South Auckland solo mum gets Mother's Day payout from WINZ

A south Auckland mother has received the ultimate Mother's Day gift - $7000 in cash.

On and off for the last 14 years, Work and Income has been taking money from her benefit when they shouldn't have.

A weekly benefit sanction is imposed on sole mothers who have not identified the father of their child, with the intention of encouraging child support payments.

The father of this woman's son is serving 15 years in prison for murder - but her benefit was being docked in error, and she never knew why.

It wasn't until she saw a post on Facebook that she realised there was a problem and she made contact with a poverty action group.

Alistair Russell, a spokesperson from Auckland Action Against Poverty, says the policy is racist, sexist and punitive to children.

At present, 13,000 women are subject to these sanctions - 52 percent Maori and 20 percent Pacifika.

Labour has promised to urgently remove the sanctions but has been slow to implement. It's now saying it will happen at some point over the next three years.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni says there will be a lot more proactive training with staff to ensure they are giving people the correct amount.

In the meantime, the minister says she's working to ensure women like this mother know what they're entitled to.

Auckland Action Against Poverty believes there are thousands more women owed thousands of dollars.