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The Rights of the Child and the Government’s latest welfare announcements

The Government has announced it plans to sanction parents (this means cutting their benefit by 50%) who do not meet their ascribed parenting standards of enrolling them in 15 hours per week of ECE from 3 years of age, enrolling in a PHO, completing all the well child checks, and ensuring children are enrolled in and attending school regularly.

The government predicts over 2000 parents will have trouble meeting these “social obligations” and they have budgeted to sanction 1300 parents.

That’s a significant number of children who will be in extreme hardship or given into the care of other people if their mother has the networks.

That’s not in the best interests of the Child.

The Government says all these obligations are in the best interests of the child so they’re going to use whatever levers they can to make the parents do the right thing.

The assumption here is the parents are either ignorant of what is good for their children or just wilfully bad parents who need to be made to do the right thing.

I would like to remind the Government that:

  • 15 hours of ECE for a 3 year old is not recommended by kindergartens. They’ll only take a child up to 12 hours a week at that age.
  • some parents may wish to follow the Steiner educational model that doesn’t start children in school until age 7.
  • some parents want to have a choice about the educational environment they put their children into. Not all ECE is suitable for all children. One of my colleagues went through three services until she found one to suit her daughter.
  • some families chose to home school their children to provide them with an alternative positive schooling environment.

It is the role of the State to enable these choices not supplant them.

According to my analysis this policy breaches 7 articles in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: 3,5,12,14,18,23 and 26. Most of these are about the parents role in deciding what’s best for their child.

Beneficiaries are not second class citizens and they are not any more likely to make poor choices than people in paid work.

Beneficiary parent’s choices are often brutally constrained by their limited income-poverty. The Government refuses to even take this issue seriously. How can we believe they have the best interests of children at heart when they won’t take this seriously and they’re already budgeting on the savings to be made at these children’s expense.

It’s not all hopeless though – you can write to John key and tell him to support Metiria’s Bill to create a child payment for the children of parents who aren’t in paid work.http://www.greens.org.nz/endchildpoverty/tell-john-key.

61 thoughts on “The Rights of the Child and the Government’s latest welfare announcements

  1. Are you joking.

    Key made his money as one of these. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8410489.stm

    In fact he cost NZ billions to make his millions. Morally no different from bank robbery.

    Now he is costing us even more copying idiot failed policies from the US, UK and Ireland.

    I only hope we can survive him.

    Similarly we will be paying a high price for Bennett’s attacks on our children.

    Even at the miserly welfare rates they would be paid too much.

  2. Kerry,
    you said

    “Key and Bennett are still beneficiaries. Accepting a State benefit. And, Unlike most beneficiaries they cost us much more than they contribute.”

    Can you provide evidence of this? As I understand it, Mr. Key accepts no salary and pays significant taxes on his income.

  3. fin
    Posted September 13, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Photon says “Any campaign to end child poverty, while turning a blind eye to the the difficult issues that are the cause of it, is little more than empty words and is doomed to fail.”
    Too true.

    I wonder if beneficiary bashing is a good political strategy…

    Photon worries me with this one “it’s only one very tiny step in what really needs to be done.”

    ————————————————————————————–

    Fin, I think you are right. Photon: Paula Bennett needs to implement the “final Solution” and get rid of these beneficiary bludgers by building Concentration Camps. Then these camps can provide the ‘noble jobs’ that Bennett talks about. If we are going to do the job well, then let’s do it properly!!!

  4. I am definitely on board with NOT dictating to unemployed people ECE requirements. That’s creepy stuff, can’t be justified and is out of line with citisens rights. But I do believe that all children (not just “dole babies”) should be checked over for very general and fundamental problems, by the state.

    Clearly, the government should not be using unemployment status as an excuse to single out any given sector of the public for enhanced control over child rearing. And nor do they need to. And also, lets not forget that high unemployment, low wages, and a high cost of living (all things driving beneficiary status) is the states OWN creation to begin with!

  5. Photonz

    I specifically want to know whether the number of PUBLIC NURSES PER CAPITA is increasing, decreasing, or staying the same over the past decade.

    I look at the increase in health spending over that past decade.

    I am not really interested in the outcome of your selected comparison… as you provide no breakdown of where the money went. I provided a link to a nurses strike to point out the fact that the settlements and the increases in salaries in that sector tend to be uneven.

    Health Care spending in the US was rising 7 to 8% PER YEAR over that time. Not the few years you cite, the whole decade.

    http://www.milliman.com/news-events/press/pdfs/milliman-medical-index-indicates.pdf

    Which doesn’t break down public/private which would be differently allocated in the USA anyhow and the comparison you ask for is thus made and I am NOT doing further irrelevant research to put paid to your sycophantic suggestions about how great National, which is basically working against the best interests of most New Zealanders these days, seems to be to you.

    If you find anything else that is completely irrelevant please feel free to NOT inject it into the conversation immediately and insult our intelligence in the bargain. I am not interested in your attitude, I am interested in the answer to the question posed.

    I suspect that this number is decreasing despite the money spent or not spent, and that there are NON-IDEOLOGICAL REASONS why it is not keeping up. The amount of money spent is a possible clue, not the bloody flag you are waving. Now you MIGHT be able to actually help find the answer, or you MIGHT keep on promoting bullshit.

    I am not even really interested in this topic, I just want to understand why the “unending list” is perceived. For the worker in the front line it may simply be perception… I don’t recall any period when nurses did not feel overwhelmed by the workload. Certainly it was felt in 1974 in the USA. Is it getting worse? If so why is it getting worse?

    Tou are touting numbers that at best mean that government has underspent on health for a long time, or that it has suddenly become less efficient at holding down costs, or that someone finally settled a national level pay action dispute and not a single clue is offered as to what is actually going on. You can help or go to hell Photonz, and I don’t care which you choose… but what you have provided is irrelevant.

  6. BJ was challenged to name other countries who have had a near 40% increase in health spending over the recesion.

    And the best he can come up with is waffle and a link to a story on a nurses strike ……..from 11 years ago (who was in charge in 2001?).

    There has been FOUR THOUSAND MILLION DOLLARS of ADDITIONAL funding in health.

    And the irony is, that with health, like education, we get desperate arguements to show there has been NO benefit from all the extra spending, from people who continually call for extra spending.

  7. I have shown conclusively that the hordes of feral lifetime beneficiaries are a figment of right wing imagination.

    I guess that means half my extended family and several of my neighbors don’t exist!! fancy that!

    Making sure that children of the poor have enough to eat is barely “killing them with kindness”.

    So make sure they have enough to eat by paying part of the benefit in food vouchers.

    Note that half of the kids living in poverty have parents who are in “full time work”.

    If they are in full time work and currently recieve WFF payments, they have no bloody excuse, my wife and I have been technically below the poverty line for most of the past 12 years and our kids have NEVER gone hungry. The difference is values, it is as simple as that, our kids are no 1 priority.

    Employers who cannot or will not pay enough wages for people to live on, and a Government that keeps cutting social insurance, we pay for, to give breaks to the already rich, are the problem

    This is part of the problem, absolutely, but it isn’t the problem.
    The biggest problem by far is a rampant consumer society and the “you deserve more” mantra.

    More money is not the answer.

  8. Photonz, I am trying to scare up stats over 10 years or more… you are handing out BS based on the financial crisis, but most countries experienced a spike in per-capita spend over that time frame. I am looking for a longer trend and a possible understanding of your never-ending-list perception.

    The question I am trying to answer, and I repeat it, is how many public nurses there are per capita in NZ, now and historically. I’ve been digging for the stats for over 2 hours now.

    Forget it. I have better things to do than this.

    Increased spending is a gross indicator, but it has to be broken down into what it gets spent ON.

    It apparently has not been Nursing in general.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=225051

    What appears to ME is a consistent shorting of the front-line staff, and that may not be anything to do with political parties, but more related to systematic bureaucratic foolishness that shows itself in many of these organizations.

  9. BJ says “The per-capita spend on health here has failed to rise at the rate that other countries have experienced ”

    BJ – Please tell me what other countries have increased health spending nearly 40% during the recesion.

    NZ Total Govt Health spend –
    2007 – $10,355 million
    2012 – $14,130 million

    Greenfly says “There simply aren’t, as Kerry shows, such hordes. ”

    Yeah – ten of thousands of annual notifications of child abuse are all imaginary too.

    And that’s on top of the 5000 kids who have already been removed.

    It’s a hard enough problem to solve without idiots denying there is any problem despite hard facts.

  10. Re the availability of early childcare – in rural areas it is far more difficult for a beneficiary to find such a thing, let alone find a way to get there. We spent several years trying to set up a good ECE centre, got the first lot of funding, did the local survey, ticked all the boxes and were on track to actually do it, when the current government came in, first froze the funding, then stopped it.
    We do have Playcentres, but they are not ECEs in the sense the Minister means and Kohanga Reo, which are for those who wish their children to speak Maori therefore not suitable for all. My daughter informs me that her kohanga has no current vacancies anyway and may have two next year.
    Yes, encouraging parents to take children to pre-school, to doctors and so on is fine – forcing them without offering the support to make it possible is not.

  11. And the number of public health care nurses per capita ? I am trying to niggle out this sort of detail

    http://www.dol.govt.nz/PDFs/professional-report-registered-nurse.pdf

    but the details are hard to nail down.

    The per-capita spend on health here has failed to rise at the rate that other countries have experienced but the stats are again, not well presented for this sort of comparison.

    The question: – How MANY public nurses are there per capita now, as opposed to 10-20 years ago? I don’t think they are as numerous, and I think the causes are more varied than just who is in government, but the “never ending list” of people needing care… may be a perception with some validity but a cause different from what Photonz is suggesting.

  12. There are no ‘hordes of feral lifetime beneficiaries’, despite photonz1 willing them into being through the shear straining of his powerful imagination.
    There simply aren’t, as Kerry shows, such hordes. ‘Cept in photonz’s head, (and on his imaginary ‘never ending list’. Never ending list? Really?)

  13. Kerry says “I have shown conclusively that the hordes of feral lifetime beneficiaries are a figment of right wing imagination.”

    So the never ending list of people our team of local public health nurses visit daily….must all be imaginary.

    What silly pubilic health nurses they must be, spending all that time visiting imaginary people.

    Kerry – you should do your public duty and let the public health departments know the people they visit are not real.

  14. I have shown conclusively that the hordes of feral lifetime beneficiaries are a figment of right wing imagination.

    Making sure that children of the poor have enough to eat is barely “killing them with kindness”.

    Note that half of the kids living in poverty have parents who are in “full time work”.

    Employers who cannot or will not pay enough wages for people to live on, and a Government that keeps cutting social insurance, we pay for, to give breaks to the already rich, are the problem

  15. Shunda would rather starve them to death.

    Shunda would rather we investigate solutions that work instead of throwing money at the problem.

    As someone deeply acquainted with generational welfare abuse, I feel more than qualified to comment.

  16. Is this what you meant?

    Nope, what I really meant is that the NZ welfare system frequently kills people with kindness and social progressives are always insulated from that fact.

    Money fixes everything right??

  17. Do you propose that we make them beg on the streets like the USA?

    Yeah, because me saying welfare is a noble, essential component to a civilized society equates to forcing people to beg on the streets.

    The difference between you and I is simply that I understand that a growing number of NZers have been abusing welfare and their kids are suffering terribly for it.

    Why do you hate kids so much Kerry?

  18. Not all ECE is suitable for all children. One of my colleagues went through three services until she found one to suit her daughter.

    :o

    Tiz true!! not all centers provide a tofu and mung bean option for lunch!!

  19. Killing the children with kindness?

    You mean Labour accepting the benefit payment level cuts of the Ruth Richardson budget that ballooned child poverty numbers. Or the low minimum wage rates that resulted in working parent children raised in poverty (it was Greens and NZ First who pushed for the $9 to $12 increase in the minimum wage).

    Then doing something (some called it an attempt to subsidise those paying workers low wages) by installing WFF to boost the incomes of parents with tax credits but excluding parents in the greatest need of all?

    Failure to require the insulation of rental property?

    Is this what you meant?

  20. Yes. Shunda, the welfare system is being corrupted.
    Millionaires using State resources paid for by the rest of us and avoiding taxes, bailouts to failed and criminal financiers, taxpayer developed assets and businesses given to private enterprise to strip and destroy and politicians, SOE managers/directors and others who accept money from us, while they work against our best interests.

    Key and Bennett are still beneficiaries. Accepting a State benefit. And, Unlike most beneficiaries they cost us much more than they contribute.

    On the other hand most recipients of welfare are simply benefiting from a public insurance scheme that they pay into for the rest of their working lives. Most people are on welfare for less than 4 years in a working lifetime.
    Almost all those on long term welfare are physically or mentally ill.
    Do you propose that we make them beg on the streets like the USA?

  21. BTW “So lets all agree that welfare is a noble, essential component to every civilized society.” Nope – no way am I going to consider the dole to be ‘noble’. It’s a sign of systemic failure.

  22. Doesn’t seem to me that the ‘left’ or the ‘right’ have any credibility on welfare issues – both have maintained the same system, both have used it punitively. Beyond the rhetoric, it’s a measure adopted by both sides as a cheap option. Just about every new government comes in to office with a scheme to “get the unemployed into jobs”. And after a lot of rhetorical fire and fury, they are quietly scaled down or abandoned.

    Ultimately, the welfare system was designed to be an auxiliary to an economy that provided people with jobs for most of their lives, with welfare as a temporary measure.

    It’s the economy that needs to be fixed first, either that or we tear up the welfare system and start again, acknowledging it will be a permanent part of people’s lives. I’m not keen on the latter option.

  23. The thing that pisses me off about this issue is that the political left have been killing children with ‘kindness’ for a very long time in this country.

    They have worked this issue so that regardless of what happens, they can always blame ‘the other side’ for any negative outcomes.

    The truth is very simple. Nothing on this planet is free from the potential of being abused, and that includes the NZ welfare system.

    So lets all agree that welfare is a noble, essential component to every civilized society.

    Now lets talk about that noble concept being abused and how we are going to deal with it.

    But the left don’t go there do they, “the noble poor” and all that.

    From my experience, I believe the NZ welfare system has fallen into abuse, it is being corrupted and needs work to address this corruption.

    I have seen what beneficiary ‘lifestylers’ do to their kids, enabled by a state.

    It is bloody appalling and it has to stop.

    If not what National are doing, then what??

  24. “And you don’t see anything wrong with that?”

    If I didn’t think there is a problem I wouldn’t have proposed a solution, would I? There’s plenty of other places on the internet for pointless jibes, Photonz1.

  25. Definately i agree with photonz1’s comment above. It is the responsibility of Family to take care of child and nourish them.
    An example Plants don’t go and search for water, there care taker nourish them.
    We had worse conditions here in Asia, children don’t get money from parents to even go pre-school which leads to higher noneducational level.
    on our level we have initiated to distribute study books at NGO schools.

    People should come forward and help children globally.

  26. Here you go Photo. Get educated. The hordes of underclass breeding on the dole are a figment of your imagination.

    http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2012/09/welfaresocial-insurance-myths-busted.html

    In reality they are just getting a small amount of the social insurance they pay taxes for over the rest of their lives.

    The hordes of the wealthy who have more than a million, who do not pay tax, are however, real! Source IRD. “Half of the wealthiest people in NZ pay no tax”.

  27. The reason there are skilled jobs available here is that most of the people we trained have left for Australia.

    The only folks left here with skills are the ones who are too old and settled to leave and the country is marching backwards to the beat of “Comparative Advantage” so fast that it looks like something out of Benny Hill.

    We can do better. Not under National’s guidance, nor under Labour’s either but we can certainly do better.

  28. @ photnz1

    Wrong. Stopping them in the first place is very obviously the fence at the top.

    I can’t agree. Unless your fence is forced sterilisation, lack of DPB will not stop uneducated kids with limited expectations having kids. Another form of welfare dependance will take it’s place – namely the unemployment benefit.

    We have LOWER unemployment that most European countries

    Read the first part of my statement, don’t leap on the qualifier. The resilience and depth of the economy is the important issue, particularly in terms of supporting labour mobility.

    A large number of businesses currently have shortages of skilled staff.

    Sure. But we’re not talking about a skilled work force. We’re talking unskilled. Further, very few companies choose to invest in work force upskilling. For some reason it’s not the NZ way – I don’t have an answer for why that is.

    So do we create “pretend” jobs that are not really needed to keep unskilled people busy?

    I didn’t say that. I specifically said the role of government is in “creating positive conditions for meaningful employment through state intervention” – pretty much as every other country in the world does, just not here.

    School girls getting pregnant IS a cause of them dropping out of school

    Sure, but you fail to see this as an effect of larger socio-economic issues, which was the point of my initial comment on the subject.

    Financially and emotionally unprepared kids having babies does not happen in a vacuum. It’s a symptom of wider social ills.

  29. Gregor says “I know we’ve covered this before but you must recognise that the ‘stop the underclass breeding’ approach is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.”

    Wrong. Stopping them in the first place is very obviously the fence at the top. For every one stopped at the top, there is not need to tip money over the cliff after them (the ambulance at the bottom).

    Gregor says “a) a wage suppressed, primary commodity based economy with structural unemployment as an aim, not a side-effect”

    We have LOWER unemployment that most European countries

    Gregor says “b) an entrenched underclass trapped in welfare hell as a result of limited low skilled employment at a living wage rate”

    We live in 2012. Get used to a smaller and smaller number of low skilled jobs. We no longer need gangs of 30 “shovel leaners” for every 50km of railways or roads, phone exchange operators, etc.

    A large number of businesses currently have shortages of skilled staff.

    Gregor says “c) successful paternalist governments that would prefer to see welfare as a solution – for quite opposite ideological reasons – rather than creating positive conditions for meaningful employment through state intervention”

    So do we create “pretend” jobs that are not really needed to keep unskilled people busy? Sounds similar to “work for the dole”.

    Gregor says “Focus on the cause, not the effects.”

    School girls getting pregnant IS a cause of them dropping out of school, failing to get a qualification, and living in poverty. By the second generation it is both a cause AND effect.

  30. Is it any surprise that some young people have no idea of planning, restraint, long-term thinking when we have elected successive governments who want to follow the American model of consumerism, taking what you want when you want it and damn the consequences. Where are the public role models for what Photonz is talking about? Why should a minority of children suffer because the greedy ones have shaped a society that values money and growth above community and co-operation?

  31. Sam says “If you want kids to see a doctor just make doctor’s visits for kids free, ”

    They have been for under sixes for many years.

    Sam says ‘Don’t need to make rules telling parents what to do and devise punishments if they fail to do so.”

    That’s the whole problem – dysfunctional families neglecting thousands of children, and legally they’re allowed to do that.

    And you don’t see anything wrong with that?

  32. fin says “It is a fact (and I’m sure you know it) that repro rate goes down as education goes up. How about feeding underfed kids at school? Don’t you think their education will be affected? Are you wilfully ignorant?”

    No – ignorance is making a simplistic “chicken and egg” decision that education lowers reproduction rates.

    When it’s obvious that it work the opposite as well – if not more so.

    If you don’t drop out of school cause you’re pregnant, you’ll probably get better educated and qualified.

  33. @photonz1

    I know we’ve covered this before but you must recognise that the ‘stop the underclass breeding’ approach is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

    We can’t meaningfully compare teen pregnancy rates with European nations or other issues of entrenched welfarism until we understand the causal nature of events namely;

    a) a wage suppressed, primary commodity based economy with structural unemployment as an aim, not a side-effect

    b) an entrenched underclass trapped in welfare hell as a result of limited low skilled employment at a living wage rate

    c) successful paternalist governments that would prefer to see welfare as a solution – for quite opposite ideological reasons – rather than creating positive conditions for meaningful employment through state intervention

    d)generational growth in this underclass as young kids reach maturity with limited horizons as a result of their environment – poor diets, truancy, drug use, jobless role models – that see continued welfare as a ‘job’ because that is what they know

    Focus on the cause, not the effects.

  34. “At $10 and up an issue the “children’s comics” market is a caricature of what it was.”

    Yeah – when I was a kid, thursdays after school the local newsagent was packed out with kids buying reading materials. Now there’s few comics and no local newsagent.

    I suspect this is partially due to competition from television, DVDs and computer games, but kids that come around to my place often dive into the old comics, so it can’t be entirely consumer-led. The few comics available today seem to be TV tie-ins and have few pages devoted to actual comics, but lots of competitions and promotions. So there’s a quality issue. Maybe comic producers got more interested in the adult and teenage market – where consumers have more money to spend. I’m not really sure.

    There’s definitely a need for a comics in schools programme, which is where a relatively small amount of government money would be well invested. A lot of educationalists are pretty prejudiced about comics though.

    “This IS what boys learn to read with… girls not so much I’d guess”

    Worth remembering comics used to be considered a ‘girl’s thing’ in the US. Britain always had a good range of comics aimed at girls, though the quality was uneven after the demise of the incredibly well-produced Girl in 1964.

  35. “We should be looking at laws that clearly states what is expected from all parents to look after children properly.”

    Sheesh… what is it with some people and their obsession with a judicial and punitive fix for everything? If you want kids to see a doctor just make doctor’s visits for kids free, register them with a doctor at birth and keep up regular checks. Don’t need to make rules telling parents what to do and devise punishments if they fail to do so.

  36. @ Photon. It is a fact (and I’m sure you know it) that repro rate goes down as education goes up. How about feeding underfed kids at school? Don’t you think their education will be affected? Are you wilfully ignorant?

  37. thanks everyone for what an interestin comment thread.
    Viv – there is no mention of travel support which will be difficult for many and potentially an absolute barrier for those in rural areas.
    Just to add another point to the discussion aout child outcomes. There is very good evidence that establishes the link between poverty and poor educational outomes. When the UK inctroduced school lunches educational outcomes improved at a faster rate than in response to any other measure prior to that. Condemning families to poverty will have an inverse impact of educational outcomes. I’ll try to find you an online reference.

  38. fin says “Photon worries me with this one “it’s only one very tiny step in what really needs to be done.”

    As I said above – that’s your problem. You are too scared to confront the real issues.

    We have a teenage pregnancy rate 500% higher than many European countries and from memory, the second worst in the world.

    The vast majority of those end up with no job, no qualification, on the DPB, with kids living in poverty.

    So what is the Greens policy to lower our teenage pregnancy rate?

  39. Photon says “Any campaign to end child poverty, while turning a blind eye to the the difficult issues that are the cause of it, is little more than empty words and is doomed to fail.”
    Too true.

    I wonder if beneficiary bashing is a good political strategy…

    Photon worries me with this one “it’s only one very tiny step in what really needs to be done.”

  40. Greenfly says “Clearly photonz1 has jumped the same gun in defending it. ”

    Just the opposite – it’s only one very tiny step in what really needs to be done.

    Better than policies that encourage people with dysfuctional families to have as many kids as they want.

    Remind me of the Green Party policy that discourages people who seriously neglect their children from having lots more?

    Oh that’s right – you don’t have one.

    When the DPB was introduced, 17,000 people went on it. In just five years numbers doubled and 15 years later it was nearly at 100,000.

    Now it’s a lifestyle choice for many people, and we have public health going into schools to try to convince girls it’s not a good idea.

    But they’re fighting a losing battle and we have one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world – 500% higher than many European countries.

    Any campaign to end child poverty, while turning a blind eye to the the difficult issues that are the cause of it, is little more than empty words and is doomed to fail.

  41. At $10 and up an issue the “children’s comics” market is a caricature of what it was. I don’t know who’s idea it is to make all the comics too expensive for kids to buy, but it is far and away, one of the more ridiculous things I see in this country.

    What I can’t tell is whether it is a global problem as I wasn’t buying comics in the States before I left. However, at those prices, the market had to disappear. A comic should be < $4 here and it isn't anywhere close. The makers put them on all glossy paper, wrap 'em in plastic and try to palm off dumb plastic do-dads as an excuse for the prices, and I remain entirely un-impressed.

    So how DO we get back to cheap comics? I don't think this is a government thing… I think it is a market failure of some sort, but not sure how it happens. So many other things wrong that need fixing, yet it is more significant than it might appear at first. This IS what boys learn to read with… girls not so much I'd guess, but the cost AND availability is perversely difficult here and now.

  42. Sam says “Agreed. So why bring in a policy that only applies to beneficiaries?”

    Agreed. We should be looking at laws that clearly states what is expected from all parents to look after children properly.

    This leads on to what I’ve been saying for ages – the problem we have in NZ is a large number of people who fail to plan to be financially and emotionally secure BEFORE they have children.

    But any atempt to limit someone who is completely incapable of financially and emotionally looking after their kids, from having even more so they can neglect them too, is always met with howls of protest.

  43. Bjchip suggests, most convincingly, that the Government has ‘jumped the gun’ in announcing this initiative. Clearly photonz1 has jumped the same gun in defending it. Neither will withdraw and apologise – both have to bluster their way through – it’s in their dna. Makes them look thuggish and dim, imho.

  44. photon

    Is that not a lesser step than taking the kids away – as happens now to 5000 parents who don’t look after their kids properly.

    You propose taking children away from their parents because they are already struggling to meet the cost of raising their kids? Could this have something to do with your vested interest ie your wife works for CYFs?

    Aren’t poor people allowed to have children photon?

    It’s bad enough to propose a 50% cut in income for families that are already struggling and thus exacerbate the child poverty problem, but to impose such draconian measures that will not work to increase literacy one jot is in my opinion idiotic!

    BTW, the 5011 children in the care of Child Youth & Family in June 2011 includes children who do not have a parent or caregiver. Orphans in other words. They are not all from abusive families and therefore you should not use that figure to show how many children come from abusive situations.

    CYF’s is also not a solution because of the high levels of abuse that occurs in that organisation. In the year to June 2011, there were 30 reported cases of abuse of children or young people in the direct care of CYF’s that were referred to the police.

    However CYF’s has failed to provide information concerning the abuse of children or young people placed in out of home care (consisting of 77% or 3,885 of those in the custody of the Chief Executive in 2011). This is likely to be at or above the levels of abuse by direct CYF’s caregivers. Therefore the 71 known cases of abuse are only the tip of the iceberg.

    That makes your archaic solution a complete fail photon… But what else is new?

  45. “ALL kids should be registed with a doctor and have their regular health checks. Not doing so is neglect and can result in lifelong problems.”

    Agreed. So why bring in a policy that only applies to beneficiaries?

    Can this government really think of no other solution than financial penalties – in other words, threaten people who don’t look after their kids properly with making looking after their kids properly impossible? This is plain nuts.

    I totally agree that encouraging reading from an early age is essential – when benefits are calculated, are regular purchases of children’s and adult’s books included? Sure, you can supplement this with books from libraries, but kids really need to have piles of books around, and need to see parents reading.

    On another note, the collapse of the market for children’s comics has significantly reduced the amount of regular reading kids will do of their own accord. Maybe the government could put some money into producing such reading material rather than punitive schemes?

  46. Photonz1 – I’m not sure anyone is arguing your point.

    They are (rightly) pointed out that applying a punitive measure ostensibly targeted at a dysfunctional minority but in fact, potentially affecting a significant swathe of the community is;

    (a) hamfisted
    (b) a dog-whistle
    (c) repressive
    (d) unlikely to affect children positively.

    In other words, people who already don’t give a fuck about their kids will not suddenly give a fuck when threatened with being reduced to a lower level of penury, but the unintended consequences across the community are likely to quite high on the working poor if this policy is followed through with.

  47. We have thousands of kids in NZ who are neglected. More than 80% of the kids who have not had early education, been read to, had books in the house etc – NEVER become fully litterate, even after ten years at school.
    (info from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10833651 )

    ALL kids should be registed with a doctor and have their regular health checks. Not doing so is neglect and can result in lifelong problems.

    With 125,000 parents on benefits, and sanctions expected to be applied to 1300, that means 99% will not be affected.

    Just the worst 1% – the most neglected kids – will have their parents presured to look after them better.

  48. My perception of this is that it is a misfire. I don’t know who had the original idea, and making sure that all the kids who can benefit from going to schools early get a chance to do so no matter what their parental circumstances are, is actually sort-of reasonable.

    However, the idea has been turned into another punishment for poverty scheme, with neither a knowledge of how many kids would be affected nor any implementation details about how the external costs of sending a child to school are handled.

    Such as transport, as Viv points out.

    I half believe that the release of the information about it was premature and that the reason it WAS premature was to force the hand of someone in government… somehow. Not sure how it worked, just that this has the appearance of an internal squabble getting pushed into the public view… as there is too little “completion” in it.

  49. Are they planning to make any arrangements to pay for transport for parents and the kids to get to and from childcare? Not all centers are walkable distances from people’s home and busfares are an added expense.

  50. If this Govt. really cared about ALL kiwis, they would NOT be threatening to make those at the ‘bottom’ lives even harder. Its just excuses to reduce Govt. spending & bash the beneficiaries..

    “Hey Paula, we’re not ALL ignorant !”

    Kia-ora

  51. I am not keen on putting kids in care at age 3. It may work for some but it is certainly not a one-size-fits-all thing that should be imposed AND ONLY imposed, on children who happen to be unlucky enough to have parents with no money or jobs or whatever.

    I think something is significantly wrong with people who are incapable of dealing fairly with everyone, and think that good luck is something else entirely.

    I still think that giving children aid in kind, not in cash, and giving it to every child through a wide spectrum of services, is best.

    This half-assed attempt to force some unknown number of children who are not uniformly ready at this age, into environments that are not uniformly ready or even available at all… has the appearance of a plausible suggestion that has been massaged by people who have an inherent contempt for the less fortunate.

    I personally regard the leadership of National to be the essence of evil, no better than the leaders of the Republican party back in the USA.

    We should fire the lot of them and send a guy with a photocopier to Stockholm.

  52. “Is that not a lesser step than taking the kids away – as happens now to 5000 parents who don’t look after their kids properly.”

    No. Your argument is facile. Parents now don’t have their children taken away from them for choosing not to enroll them in early childcare at age 3.
    Nor do they have them taken off them for choosing not to immunise them.
    Are you daft?

  53. “So the govt will threaten…”

    Yes, they will, photonz1.
    It’s what right-wing authoritarians do.
    Threaten.
    It’s how they roll.
    You appear to thrill to their psychopathy.

  54. So the govt will threaten sanctions for 1300 parents who don’t look after their kids properly.

    Is that not a lesser step than taking the kids away – as happens now to 5000 parents who don’t look after their kids properly.

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