Cackling Paula has no idea how kids will survive her reforms

You might think that the idea of financial sanctions on the very poorest children in New Zealand because of their parents’ behaviour would be an anathema to anyone who cares about the welfare of children. Its cruel, at best, and downright dangerous at worst.

So when the Minister of Social Development decides that the income of some of the poorest children in New Zealand would be halved if their parents didn’t meet her new social obligations, the average person might expect she’d have done a bit of work to ensure that those kids would be all right.


Well, no. According to Paula Bennett, she has absolutely no idea how these kids are even going to survive. “I think living on the full DPB is hard, I don’t know how you can live on 50 per cent”, she said in the Herald yesterday. This is the same Minister who giggled uncontrollably in the House today when she pointed out that the Government doesn’t measure child poverty. She may find that hysterical, but personally, I don’t find that very funny at all.

13 Comments Posted

  1. Graeme, as to the obligations – a separate issue to what to do when the obligations are not met, is your objection to there being any or them being selectively applied on those receiving benefits?

    My prime objection to the policy is the financial sanctions impact on the well being of children.

    The idea of financial assistance coming with conditions is not new, but the idea that children already in poverty should be placed in an even more precarious position makes this an uncommonly harsh regime.

  2. Bennett should show and prove to those benefitiaries how they should spend each dollar to survive daily…with reduced benefits. some suggestions she can make:
    Choose to skip power bill or kids’ GP visit?
    shave all heads so reduce hot water shower time in winter
    free camping in well heated DSD /parliament if you can’t afford the household heating
    walk everywhere (for hours at times)with baby/children under lovely wellington winter weather, since stay home mums were seen as those who got nothing to do all day, while ownning a car or taking public transport are both too expensive
    cancel all insurance -they will eventually own nothing anyway
    other ideas?

    Key govt is good at rippping off the vulnerable and the poor but always benefit few riches and powerfuls
    Tax dodging from big businesses (esp foreign owned companies) can easily be used to look after the general public including benefitiaries better and properly…
    heartless govt has lost its conscience and its humanity

  3. @SPC The argument is that persons on benefits somehow are worse parents by means of WHERE THEIR MONEY COMES FROM than persons who are not on any benefit.

    I do not know of any scientific study that shows the place where money is derived has any impact on the ability to parent, do you?

    How many people in New Zealand register as Bankrupt each year, and how many of them were once employed, probably by themself, took a financial risk and lost, do they suddenly become bad parents because of financial mismanagement? Suddenly they’ve not registered their children in schools and not taken their children to doctors, because of where their money comes from. Complete and total nonsense, typical National Party fare!

    SPC you know full well this is pure prejudice, hatred, bullying by the State of the weakest and least able to fight back. Obviously your kind of people.

  4. T.H. has a very interesting observation.

    A couple of days ago I penned this response in the general thread relating to the fact that we have large numbers of people for whom there are no jobs available. Perhaps the most important part was:

    The simple fact is that we have people for whom there will never be jobs that benefit the economy. This is the 21st century world we have built.

    Somewhere along the line we clever people simply chose to ignore that there would be consequences of our actions. Its not that we didn’t know; we just didn’t do anything about it. We didn’t address the societal problems we knew we would cause. And we still don’t.

    This problem will not solve itself. It needs to be solved. And the first step is to stop using nomenclature such as “benefits” and “unemployed”. There are people who don’t want to be unemployed, and don’t want to be on benefits, they want to be able to work to support their family as their parents did for them, but the honest truth is that just wont happen ever again. Thus we need to figure out as a society what the future is for these people. For it certainly isn’t work. The genie is just not going to go back in the bottle.

    Perhaps the National Government is attempting to solve this long term problem? Though this isn’t the sort of solution I’d envisaged.

  5. Even more disgusting when it is done by someone who, supposedly, knows what being poor and struggling is like.

    Or, is it, like Key, she had the support of an already wealthy family.

  6. Here’s a few more words to describe Ms. Bennett & her party’s attitude to the kiwis in the ‘lower socio-economic’ groups : contempt, smug, arrogant, selfish & mostly UNCARING !

    Methinks that if the ‘key-party’ survive the 2014 election.. NZ will be strictly devided into two groups. ‘HAVES’ & ‘have-NOTS’.. more like the feudal system that most of the ‘civilised’ world is moving away from ! oh dear


  7. It’s pretty clear from Paula’s attitude that the Nats and anyone who supports their perspective are now open about their goal to, quietly as possible, kill off certain portions of the population.

    To me this seems like a gross error of judgement, not so much the killing off of poor people (people have being doing that since forever), but announcing it in no uncertain terms. People like me know how to look after their own and many other communities will be increasing their efforts in this area to meet the shortfall. But what of the poor old Nats and friends who are now clearly homicidal?

    By announcing their intentions they’ve undermined their own slogans, you know, the ones where you can get ahead or join the happy band of go-getters and ladder climbers. Because, if the deal is that anyone not like them is going to be killed off using whatever indirect method; and the vulnerable, being the least like them get it first and they’re a smallish group; then they’re intent on killing off their prospects and showing that their prospects can’t ever be like them and, well, prospects. Somewhere along the line, the often positive result of facing adversity got turned into a slogan that adversity should be simulated to return positive results. Anyone with a teaspoonful of life experience knows it doesn’t work like that. As unbelievable as it seems, not everyone is the same or can be made to be the same. The least capable, when compared to societal norms, are called “the vulnerable”. Why do I have to explain the basics?

    It was sad to see a person on the news a few nights ago, who was once an unemployed solo mum on the receiving side of the desk, become a WINZ case manager to end her unemployment. Apparently she’s quite good at her new job. Certain analogies spring to mind and to be honest I saw those vacancy ads not so long ago myself, ads looking for case managers and I thought about it for a few days. I didn’t apply because I thought, yeah sure, I’m desperate enough, it could be termed as a survival choice, but I’d have to be carrying out the evil orders of some nasty politicians in order to save myself. I couldn’t do it. Maybe I needed a hungry screaming mouth to feed in order to motivate me. What a crap laden world we’ve built for ourselves here where the desperate are turned against the desperate so they get to extend the “deadline” when they’ll get the chop by a few days, months or years.

    One wonders what will happen once they run out of poor people. Simply speaking, there is nothing to stop it being the working class next, then middle class, right the way up to the last few percenters, clubbing each other in their palatial Parnell backyards. Bizarre ideal to live your life by. Are they criminally insane or just psychotic? And why do people keep voting, for anyone really, because obviously the rules and timid ideals such as “the social contract” and “human rights” can’t do anything to hold back this sort of direct abuse against a population.

    Maybe this is why John Key was so eager to go to war with Nth Korea. Knock off some random losers in the army (losers = anyone not as great as him) and extend the group of people he and his kind can announce as Not Valuable Enough to Live. But who will man the machines to make trinkets for the rich or build cycleways for visiting tourists? The workers all dead, we’ll be a nation of managers with nothing to manage. Even if they import slaves, they’ll have to be killed off too, soon as they require health care, compassion or some other frivolous moral concern. And of course we’ll be at war with Nth Korea and any other nearby country that has mass production equipment and who are not quite as superior as whoever is left ruling here. Life for the last few overlords will get a bit stone age, I’d say. Did anyone in the National Party think this through? Chrissake, does it even have to be a moral concern, to not kill off your nation’s kids? Can it just be a scientific law of resource management?

    Ah well, at least they’re honest. Open honest policy. But I think NZ society just turned a dark corner. I don’t remember the hate being so open during the nineties. And what am I supposed to do, people like me, who know what the haters look like and know that they are homicidal – only now it’s officially condoned. Should I wait around to be hit first or just go ahead and pre-empt the inevitable? I’ve fought this kind of hate before, back when I had something to lose and I lost what I had as a result, but now I have nothing to lose. How much more vicious will the battle be this time? When the rulers say they want you dead, want your children dead, do you reckon the law of self-defence will apply? It really makes me angry that our leaders have abandoned not only the people, but any deference to long held beliefs that people matter. Last weekend I had no idea that today I’d be grappling with the idea of entering into open hostilities with over half the population. Where the hell are our leaders?

    I really don’t expect the Greens to do anything about it as an organisation, however heartfelt any MP as an individual may feel. The polite rules don’t let them and they have no policy changing power anyway. But it’d be great to see footage of any particular Green MP being dragged from the debating chamber for calling out the Nat policy for the murderous intent it truly is and refusing to quieten down or leave. It’d be career suicide, but at least it’d be a small gesture for those kids that will die or spend the rest of their lives climbing out of an unnecessarily deep hole of emotional scars and physical ailments resulting from an avoidably dark and sickly childhood. If the entertainers of the daily political arena aren’t going to put on an impressive personal display and say no to killing unprofitable children, hell, even killing our unprofitable fellow citizens, then why bother paying attention for anything else such as a eco-friendly showerheads and wind-powered generators.

  8. Graeme, the issue is what sanctions to apply when someone does not meet their obligations – sanctions that impact only on the parent rather than the level of support to the children are more appropriate.

    This is not about all DPB recipients, it is about those who fail to meet their obligations.

  9. @SPC It is National party prejudice and assumption that the financial incompetence you speak of actually happens. Maybe Paula Bennet is relating her experience of her incompetence in financial matters when she was a DPB recipient? Other than her colleagues imagination and her possible experience there is no justification to say DPB recipients are any more or less incompetent with money than employed persons.

  10. @Roman, behave which way? Children only have to be registered at a school by a certain age, registered at a doctor (whether they’re sick or not.) I have never heard of a child in NZ dieing because the child wasn’t registered at a school or surgery. Have you?

    This is a beat up on the weakest in society campaign. Pick on nice easy targets who can’t fight back. Bullying no less!

  11. An alternative to punitive sanctions impacting on dependents is to introduce spending card restraint instead. This might even improve the circumstance of the said dependents.

    A way to improve their financial circumstance of children is to propose that half the money in child support payments go to the primary parent and children receiving the DPB (any amount over the exemption from abatement attracting that abatement).

  12. I don’t find it funny that these parents care so little about their children that they behave this way.

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