Finance Minister gets to the nub of the problem of a universal benefit for children:
. . . a move from a targeted programme to a lower universal payment would leave many low-income working families worse off, to start with, and, secondly, would leave them in a less beneficial position, relevant to being on the benefit. It has been a focus of social policy, regardless of party, in New Zealand in the last 20 years to ensure that the reward for work is significantly greater than the income that one can receive on benefit. We intend to maintain that policy.
It is possible to give a lesser amount to more people or give more to those in need by targeting it.
The reasoning behind decreasing assistance to those in real need so people well able to look after their own children get a benefit too defies logic.