Tag Archives: Poverty

Begging and Benefits: When Is Income ‘Income’?

A-Prof Lisa Marriott

Why are amounts received from begging not income for tax purposes but are income for the purposes of income testing welfare benefits?   

On 20th February 2017, Frank Lovich was convicted of fraud for begging while receiving a benefit. Among other charges, Mr Lovich was convicted under section 15 of the Summary Offences Act 1981. Under this legislation, a person is ‘liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding $1,000 who solicits, gathers, or collects alms, subscriptions, or contributions by means of any false pretence’.

While the Police have indicated they are not going to commence prosecution proceedings against all welfare recipients who may engage in begging activity, an important question arises from this situation: Are we, yet again, treating people on welfare differently from other people in society?  Continue reading Begging and Benefits: When Is Income ‘Income’?

Poverty, Responsibility and Crime

collins-2016New Zealand’s Police Minister Judith Collins faced a barrage of criticism recently for her dismissal of poverty as a ‘driver’ of crime. For the Minister, crime problems are ‘primarily’ linked to ‘a lack of responsibility’ among parents.

Responsibilisation has become a dominant feature of the government’s approach to significant social problems. Can’t afford housing in the place you and your children were born? Solution: move to another island and start over! Struggling to cover weekly basic necessities on a poorly paid full-time job? Solution: enhance your ‘flexible working’ with different employers or take out a government loan!

New Zealanders encounter a steady stream of political messages that individuals, families and communities should suck up economic struggles with entrepreneurial, self-focused spirit. At the very least, they should ‘step up’ and not have problems. Continue reading Poverty, Responsibility and Crime