Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Minister spells out $43,000 'salary' claim for solo mum

Beneficiary Tania Wysocki said the issue all along was about how much childcare she would be entitled to. Photo / Dean Purcell
Beneficiary Tania Wysocki said the issue all along was about how much childcare she would be entitled to. Photo / Dean Purcell

Government minister Chester Borrows yesterday elaborated on his claim that sole parent Tania Wysocki received taxpayer support totalling the equivalent of a $43,000 salary, saying it was a gross figure.

His office provided figures to show it included the domestic purposes benefit, the accommodation supplement, family tax credit and childcare entitlements once she starts her course later this week.

He said that when added up it came to $699.03 a week, or around $36,300 net on a yearly salary.

"For someone in employment to earn a new equivalent salary of $36,300 would require a gross salary of around $43,000, according to IRD's tax calculator," Mr Borrows' spokesman said.

What beneficiary Tania Wysocki has coming in each week:

$288.47 - DPB
$131 - Accommodation supplement
$149 - Family tax credit
$136.56 - Childcare (paid to the provider) once she starts studying

"It is on this basis that the support provided to her at the time she begins study will be the equivalent of a $43,000-a-year salary."

The figures had not included 20 hours of early childhood education which cost the Government $220 a week.

Ms Wysocki, a Pukekohe mother of two preschoolers, went public with her case last week to highlight the fact that the veterinary nursing course she was taking at Unitech to try to get off the DPB permanently meant she would be $113 a week worse off.

The course does not attract the same allowances as some other lower level courses.

She said she was considering becoming an escort to help pay for her studies.

Mr Borrows, an Associate Minister for Social Development, told Parliament: "I think most New Zealanders would find that an equivalent salary of $43,000 is sufficient, or at least reasonable."

Ms Wysocki said last night it was wrong to suggest she got a salary of $699 a week.

"If I was getting $699 why on earth would I want to get off the DPB?"

She said her issue all along had been about the amount of childcare she was entitled to. Work and Income told her in writing she would be entitled to only nine hours a week for a fulltime course of study. But after the Herald made further inquiries, it revised its figure and said she would be entitled to 50 hours childcare while studying.

She said her children's fathers were paying child support to the Government.

- NZ Herald

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