on my observations it is much harder work than a great many conventional jobs). The proper raising of a child is the most important work that a parent can do.

      Also, if a child is sent to school they are a burden on taxpayers, so whether the parent works or not there is still a burden on taxpayers. A child who is state-schooled is more likely to be a burden on taxpayers as an adult.

      As I said, the most important issue is that parents must be free to raise their children without the state indoctrination that is responsible for so many of society’s problems. As my footnote says, there is no perfect solution in our present society and I am in favour of the lesser evil.
      For evidence that indoctrination by the state and control of children is the agenda behind public education see

      Comment by kiwipolemicist — December 23, 2008 @ 8:27 am

  2. A person who is home educating her/his children as well as a registered school is probably saving the same amount of tax money as forcing the children back to school (about $12000 a year per student which does not include the investment in buildings etc).
    While I personally would like the state to get out of education completely I see no purpose in forcing a tiny number of home educating single parents back into the work force in the midst of recession with increasing unemployment.
    A single parent with children in school has some hours free each day and it does not seem unreasonable to require paid work. A far better way of course (rather than paying more people to police this whole thing) is to reduce the marginal tax rate so that it becomes worthwhile working.
    The people such a policy is attempting to target – career beneficiaries – will decide to produce another child.

    [KP: we are in agreement that career beneficiaries will produce more children to avoid work, I wrote about this in an earlier post (go to the link below).

    I also agree with you regarding the punitive tax rates.

    If a beneficiary mother works for 20 hours per week at minimum wage she will be paying 21% secondary tax (the “marginal tax rate” that you refer to). 20 hrs x 52 weeks x $15 x 21% = $3276 paid in taxes. If she homeschools she will save the taxpayers at least $12,000, meaning that the taxpayers are at least $8,724 better off if she homeschools. ]

    Comment by Mum of Eight — December 23, 2008 @ 7:31 pm

  3. I don’t agree that home schooled children are more likely to benefit society because of their academic results, maturity level and independent thought. Yes, generally they are more academic but I would argue they struggle more than state school children to adjust and mix socially.

    However, I agree that a person should have the right to home school their child. But I do see a problem if the following situations develop.

    Let’s assume that a law is passed that once your child reaches the age of 5 and is off to school, you are forced into the workforce to receive the benefit.
    Could we reach the situation where a number of people, who don’t want to work but want the benefit, see home schooling as the best of both worlds. They get to stay at home and receive the benefit.

    What we would have then is an inferior home school education (as a whole0. This is based on the assumption that they dont really want to teach their children and therefore wouldn’t spend the time doing it properly.

    Comment by Ozymandias Warning — December 23, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

  4. […] homeschooling impair social skills? In a comment on an earlier post Ozymandias’ Warning […]

    Pingback by Does homeschooling impair social skills? « Kiwi Polemicist — December 24, 2008 @ 9:33 am

  5. […] Click here to view an update to this post. Published in: […]

    Pingback by Plans to get solo parents to work will backfire « Kiwi Polemicist — December 26, 2008 @ 9:52 am

  6. […] The National government had planned to get beneficiaries (welfare recipients) on the Domestic Purposes Benefit to work part time when their youngest child turned six. In earlier posts I said that this idea would backfire and it placed homeschooling beneficiaries in grave danger of having to send their children to the state brainwashing camps called state schools. […]

    Pingback by Government dropping DPB work rule « Kiwi Polemicist — March 28, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

  7. […] The National government had planned to get beneficiaries (welfare recipients) on the Domestic Purposes Benefit to work part time when their youngest child turned six. In earlier posts I said that this idea would backfire and it placed homeschooling beneficiaries in grave danger of having to send their children to the state brainwashing camps called state schools. […]

    Pingback by NZ - Kiwi Polemicist - You are onto it « Equal Parenting @ Ration Shed — March 29, 2009 @ 4:25 am

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