DPB marks 40 years

Stuff.co.nz 14 November 2013
The DPB turns 40 today, but beneficiary advocates say it’s no cause for celebration.

Before the domestic purposes benefit was introduced by Norman Kirk’s Labour Government on November 14, 1973, only widowed solo mothers received income support.

Many unwidowed single mothers had to give up their children for adoption.

It was never meant to be an affluent existence on the DPB – or its recent incarnations, such as the Ministry of Social Development’s sole parent support – but for many, life is now hand-to-mouth, or worse, according to Wellington City Mission chief executive Michelle Branney.

The rising cost of housing, rent, and utilities was taking a greater slice out of solo parents’ benefits, she said.

As a consequence, she knew of some going without food for themselves so their children could eat.