Paula Bennett has forgotten her own

“I’ve always proudly stood up and said I’ve had benefit from the welfare state and I’m incredibly grateful for it. To now have that being used against me, I think is offensive to those people who are on benefits and trying to better their lives.”

So says Paula Bennett, Minister of Social development and one time DPBer, responding to the criticism that having once benefited from the Training Incentive Allowance, (TIA), in order to get her degree, she has now cut the allowance for solo parents following her footsteps. The TIA cuts will save the government about $11m by 2012. The TIA will only be available for sub degree courses now, that is, courses that offer little chance of a job.

There are two issues here. First the insanity of saving money by cutting educational access to the absolute poorest families in New Zealand. Especially when we know that the educational success of the parents contributes positively to the educational success of the children. Even Treasury thinks so:

Studies throughout the world find that better-educated people tend to have children who experience better outcomes: their children are healthier, for example, do better at school and commit fewer crimes. Young people in the Christchurch HDS cohort whose mothers had low levels of education were at greater risk of many poor outcomes in childhood and adolescence. It may be, therefore, that an increased education benefits not only the individual who receives it but also their children.

Ministry of Womens Affairs research showed that early childhood education is much less of a barrier for mothers with degrees or higher qualification than those with no formal education.

In fact some of the studies talk about how parental or maternal education, along with engagement in the child’s education, can break the cycle of poor educational outcomes beyond just that child.

So why be so miserly as to cut funding from the poorest families when the evidence strongly suggests that that investment can potentially save the entire family from lifetimes of poverty?

I must confess that this is how I feel about my own use of the TIA.

I fully remember the opportunity the TIA gave me as a solo parent. Fact is, education saved my life and the future prospects of my daughter. I used it to start my law degree and though I had to finish on the student loan scheme (the TIA was capped and used in part for childcare costs), it meant I finished my degree with less than half the debt I would have had otherwise. The TIA was the one real option for moving into higher level education, for getting a degree that would be almost guaranteed to get me into work. And it did, four years of hard university slog and straight into a job.

But the second level of obscenity is the extent to which Paula rides on her DPB days to give herself credibility with struggling women and their families.

Paula claims she hasn’t forgotten her time on the benefit, but her actions prove her words false. Her words are sweet but her political decisions are offensive and without compassion. Her excuse for denying others what she had is the same tired excuse we heard for the student loan scheme, the same tired excuse the poor have had to listen too from the rich for decades – “Sure, I benefited and now I’m in power, so tough”.

Those who are trying to better their lives have had a kick in the guts from a woman who claims she understands. I remember everyday what help I needed to care for myself and my child. I remember who gave that help and who did not. I remember being broke and stressed with Varsity being the only way out. I remember all the other women I knew then and know now who walk that daily struggle.

Paula has forgotten us. And we won’t forget that.

176 Comments Posted

  1. Eco,
    Your grammar is fine, better than mine generally. The quoting thing is just a pet peave of mine. 😛

    I am on this blog for both self improvement and because I find debate one of very few pleasurable activities; so I am thankful that you dont mind my using your responses for that purpose.

    I am an unmarried and childless university student presently on a student loan. I am 20 years of age and as such my student allowence is based on my parential income. I am not elligable for any allowence or suppliments; the future me pays the present me via student loan and the government picks up the interest. The fees subsidy helps alot too but I would pursue the education just the same if it was entirly unsubsidised.
    I feel no resentment toward those on the DPB nor toward bludgers, they are mearly exploiting what opportunities they have been presented with, just as I do in accepting subsidised education and allowing the government to pay the interest on my student loan. Though I refuse to use the many Maori services offered on my campus and to myself as one of my few matters of principle.

    They do have student allowences in place still, they are just severly limited to those whos parents are poor or are past their mid-20s based on the assumption that all parents support their children regardless of them potentially being on the other side of the country or an array of other potentialities.

  2. Forgive me Sapient… I do admit that my grammatical written behaviour is not the best but yet understandable I hope. I am very pleased to have you use my responses to practice your learnedness at a higher level of education.

    Excuse me! May I ask if you are a single university student, currently on a student loan?. Perhaps you may feel some resentment towards solo mothers/DPB beneficiaries attaining TIA’s to accomplish a higher level of learnedness? If so! I do apologise that the system have no policies in place to subsidise a higher education for your circumstance? Do they still have student allowances in place?

  3. Eco,
    Before I get to the topic: It is much tidier if, when quoting someone, you use formatting brackets. [Blockquote] … [/Blockquote] will do the job if you replace ] with > and [ with < .

    As to the actions of these fathers, I would say it comes down to a culture of irresponsibility. I am a proponent of individualism in many contexts but sometimes it can go to far. As a society we have increasingly been becoming individualistic to the extent that interpersonal relations are conciously perceived as the means of self-benefit and gratification that they actually are. This conscious realisation leads people to more readily disengage from these interpersonal relations and voids any moral guilt or obligation they may feel toward those with whom they interact.
    So even when they do perceive an emotional connection at some point, or when it is purely sexual, disconnecting that relationship becomes easy due to the lack of moral guilt or obligation. This same lack meaning that they feel no obligation or gult in not supporting their offspring.
    Atleast that how I see it. lol.

    As to pulling other bloggers off topic, its not really intentional, I just tend to like debating that which interests me more than that which bores me.

  4. greengeek says:
    “Nature – or God – (whichever you believe) made us this way.

    Over the last 20 years too much effort has been put into making men feel guilty for their inherent personalities.

    It shouldn’t be green party policy to emasculate (demasculate?) men.

    Love us as we are.

    And remember…it was our mothers who raised us.”

    Yes! but back to solo mum issues and/or teenage pregnancy…’why is it that men/boys of men are so candidly walking away and not or fully assisting the mothers who born their child(ren). Fully, is indicative to financial, social or moral assistance etc (for the benefit of Sapient who tends to pull comrade bloggers way off the debatable issues). Cheers Matey! :’)

    Why does it look like that these scenarios have become a culture in itself? 🙁

  5. Sapient Says: I was lucky enough to have a half decent cognitive style imprinted apon me by my mother so I didnt end up being a total r*tard but that only goes part of the way. I got to the, not so high, level I am presently at through hard work

    It’s quite noticeable that you’ve put a lot of effort into your spelling over the last year too. I must compliment you on the improvement. 🙂

  6. BJ,

    Sapient, that is so wrong.

    Really? Where?

    The main detirminant of IQ is ones cognitive style. Infact, between cognitive style and digit span, IQ is prety much captured entirly. Both of which are changable.
    I was not born as intelligent as I am presently, I was lucky enough to have a half decent cognitive style imprinted apon me by my mother so I didnt end up being a total r*tard but that only goes part of the way. I got to the, not so high, level I am presently at through hard work and through activly seeking challange to the way I think; through effort and will. That effort and will being applied in my early years as the consequence of a drive for the approval and recognition of my father and latter my grandfather and uncle and in my latter years through the love for knowledge that i had obtained.
    Admitedly luxuries such as this may present more of a challenge to someone in the lowest socio-economic groups, but that matters only in terms of the age of acheivement given the benefits which presently exist and particuarly the student loan, or in their case allowance.
    Cognitive style can be altered at ANY age, infact it is one of the most crucial reasons why ‘critical thinking’ is highly recommended at university. Regardless of your style it becomes morphed as you learn more and more. Take the same subjects at school and your style will converge with that of another. Take the same subjects at tertiary and much the same will happen.
    Low IQ as a result of socieo-economic poverty is not an excuse, it may make goals more hard to formulate but ultimatly it is easily mouldable and, given that someone in the lowest groups would be elligable for both a student allowence and a student loan, and thus able to move out of the ‘dreadful’ environment of the ghetto and otherwise support themselves, environment ceases to be an excuse also. They may not be able to acheive a IQ in the 99.99999th percentile (not mine btw) due to genetics, but they will easily obtain one sufficent to obtain atleast a bachelors or with even more effort a masters.
    As my flatmate is fond of stating; the effects of socio-economic status and ethnicity on success at university rapidly disappear in at the 200-level.

    They may not want to put the effort in but the point remains that if they did want to they could and as such they could escape that environment. Even working at a supermarket full time would provide sufficent funds to escape. This escape could be made easier yet but even now it is obtainable to those whom try.

  7. The point remains though that those in the lower socio-economic clades are there through their own choices and actions.

    Sapient, that is so wrong. There is a PARTIAL connection, as hard work is required to have a chance to get up the ladder, but it isn’t sufficient…. between the effects of a high GINI coefficient and the correlation between income and IQ, there is every likelihood that families in poverty are (for the most part) there for reasons that have damned little to do with their work ethic. “There but for the grace of god, go I” and it isn’t a real good idea to make broad claims about their choices and actions.

    respectfully
    BJ

  8. ecomaori Says:
    I do believe men should be held accountable for their male sexual dominated egos. Too many men take the easy road and are self centered.

    Nature – or God – (whichever you believe) made us this way.

    Over the last 20 years too much effort has been put into making men feel guilty for their inherent personalities.

    It shouldn’t be green party policy to emasculate (demasculate?) men.

    Love us as we are.

    And remember…it was our mothers who raised us.

  9. Eco,

    For many, not in a socially acceptable manner. High, middle class and docile open minded struggling lower socio-economic people find their unsociable behaviours very offensive and fearful

    This is true. To eliminate this takes an approach no party presently has the gonads for. Though the green/red party does approximate some of the needed steps.
    The point remains though that those in the lower socio-economic clades are there through their own choices and actions. Conditions could be much more conductive for there movement up the ladder and they do face problems along the way but it remains that they are there through fault of thair own.
    Remmember that money is a concentrated form of power; it may not be ‘just’ or ‘fair’ that those with greater finances have greater power but these finances often reflect the result of effort. Unfortunatly there are those whom inherit or pilfer this power. Remmember also that money holds power only because the people wish it to be so, it is not that those of low socio-economic groups have no power with which to influence government but that they do not weild that power and because of this forgo much of their possible influence.

  10. Eco,
    Please expand on:

    I do believe men should be held accountable for their male sexual dominated egos.

    Do you mean that males should be held to account for their egos being dominated by id desires such as fighting and fornication? If so, what are the implications of this in terms of state action? Or are you making a comment about chauvanistic attitudes toward work? 😕

    Authorities are right to target these places as lower socioeconomic status is prehaps one of the greatest corrillates of tendancy towards criminal behaviour. These ghettos do, however, not continue to be created.

    You are correct that educated parents tend to produce children whom go on to seek education themselves. This is not, however, a result of the education itself but of cognitive style. Cognitive style is the single biggist detirminant of socio-economic class and the main tool of class-perpetuation. A cognitive style is taught by the mother, and to a lesser extent the father, to a child in the early development particuarly and to a lesser extent as the child ages. Though this style can be changed to varying degrees of effectivness throughout the life of the individual. The best way to stop the class perpetuation is to teach children how to think, not what to think, this is the single biggist failing of our education system and I have talked to many disgruntled teachers about this matter. Teach them to think for themselves and they will succede in whatever dirrection they consider success to lie.

    It is true that many on the various benefits are there through genuine need, but many are not. It is the bludgers that ruin it for all on the benefits. I have various ways of altering this effect but that is another matter entirely. I am all for supporting these women, and men, but they must live within their means if they wish to do so, they do not deserve this much greater than the medium wage for subsistance if this is granted as a gift with no renumeration. If they were to pay back a portion of what they receive then this would be far supperior, but this is not the case and because they make no such sacrifice, levied against future earnings, they have no entitlement to ask for more. If she has enough time to try to start a business then she has enough time to study part time extramurally, or even full time.

  11. “Make no mistake, the willfully impoverished have more say than the middle class in society as the government moves out of fear to stop a ‘revolution of the idiot’ from happening and in an attempt to minimise crime.”

    For many, not in a socially acceptable manner. High, middle class and docile open minded struggling lower socio-economic people find their unsociable behaviours very offensive and fearful (No further elaboration please!).

  12. (Please forgive the above release of blog…I thought my son, who is very enthused with our debates had released my dictation in an edited manner)

    I do believe men should be held accountable for their male sexual dominated egos. Too many men take the easy road and are self centered.
    The easy way is always the hard way, in the end.

    As for state housing… most of these homes are in areas, clearly visualized as under privileged residencies while other areas encompass high crime rates. Authorities constantly target these places due to lower economic status.

    In these areas most tenants are under educated and have no voice and therefore are not heard in our society. Given all these observations, is it desirable to consider state housing as an option. If I am correct, when offered a state home, one must accept or be placed at bottom of long waiting list. As a male, I would be scared to walk to the local shops. Let alone a solo mother (a mother, whose natural instinct is to provide a safe environment for her children.

    People! Let’s not make assumptions as to the true nature of another’s circumstances! Studies indicate, If a child’s parent is educated the child will become educated and eventually become tax payers themselves. So we are back to the (TIA)… Education is the key to a equal and prosperous society.

    To pass comment on ‘bludging’, perhaps this is true for a small percentage of beneficiaries overall.

  13. Eco,
    Im not entirly sure what your getting at with your first point: if you mean that the non-custodial parent of the child should have to fork out to support the child then i agree entirly. If you are making some crack about society being suited to mens needs then while that is true it does not necassarily follow that it should change in any manner.
    As to state housing, it has been a long time policy to spread this housing throughout many areas so as to avoid the ghetto trap which you describe which resulted from the clustering of older policy.
    As to the rest, is this a critique of the capitalist system? They are not forced to live there by any means, that they are able to live there at all is more than they deserve in most cases. They may not have had the best start in life but our society is one such that the advance through society is readily obtainable through effort. They are in the state they are in in some cases because of their parents, but in all adult cases they are there through there own actions, or lack there of.
    Make no mistake, the willfully impoverished have more say than the middle class in society as the government moves out of fear to stop a ‘revolution of the idiot’ from happening and in an attempt to minimise crime.

    P.S. A little punctuation, even done as poorly as my own, would go a long way.

  14. i do belive men shuld be held acountable for there male sexural domanated egoes to meany men to many men take the eazy road and are self centered the eazy way is always the hard way in the end as for state housing most of these are in a airaya were underpriverlidged are high crime rates and you see the aurthortys hounding these places were the under privlideg are forced to live because of there economic states also most are under educated and have no vioce in our susiterity and targeted buy the autheritys a lot of people would be scared to walk to the local shops a mothers natrule instink is to provide a safe envoriment for her children people shud not make asumction of some one elses cercimstances ie three children if the mother is educated the children will get educated an become tax payers go riger

  15. Paula is in the right.

    “8. In making allegations against a Department, an individual has released considerable personal detail to the news media. The Minister wishes to respond to the allegations using those details, but wants to add some further detail in order to answer specific allegations.

    By releasing a large amount of personal information to the media, the individual is taking the risk that unfavourable publicity could result. If the Minister releases only information which is relevant to the issues raised by the individual, that person may not be able to claim that any particular harm was caused by the Minister’s disclosure rather than by the individual’s own disclosure. If the individual is not harmed, there would not be an interference with the individual’s privacy under section 66 of the Privacy Act.”

    About time the bludger industry was shut down for good.

  16. In forums on the DPB you hear the stories but you can’t see their cards.
    Paula Bennett changed that.

  17. >>Would you rather see the crime rate go up and spend 22 million

    I’d rather people who leave school at 16 , who have no means to support themselves, didn’t have kids they can’t afford.

    One is a mistake. Three times is career planning.

    Enough, already. Scrap the DPB and replace it with unemployment insurance/savings schemes. One child only. Father need to be held accountable.

  18. Ecomaori,
    They have only themselves to blame. They entered into a political debate and used their own situation as their main, almost only, debative tool. The appropriate response to such an arguementive tactic is to reply in kind or invalidate/diminish the value of their statement. Paula did what was both appropriate and deserved.
    As for rent/mortgage, she would seem to have been on this schemme for a prolonged period. She should be in a state house and using whatever money she did have to support herself until such a point as she could no longer and only then should the state come in to bat. Move her to a state house and the potentially required benefit shrinks vastly. She has no right to both bludge and live it up.
    Her arguement that she need smore money because it is simply not enough to support her study is rather doubtable considering she sought to start a business, surely more intensive than study, especially at a pre-study level.
    Of course if it all took the form of a loan, the DPB, then there would be no problem with this; if only.

  19. Paula Bennett should not have persecuted these ladies. She has only disclosed their income, not their circumstances. No mention of rent or mortgage payments, this couid consume half of their income. Other people are grumbling about their own circumstances. Yet! Are they solely responsible for paying rent or mortgage, power, phone, food, car running costs, doctors bills, child(ren) education and clothing etc, or perhaps these grumblers are living with mommy and daddy and over indulging in many social activities. Do they also have a job by means of who they know or acquired skills achieved through education? Not everyone in gods own are as privliged. Would you like to be used as a ploy to justify national’s change in policy. Come on people…let’s not measure these women’s situations out of context! I think Paula’s actions are similar to a real estate agent selling a property and failing to disclose that there was a fire in the roof. I refuse to make a decision based on minimal information. I believe there are a lot of good people in NZ who will oppose to people being treated this way.

    Would you rather see the crime rate go up and spend 22 million on the police force and jailing systems to harbour these once were innocent and driven to offend…I think not!…Prevention is always far better than cure.

  20. Not to mention a 10K payment to start her own “business”, which she then abandoned.

    Cleaning.

    FFS.

  21. Why do we reward people who make stupid decision after stupid decision, whilst we penalise the responsible?

    When you work out all the tax we pay, it actually works out about dollar for dollar to the govt in our small business.
    It does seem very unfair that a solo mum on the DPB is actually better off than us, I had no idea they can get so much.

  22. She says its not enough to support the kids and study. Hmmm, prehaps she should find a partner or relative to impose on. Study from home or some such. I know several young single mothers whom study from home. Mind you, they dont get paid anywhere near that much. With one child many succecd on campus too.

  23. So, Greenfly – do you think it is fair that someone on the DPB pulls in more than someone who pays tax, works a full time job, and pays their own way through university?

    Why do we reward people who make stupid decision after stupid decision, whilst we penalise the responsible?

    Where is the social justice in this?

  24. “That much money per week, anyone see her house? Means testing?”

    It is an awful lot of money. She is doing better than me and that includes our family support!!!

  25. Greenfly,
    When you use your state as an arguementive tool you put yourself at risk. It is perfectly legitimate to bring up what paula did in arguing against those two. It is exactly the same as how arguing against a person is valid when the opponent uses a appeal to authority.
    That much money per week, anyone see her house? Means testing?

  26. What do you want me to say?

    Ok I am going to do it.

    here goes

    ahem

    just a second

    whew!!

    almost ready…….

    YOU HAVE A POINT GREENFLY!

  27. A little different? Hah!

    So Shunda. If you were to campaign against govt policy (surely that’s a basic right here in New Zealand!) you’d accept that Ms Bennett could release personal details that she as a minister is privy to, about you and your wife..

    ..AND THAT”S ALRIGHT BY YOU???

  28. If I was minding my business, No.
    But these ladies were campaigning against govt policy, so it is a little different.

  29. “Most people are not opposed to welfare”

    I’m so pleased to hear that Shunda.

    Would you have been happy to have had a Government Minister announce to the country details of what you and your wife were receiving on the benefit, without consulting you, simply because she wanted to? Hmmmm?

  30. “You did say that you and your wife were once beneficiaries. There are a lot of people who would tear you to shreds for being bludgers.”

    I have shared that information on Kiwi blog before with out negative reaction.
    Most people are not opposed to welfare, just welfare as a lifestyle choice.
    I hated it, I got to an all most unemployable state, and they were the worst years of my adult life.

  31. d4md

    Lovely to hear your dulcet tones again.
    You must be suffering an awful torsion over the betrayal of trust shown by that vindictive Bennett woman!

  32. “Aren’t you lucky that Green commenters are so willing to suspend judgement on people like you? ”

    Yes, the greens are very friendly to people of my religious persuasion!!!!

  33. Shunda

    You’ve not heard enough about the issue to comment?

    Fair enough.

    Perhaps you should keep your opinions about ‘the two women’ to yourself as well.

    You did say that you and your wife were once beneficiaries. There are a lot of people who would tear you to shreds for being bludgers. Aren’t you lucky that Green commenters are so willing to suspend judgement on people like you? BluePeter and jh and D4J might be staring daggers at you though 🙂

  34. “what do you think about Paula Bennett releasing private details the way she did, remembering that those women were critical of a broad issue unrelated to their own benefits?”

    Hmmmm, a sticky question.
    Perhaps she did seem to enjoy it a wee bit too much, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the women involved though, due to the amount of money they are receiving.
    Perhaps it could have been done in a better way, but I haven’t actually heard enough from Paula to be sure of the context.

  35. Shunda

    I’ll try you. The others have gone the D4J way and can’t be reached.
    Aside from the concerns you expressed about welfare and the amounts that were reported, what do you think about Paula Bennett releasing private details the way she did, remembering that those women were critical of a broad issue unrelated to their own benefits? A rave about welfare etc. will not interest me but could be discussed later, if you wish.

  36. “The issue here is a recipient of $715 p/w of public money claiming to be hard done by.

    Enough. It’s got to stop.”

    You could lead a pretty cushy life style on $715 per week. I see she has a lap top, I have only just been able to afford one (it will be here any day, woo hoo!!!) and I have had my own business for 5 years.
    The reality is welfare is a lifestyle choice in NZ now, how proud should you be on welfare with that sort of money?
    When my wife and I had the unfortunate experience of being on welfare 10 years ago, we had a new born baby and $280 per week in total, for the three of us!!!

  37. The Kahui’s brought the hammer that killed the twins on welfare money!
    Who killed kiwi integrity? The pc left are to blame.

  38. Isn’t it e-m-b-a-r-r-a-s-i-n-g for the left when their beneficiary pets get more than your average(?) worker.

    Q. So it was true the Kahui whanau pulled in $1800/ week or thereabouts?
    A. Can’t say that would be an invasion of their privacy.

  39. The issue here is a recipient of $715 p/w of public money claiming to be hard done by.

    Enough. It’s got to stop.

  40. Peter

    The issue here, I believe, is not the information that Bennett is releasing, but the act of releasing private details and Bennett’s reasons for doing so. The details of the two women’s finances may be worthy of further study, as is your call, but that is a different issue to the one I’m decrying.

    I say, ‘Go Paula’ also, but the nuance is different from yours.

  41. She shouldn’t have gone to the newspapers with half a misleading story.

    And the rumours are interesting – hope her case is investigated.
    About time the lid was blown off the welfare lifestyle industry.

    Go Paula!

    Why are the left so scared of the truth? Their no-fault welfare has led to lifestylers. Oh what a surprise!

    How many more? Flush ’em ALL out.

  42. Isn’t it scandalous when the public have their private business

    e-x-p-o-s-e-d

    by a vindictive politician!

  43. Hooray for politicians revealing personal details to the public, without restraint!
    This is grand! And a special big hooray for a person who once enjoyed the benefit of … a benefit, attacking others who are in the same position that she once was. That’s integrity for you and that’s what we are seeing from Paula Bennett.
    Is there a Paula Bennett fan club? Yes! The ‘DPB Bashers’ never disbanded! They just waited and waited for an opportunity to spill some bile and here it is!

    Hoorah!

  44. >>Is there a Paula Bennett fan club?

    Yes.

    About time the truth was told about the DPB. There is no incentive to get off it if someone is getting paid that much. Entry level government positions – with degrees – earn less. Every worker in NZ should be furious.

    Time for welfare to be overhauled. It has clearly got ridiculous.

  45. True palmer5 many working people are getting less than beneficiaries.

    Notice the left spinning it as an invasion of privacy issue. Information is bad for our democracy!! Sue Bradford of the Beneficiaries Party also came out with a terse statement. I think Paula Bennet has good political instincts (as when she broke up a fight at a mall).

    “I want to say THANKS to Paula Bennett.” 🙂
    I second that!!!

    Is there a Paula Bennett fan club?

  46. I want to say THANKS to Paula Bennett. I am a single parent of three children who works, I am not on a benefit, I get way less money than those woman who are complaining about not getting the Training Incentive Allowance. I have a student loan of 8 and a half thousand dollars for my diploma study, there is no TIA, no travel money (as they can get through their training incentive allowance) and no other help like for books and other costs as they can get through their training incentive allowance, I still have to work and study and it is HARD but what is even harder is that someone in exactly the same position as they are is paying for them to study aand gain qualifications to go out into the workforce when people like me who will maybe work next to them one day will spend years paying off my own student loan and they are debt free, theirs is paid for by me and my children who go without.

    Paula Bennett should be holding up people like me and saying WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO FUND THEIR STUDY WHEN I AM IN EXACTLY THE SAME POSTIION???

  47. you cannot run out social policies based on money alone, everyone in our beautiful country has a obligation to the vulnerable and under privlaged the people born with a sliver spoon in there mouth are too judgmental, it is there policies that have made our society, the poor pay tax gst, the reason we have poor is so the rich can get richer, greed it is a sin of our world it has no cultural or social boundaries, i myself am not religious but when politicians and other policy planers are held accountable for there actions then things will come right cant see that happen in my life time, as for paula Bennett all u intelligent people no shes a puppet to the business round table what about the white collar crime it cost us billions and the powers that be want to ad to this greed buy privateisation go figure cant you remember the winebox inquiry, foreign company’s will buy our assets exploit all the resources from them, charge the NZ residents more for there service or product and leave when they have bleed the assets dry.

  48. Many of the more highly trained and professional workers are in fact moving into other positions, or even moving overseas.

    A lot of companies are getting rid of existing employees in order to take on cheaper workers from other countries.

    So I guess that makes opportunities for less skilled and less educated workers. Good for the poor I guess.

    Sad for those who have spent years training though.

  49. It’s really great post.
    In a way its a sad one.
    I guess we should implement any steps which break the cycle of poor educational. Mayby we should push harder so all the proffesional experts will move toward politics?

  50. Interesting.

    Maybe this indicates we would have a more peaceful society today if we encouraged men to “not care” about whose baby it actually is, and just contribute to the collective fund (ie DPB) and go on their merry way.

    Possibly the modern woman would be more comfortable outside the claustrophobic pressures of paternity identification.

  51. Just for info, the bits from Diamond’s book above come mostly from a chapter where he is discussing two rival theories of the evolution of human female receptiveness to sex outside estrus and concealed ovulation. One is called “daddy-at-home” and the other is “many-fathers”. He discusses a detailed study done which includes an analysis of how often and in what order various mating systems and levels of awareness of ovulation occurred in primate evolution. If you want the detail you’ll have to get the book, but I thought this summary paragraph would be of interest:

    “What it boils down to is that concealed ovulation has repeatedly changed, and actually reversed, its function during primate evolutionary history. It arose at a time when our ancestors were still promiscuous or living in harems. At such times, concealed ovulation let the ancestral ape-woman distribute her sexual favors to many males, none of which could swear he was the father but each of which knew he might be. As a result, none of those potentially murderous males wanted to harm the ape-woman’s baby, and some may actually have protected or helped feed it. Once the ape-woman had evolved concealed ovulation for that purpose, she then used it to pick a good caveman, to entice or force him to stay at home with her, and to get him to provide lots of protection or help for her baby – secure in the knowledge that it was his baby too.”

    — From Why is Sex Fun?

    The usual disclaimers apply about the language of intent and purpose in evolution being only figures of speech not meant to be taken literally.

    Now reading the next chapter which asks What Are Men Good For?

  52. I would be fascinated to know how different relationships would be in NZ if the DPB had never been available.

    Coupled with the rise of DNA analysis technology removing male doubt about paternity, women would have quite different options without the collective support DPB offers.

    I think we exist in times of social evolution. Technology and government policy can potentially have strong effects.

  53. Yes certainly there are always several different evolutionary strategies in competition. But it does seem that monogamy largely won out at that earlier point in time. Of course, our existence is so different now that there’s no reason to believe things will stay exactly the same, assuming we don’t kill ourselves off first.

  54. Valis,
    Fair enough. I cant vouch for the situation when we were more primitive but from my study of anthropology I would suggest that many ‘primitive’ cultures take care of each other communally rather than simply looking after their partner. The female finds many benefits in promiscuity so long as she does not bring doubt to the mind of the partner. She gets resoures from the partner and the father and most importantly she gets greater genetic variation in her offspring.
    The interesting thing is that the evidence suggests monogamy has been a defining characteristic of humans since we moved to the savanah. Intersting considering the bonobo, our closest genetic relative, have a very liberal sexuality.

  55. It’s amazing how often women hide what they know or suspect.

    OK, but note that when these surveys started being done, the expectation was that many more children would be found to have been fathered by other than the woman’s partner. 70-95% was considered surprisingly high.

  56. # kahikatea Says:
    Deriving such a moral purpose from the fact that we descended from apes is no less religious than deriving moral purpose from any other basis.

    Hmmm. Thats deep. I do kind of agree.

    We shouldn’t use such a naturalistic perception of history to deprive us of higher human thinking, but I still offer it as a counter to the prevailing idea that human life is so valuable that we should steal from the rich to give to the poor, just to keep the population up.

    I don’t think we should always perceive the wealthy as a bottomless pit, and in the current climate we need to cut back and give them breathing space.

  57. Valis Says:
    I just happen to be reading Jared Diamond’s book on the evolution of human sexuality, Why Is Sex Fun? In it he claims that studies in several western countries show that the partner of a woman is the father between 70-95% of the time

    I have long considered women to be the “keeper of the secrets”. Fortunately modern technology gives a bloke an even chance of determining if he’s genuinely the father or not. It’s amazing how often women hide what they know or suspect.

    I’m enjoying Robert Winston’s “The Human Mind” at present, and he quotes studies suggesting that a woman at oestrus flirts with good looking and strongly built men, but at other times of her cycle prefers to hang around with males who has less obvious testosterone markers.

    In other words women have an inate inclination to obtain good breeding genes to start off their pregnancy, but to also want to attract a more stable and attached male for long term security.

  58. # fin Says: I think population is the most important green issue. More people = more emissions, more roads, more food required so more intensive farming.

    True. It’s more important than any other issue and we should be careful not to regard every birth as a valuable birth. We need to slow down and budget the population better.

  59. Perhaps, but I have to wonder if that was a significant factor when this all evolved, i.e. when we were living a sustenance hunter/gatherer existence. In such times, women with children and no permanent partner would be seriously exposed to harm, so the greatest need would seem to be keeping the man around. Additionally, if this is achieved, she does not need other men to create more offspring, as there is already a steady supply of seamen. Another requirement for male support of offspring that Diamond talks about is male confidence of parentage. Too much promiscuity by females would create doubts in both the permanent partner and other males, and be counterproductive if the goal is to thereby obtain more resources.

  60. Valis,
    I havint read that book, but the number difference can likely be attributed to an increased number of studies in the time period between the publication of what I read and the publication of the book. 70-95% is still quite high.
    Conceiled ovulation is an interesting thing, at the same time males as a whole loose the ability to sense it, yet some still retain the ability and can still ‘smell’ the hormone differences if sufficently familar with the female, thus making it almost redundant. The female orgasim does increase substantially the amount of sperm retained. There are many tools used by the female to combat the promiscuity, in a evolutionary sense, but one must keep in mind that the males would not practice such beheviour, from a evolutionary viewpoint, if always denied the reward. lol. Females can make significant benefits from being promiscuous, especially where there is uncertainty as to the father and resources come in from both the ignorant partner and the non-partner possible father.

  61. I just happen to be reading Jared Diamond’s book on the evolution of human sexuality, Why Is Sex Fun? In it he claims that studies in several western countries show that the partner of a woman is the father between 70-95% of the time. I haven’t finished the book, but the theory he is covering is that human female receptiveness to sex outside estrus goes along with concealed ovulation, and that these things together form the female evolutionary strategy to combat male promiscuity. I expect he will eventually add female orgasm as another evolutionary reinforcing attribute.

    He also considers human females as not promiscuous as compared with other mammals, as they are very largely monogamous within an estrus cycle, which is not true for other species considered promiscuous, though that is a pretty scientific definition of promiscuity of course.

    Very interesting book.

  62. Fin,
    While it is true that monogamy was likely one of the major evolutionary factors in early humans, it is also true that both males and females of the species are better suited for cheating than monogamy. The male ejaculates more with a non-partner and a female retains more of the sperm in the same instance. I remmember reading that a study found about half of the, representitive, sample of children considered legitimate were, in-fact, not.
    The snip is more-or-less perminant, though I know that some ways can be reversed and the tubes can start to regrow 15 years afterwards, I would prefer a less perminant option. The best, in my opinion, would be to render all humans infertile and have them require a pill to be fertile; alas not plausable. The other option is target the trouble groups by saying; you get the injection or a inter-utirine device (the pill is far too easy to forget to take or choose not to) then for the period of its effectiveness you will receive some extra in your benefit. For males there are no effective substitutes, the chinese keep trying but about half end up perminantly infertile, but we could offer a greater benefit if they get the snip. This of course only availible to those getting the dole, dpb, etc.

  63. # greengeek Says:
    July 23rd, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    > Joe, thats religious claptrap. We are mammals, and we probably descended from the apes. Simple as that.

    To believe in any sort of moral purpose for humans in a form of religious thinking. Deriving such a moral purpose from the fact that we descended from apes is no less religious than deriving moral purpose from any other basis.

  64. Greengeek said “Joe, thats religious claptrap. We are mammals, and we probably descended from the apes. Simple as that.”

    You mean as simplistic as that. It is not religious to say that humans have language that is some orders of magnitude better developed than any other species, or that there has been human-specific extensive evolution of the human brain in the areas of cognition since the human-ape split. 20 years ago – when the “1% genetic difference between humans and chimps” concept was fashionable it was understandable that some people tried to explain human behaviour in light of ape evolution. Since then those ideas have been blown out of the water by genomics. We are mammals and share a common ancestor with extant apes. But we are unique.

  65. Sapient, I agree that a combined approach is best. Your ‘promiscuous male’ example has some truth but we are talking about people not dogs or cats, therefore a greater degree of monogamy exist.
    Also Dr Steve charges $300 for a snip. I would imagine tubal ligation is much more.

    jh, I think population is the most important green issue. More people = more emissions, more roads, more food required so more intensive farming.

  66. And now with the perverse incentive to have children (by single parents without the means to support them) in place, lets get “green” again and protest loudly about climate change, roads, etc etc.

  67. Sapient Says:
    July 23rd, 2009 at 5:54 pm
    * gods should be dogs

    Indeed Anubis, but Seth, now there’s a discordant dog indeed!

  68. Nature doesn’t have intention, which doesn’t mean greengeek is wrong, but only using a figure of speech. But you know this and are just being cheeky.

  69. If one can argue that nature has intention one could argue that by endowing humans with the ability to externalise features nature has also intended that we utilise indirrect feeding devices such as bottles and formula.

  70. Greengeek,
    Yes, breastmilk has massive benefits for the immune system. This is particuarly strong in the first few days, after which there is vastly deminishing returns. Breast-pumps can be used if needed. Even formula could be used. The fact is that there are other options that can deliver the same or better results.

  71. Sapient says: …past gestation and the first couple of weeks the man can just as well provide for the baby as a mother could.

    sapient…there’s a good reason why women have boobies: nature intended the babies to be properly nurtured and to have access to a good foundation for their immune system. It takes a lot more than two weeks to do it properly.

    For many years breastfeeding was undervalued and it’s good to see it’s on the comeback.

    All aspects of motherhood should be similarly highly valued. Our society would benefit greatly from a return to the old values.

    Joe Buchanan Says:
    Naturalistic bullshit. If a women, or any other human, has a natural primary role it is too think.

    Joe, thats religious claptrap. We are mammals, and we probably descended from the apes. Simple as that.

  72. Fin,
    Indeed to snip the promiscuous male could have benefits. I would favour an approach which target both. My point was that, assuming non-snipped females, a male can cause many pregnancies in a 9 month period while a female can be pregnant only once. So while a single uncut female has the potential to produce one pregnancy a single uncut male has the potential to produce hundreds and is such more dangerous. To make reference to gods; it is more wise and effective to spade the b*tch than trust everyone else to spade the their dogs, both approaches being inferior to having spaded both.

    Greenfly,
    The state should step in for the good of the children but it should not be an expectation, the parent should not budget on the state providing assistance to support both the child and themselves; that is simply irresponsible.
    My point is that everything has a risk. If you buy a lotto ticket with your last bit of money and you do not win then you can hardly blame lotto for your starvation. To buy a lotto ticket when you have plenty more money on which you can survive is much less irresponsible as the cost of benefit forgone is much smaller.
    If you deliberately put your child’s well-being in jeopardy then THAT is irresponsible. THAT is what we are talking about here when people fail to take account of the consequences of their actions. The state should step in and provide assistance but that doesn’t change the fact that the parent is being irresponsible.

    Joe,
    Uhh? I was arguing that it may be true we are biologically better suited for different roles but that biology is NOT grounds enough to say that women should always stay home and men should always be breadwinners; our society makes it possible to be other than that. The actual prevalence is irrelivant.

    As to ideology; the statements of irresponsibility and the statement that biology is insufficent to argue the ‘should’ are ideologically free, they are both argued entirly from the definitions and evidence. You could argue against my ontology and epistemology, but it is ideology free. It is a statement of fact. My statement that the state should privide support for the children is, however, ideological in nature.

  73. Sapient – so it’s all about biology when it suits your ideology and all about choice and responsibility when it suits your ideology. Your approach to genetics is from somewhere back in the 1950s.

    As for the “Most men can not cope with having small children completely dependent on them, just not wired up for it” all-is-hardwired theory, when was the last time you saw media presenting positive images of caring males? I reckon the cultural conditioning works out at about about 90% risk taking, irresponsible, individualist male heroes versus 10% caring and responsible malles, probably the disparity is >95% the former.

  74. sapient – there’s a risk to children you might have, that one of their parents might die, and so provision should be made in case it happens – if not, you are irresponsible? Good Lord! Nothing left to chance in your world! No point in trying anything that is not covered by insurance of some kind?
    But all options short of the best option are irresponsible and imply a lesser degree of caring for the well-being of the child.
    Your making a big call, that ‘best option’ call of yours. It could well be that your version might be very different from that of others.

  75. Sapient, I was waiting for you to say that. So one snip (if it’s the promiscuous male your refer) could be very effective.
    You infer that men could lye about having the snip. True but not really a reason to be against the idea..? Surely a woman could lye about being tied and either could stick a pin through the condom..
    If the ‘kindest cut’ was incetivised it could really have benefit where it’s needed most.

  76. Greenfly,
    It is still an acknowledged risk. Everyone should know that it is possible they will die, and everyone should know it is possible their partner will die. If they are unable to provide for the child by themselves or if a fund is not established which could provide for the child in the event of the death of one or both parents, unless a family redundancy exists, this is irresponsible behaviour. If they acknowledge the risk and fail to account of it then they are imposing that risk upon their child.
    The best option would be that they insure these things are taken account of, but it is not the only option, true. But all options short of the best option are irresponsible and imply a lesser degree of caring for the well-being of the child.

    Kahikatea,
    That was the point I was attempting to make. It is true that the male is not designed entirely for himself but that the male is designed for his own survival and so that he may procreate while the females survival ability is severely curtailed for the purposes of that procreation.

    Shunda,
    The pill would work better if it was expensive,enabled fertilization, and the default was infertility; if only.
    Most men may not be able to and some women may not be able to cope with working but the point remains that the option is there and sex does not define domain.

    Fin,
    I would love to have free snips, problem is that one male can be terribly promiscuous and can lye about having the snip. Its better a female gets the snip but then there is major hormone implications.
    I am not proposing such an assessment, mearly stating that if you fail to cover the bases you are being an irresponsible parent.

  77. No kids without silver spoons?
    If I loose my job, I may as well be putting my kids in the dryer?
    Are you proposing a financial assessment be carried out on prospective parents before they are issued with a procreation liscence?
    The purpose of life, besides 42, is to procreate. I’m not saying we should all do it, or it’s a good idea at the moment but we’re all basically programmed to either spread our seed or nuture.
    You are concerned about people who don’t have enough money having kids. What about free snips?

  78. “Society has advanced sufficently that a female can just as well bring home the bacon, or tofu, as any man and past gestation and the first couple of weeks the man can just as well provide for the baby as a mother could.”

    Only in theory Sapient.
    Most men can not cope with having small children completely dependent on them, just not wired up for it.

  79. Sapient Says:
    July 23rd, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    > Biologically the man is designed entirly for himself while the female is designed not with herself in mind but with the creation and raising of young.

    In the evolutionary sense in which a woman is designed to create and raise young, a man is designed to get women pregnant, and help them to raise his offspring so that they will pass on his genes. It’s the same evolutionary destiny.

    Of course, we humans are intelligent enough, and have enough free will, that we can set ourselves other aims and don’t have to only be slaves to biology.

  80. You seem to be one step away from some quite nasty eugenics there Sapient.
    Perhaps the stupidest invention of the 20th century was the contraceptive pill, it ensures that the smartest females of our species do not breed!!!.

  81. sapient – some mothers have children with no father to aid in the child raising, because he’s dead. You could hardly call her stupid or a gambler, any more than anyone else.
    I’d use this example of yours,
    That is a truth, it does not necasarily follow, however, that a female should seek only that or that the raising of children should be her only role
    to argue that while pain is the best method of behaviour modification, it does not necessarily follow that its the method that should be primarily employed. As with your woman’s role example, best isn’t only.
    Cheers

  82. Fin,
    If someone has a kid without being guarantied to be able to support that kid through their own effort then they doom that child to a life of poverty and poor social statistics. This is cruelty and by definition implies a lack of caring. It is just almost as bad as putting the kid in a dryer.

  83. Sapient said “If the parent continues to procreate without being able to support the result then the DPB should stop being extended to them and the children should be given to someone whom can provide and does care.”
    You can not imply that, just because someone has a child without the means to support the kid, they don’t care.
    What about making vasectomies freely available. Or even incentivised?

  84. Biologically the man is designed entirly for himself while the female is designed not with herself in mind but with the creation and raising of young. The many females whom experiance menstural pains, etc. will testify to this.
    That is a truth, it does not necasarily follow, however, that a female should seek only that or that the raising of children should be her only role. Society has advanced sufficently that a female can just as well bring home the bacon, or tofu, as any man and past gestation and the first couple of weeks the man can just as well provide for the baby as a mother could.
    Traditional gender roles are almost, if not fully, redundant. The child needs a caring parent, it doesint matter if it is the mother or the father.
    If you get knocked up and dont abort its your own decision, it will always be a gamble as to if the father leaves or does not, if you make the wrong decision its your own fault, your own stupidity; you took the risk. The DPB should be there for the children not the parent. If the parent continues to procreate without being able to support the result then the DPB should stop being extended to them and the children should be given to someone whom can provide and does care.
    Genetics is the prime detiriminant of criminality, the next biggist is if the parent cares. Unwanted children are almost always those whom end up as criminals. We cant change the genetics, though we can alter the motivation to pass them on, but we can change the environment in which they grow up.

  85. “A womans natural PRIMARY role is to bear children.”

    Naturalistic bullshit. If a women, or any other human, has a natural primary role it is too think. That is why we are born with a brain and its associated paraphernalia. Thinking parents will beget thinking children.

    Employers have been bludging on the unpaid work of parents for too long. Why should employers expect to get socialised, educated workers delivered to their businesses and not pay the costs of producing them?

  86. SPC Says:
    What greengeek seems to be suggesting is that women who marry and have children without developing a professional career, so they can support themselves and their children without a partner if necessary, are being irresponsible for being dependent on a continuing relationship with the father of their children.

    Thus we should not offer them and through them their children a hand up when they seek to develop a career via education.

    He is of course profoundly wrong.

    No. I’m right. Women have a very different life to men.

    They have a uterus and all it’s associated paraphernalia to deal with, and right from being little girls they need to understand the effect this will have on their lives.

    For too long we have put up with the claptrap that “women can do anything”. (at someone elses expense no less)

    A womans natural PRIMARY role is to bear children. There is no guarantee that they will have a “professional career” as you suggest.

    Many of them survive very well running their own businesses, or doing ordinary jobs.

    There is just no need to put mother’s professional careers ahead of other peoples health needs.

    We are in a recession, and the luxury spending must necessarily be curtailed for now.

    Anyone who encourages a young female mind to believe that when she gets to be a solo mum she will have a “right” to a taxpayer funded professional education is doing that person and society a great disservice.

    Pay the health bills first. Pay the DPB second. Educational bills for solo mums just shouldn’t be part of our financial landscape at all for now.

  87. >>the existence of the accounts would be an incentive for people to simply have sabbaticals and run them down when they built up credits

    The funds have a very specific purpose, for which you must qualify – just as you can’t draw down on Kiwisaver anytime you feel like it. B

    Being on the voucher system is no holiday – you’re micromanaged, and you cannot deny work at that point. Work for the dole, essentially, so self funding.

    >>Vouchers cost more than benefits to administer.

    Not necessarily. It’s done electronically. Social Welfare staff would be reduced significantly.

  88. I would have thought us to be beyond simple benefit bashing responses of the BR type. Apparently not.

    The problem is not the provision of benefits – their low rate (the lowest in the OECD) and the higher minimum wage and WFF ensure incentive.

    The problem is the poor educational achievement of too many leaving school and the continuing legacy of the end of full employment back in the 1980’s (up till then anyone leaving school without SC could still find work). Improvement here is the answer and is part of improving productivity (along with increased capital investment per worker).

    Beneficiary bashing is a political noise/distraction from the real issue and the agenda (BR) of some to suppress wages and turn the frustrated worker against the beneficiary. It does nothing to improve the education and training required to upskill the workforce.

    This includes a hand up for those on benefits (educational opportunity – including basic literacy/numeracy for some, work focused training and access to tertiary study), apprenticeships, affordable access to adult education and of course such polices as all those under 18 being in school and or work based training/experience, polytech, apprenticeships or paid jobs.

  89. BP, the existence of the accounts would be an incentive for people to simply have sabbaticals and run them down when they built up credits. It would like being able to run down stored sick leave and take it as accumulated extra annual leave. It would cost more, not less.

    Vouchers cost more than benefits to administer. Where adults are without children they would be pointless. Where there were children and parents were responsible they would also be pointless and costly to administer.

    In cases where they are required – one would presume issues such as drug use, alcoholism and gambling or simple child neglect. But these problems exist in all sectors of society (families where there is a working parent) and where child risk results intervention can occur – monitoring of WINZ benefit spending is as effective as vouchers.

  90. Some people seem to forget that most children supported on the DPB were born while their parents lived together and provided for their family without benefit support.

    Many of the women married men educated enough or with skilled worker jobs to provide for children when they bore them – the traditional family arrangment. The wives not having developed a professional career because they were not focused on that path.

    Of course other women who developed a career earlier would more easily continue it and simply pay for child care or resume it when they and their partner separated. Thus they do not usually feature in DPB stats.

    For separated/divorced women on the DPB without professional career development it is not an easy matter to simply resume employment when there are children to provide for after a parental separation. For those with children still young one option is to further her education (possibly part-time and rely on a hand up to do so). The same applies to younger single mothers without partners.

    What greengeek seems to be suggesting is that women who marry and have children without developing a professional career, so they can support themselves and their children without a partner if necessary, are being irresponsible for being dependent on a continuing relationship with the father of their children.

    Thus we should not offer them and through them their children a hand up when they seek to develop a career via education.

    He is of course profoundly wrong.

    The same argument would apply to anyone with children needing help with housing … John Key came from a state house and his role model of a Minister received the same hand up this government is now denying to others.

  91. ” Anything that makes life easier for shortsighted and unthinking wives and mothers ”

    Spectacles? Eyeglasses? Pince nez? Contact lenses?

  92. The whole idea of funding women on DPB to “get an education” completely devalues the role of motherhood.

    Why fund the mother (who already has a job looking after the kids…) but not fund the education of the father (who probably wants “out” from his work too…)?

    It is definitely time for a paradigm shift in womens attitudes to childbearing.

    Its time to give greater recognition to the women who understand from an early age that there is a right time for education, a right time for childbearing, and a right time for a career.

    We should recognise and honour such women, because in the long run they make much better mothers, and produce a much better society as a result.

    Anything that makes life easier for shortsighted and unthinking wives and mothers makes life harder for the rest of us and devalues the efforts of inherently talented women.

  93. >>Would any teenage mother receive any support to raise up a child in your system? You would simply have them abort.

    Their account has been building up since birth. Depends how frugal they are. Once the account runs out, they either get family support, or they move to the voucher system. This covers basis – food, rent etc. It’s a safety net.

    >>As for women with partners who wish to leave or whom are left by their partners – would they face a life of poverty (do they earn anything in their accounts for being wives and mothers of a working partner)?

    Their account receives government contributions, year in, year out, regardless. The onus is on them to have contributed to it also. It’s a portable savings plan, not unlike KiwiSaver. You can’t dive into it for any purpose, you can only access the money for welfare/health requirements.

    >>Given the risk of a relationship failing, all you would do is increase the risk of the parent left with the children having a life of poverty (it’s not easy now).

    The partner who looks after the child also gets access to the other partners account. She can draw down a specified amount that covers his part of the child costs. Doesn’t matter if he skips the country, his account stays here.

    >>It reminds me of the ultimate in mammon where service to to the economic rationalisation

    We pay regardless. What happens now is that the money is taken by government, and we get almost no say in its use. I eliminate government churn and hand power back to individuals and communities.

    >>I also note an incongruity – you staunchly defend parental rights to assert authority in their own homes/over their own children, but what you ultimately propose is to micro manage the lives of beneficiary parents

    No, that’s ONLY of the people who fall through the cracks.

    If you have a baby in your 20s, and you’ve worked for a few years since leaving school, then you’ll never see the inside of a welfare office. Between you and the father, there will be sufficient funds.

    The micro-management comes in when people have exhausted their resources. They don’t have to take the vouchers, of course. If their family wants to dip into their funds to support this person, then fine.

  94. SPC,
    The loan would work in the same manner as the student loan, this is appropriate; its their choice to have the child, if they are too stupid to recognise the risks then its their own fault. I only support it at all for the good of the child.
    The schemme I propose would have the constant amount sent to the supportive parent reguardless of if the non-supportive parents contribution is actually collected. Tihs puts the burden of collection on the government and removes the potential risk from the mother. The amount that goes to loan would of course be detirmined by how much the non-supportive parent is liable for not how much they actually pay.
    I am not sure if the government takes the money itself at the moment, my father never paid child support for my younger brother and sister and my mother never received the child support money; from my father or from the state.

  95. Sapient

    There is the well known problem of collecting child support – one reason is that the money does not go to the child but to the government.

    I would prefer that the present benefit continue and the partners child support was in addition to it – more parents would pay it if the it was going to their children so they were not in poverty (perhaps a 50/50 split between the money reducing the governments costs and going to the children?).

    Is it appropriate that students only repay their loan when their income is above a certain level and a women on the DPB and with little prospect of a high income also has a debt to repay without such a limitation on any obligation to ever repay it if they don’t ever get a high enough income job?

  96. Most women on the DPB became while living with a partner …

    Many women get pregnant while not on contraception (ignoring the folly of relying on the condom alone) because they did not have a regular partner and did not plan to be having sex …

  97. “Most women on the DPB are people who became parents while with a partner.”

    I would have thought they all got pregnant with a partner?

    “Others are women who got pregnant and chose not to abort the child – how many would have aborted their child if there was no DPB … I don’t know – do you? ”

    How many would have used contraception but for the DPB?

  98. How about this;
    The DPB is availible to the single parent at a constant, though means tested, rate.
    Where the other parent is named a, means tested, portion of that parents income is subtracted from the income of that parent and paid toward the DPB. The difference between the DPB entitlement and the portion supplied through the income of the non-supporting parent is charged in half to a loan to the supporting parent and in half to a loan to the non-supporting parent.
    Where the non-supportive parent is not named the supportive parent will incur the full cost of the DPB through loan.
    The portion that would go toward the loan is paid by the government for the first year and this amnesty is availible for only the first two children.
    Fertility treatments are forbidden where the recipient can not demonstrate security of income and sufficent assets to survive any fluctuations or ceasations in income.
    Make abortions more readily availible.

  99. jh

    Most women on the DPB are people who became parents while with a partner.

    Others are women who got pregnant and chose not to abort the child – how many would have aborted their child if there was no DPB … I don’t know – do you?

    As I posted

    The government will soon be paying compensation for treatment of children taken into state care in recent decades.

    “???”

    Finlayson said as much.

  100. BP

    Would any teenage mother receive any support to raise up a child in your system? You would simply have them abort.

    The BR suggests their support should be a debt they have to pay back – again they will choose to abort.

    Same results either way.

    As for women with partners who wish to leave or whom are left by their partners – would they face a life of poverty (do they earn anything in their accounts for being wives and mothers of a working partner)?

    Given the risk of a relationship failing, all you would do is increase the risk of the parent left with the children having a life of poverty (it’s not easy now). So women would be more inclined to work for many years to build up their account so they could survive if her relationship failed. This is not really something that a real pro family society would want to happen.

    It reminds me of the ultimate in mammon where service to to the economic rationalisation (service to shareholder value capitalism) is humanity’s ultimate slavery. In the war for productivity, methods similar to methods used in “life and death” struggles get proposed – such as used by the infamous ruler in Eastern Europe who sought to rid his society of the weak so it would be strong enough to prevail in war.

    I also note an incongruity – you staunchly defend parental rights to assert authority in their own homes/over their own children, but what you ultimately propose is to micro manage the lives of beneficiary parents (while vehemently wanting to keep social services out of the homes of parents who smack their children). I am guessing here, but you want Christian providers to do the micro-managing – a form of poor laws?

  101. SPC
    There is no saving to be made in taking benefits off parents – because if the child cannot be supported by their parent they will still need to be housed, clothed and fed (carer benefits/WFF etc).
    …..
    that’s the thinking people have learned to expect and make their decisions accordingly. They know from friends and family what will happen if they fall pregnant. In the end people who deserve welfare suffer.

    “The government will soon be paying compensation for treatment of children taken into state care in recent decades.”

    ???

  102. # jarbury Says:
    July 21st, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Crikey all the DPB haters come out of the woodwork….
    …………..
    You don’t see any problems?

  103. Nah BluePeter, I think you need to go back to the drawing board. Your ‘plan’ isn’t inspiring anyone at all. It lacks heart. Try it over on Rodney Hides blog.

  104. >>There is no saving to be made in taking benefits off parents

    That’s correct. But I’m not suggesting doing that….

    >>The ultimate nanny state is one determining people to be unfit parents

    My method gives parents control over this aspect, as opposed to the state deciding what is best for them.

    The only people who go onto vouchers (a small minority of the welfare recipients and/or long termers/abusers) are people who have shown no capability to manage themselves. Isn’t the moral thing to do for these people to manage them through it?

  105. BP

    The ultimate nanny state is one determining people to be unfit parents by their employment (or IB/SB health) status.

  106. BP

    There is no saving to be made in taking benefits off parents – because if the child cannot be supported by their parent they will still need to be housed, clothed and fed (carer benefits/WFF etc).

    The government will soon be paying compensation for treatment of children taken into state care in recent decades.

  107. Yes, trying to fix a failed mess is “hating”.

    We agree on the same ends. Children must be looked after. We disagree with the method. I disagree with the current method, because it fails to provide for children and punishes the responsible, whilst rewarding the irresponsible.

    Don’t we have a moral obligation to always find better ways?

  108. Greenfly, why don’t you address the argument, rather than try and score points?

    >>I don’t know when I’ve heard a more Nanny-Statist statement than that!

    Most people won’t fall that far, but when they do, there is a state safety net. It’s not moral to leave those who have demonstrated they cannot cope to fend for themselves. It is equally immoral to just hand them cash when they have demonstrated they cannot spend it wisely or plan.

    Everyone else has more freedom (freedom to decide the services they need and when), so overall, freedom increases.

  109. # greenfly Says:
    Isn’t sex education for those on the DPB a little late? Wouldn’t it be better for them to have that learning before they begin bearing children?

    Trust Google, do you?

    You’re right…sex education should be COMPULSORY for those on DPB. And yes, I’m happy to pay for that.

    Mind you, if the sex education they got at school didn’t work, whats to say it will do any good in time to prevent a second “accident”?

    (Google’s not so bad…it actually provides a good window on what the rest of the world is like outside one’s own narrow viewpoint)

  110. I can just imagine the Greens have 10,000 energy efficient homes built such as PassivvHaus (the sort we’d all love) and in role the beneficiaries……..!

  111. Peter said:

    They’re on vouchers and their life is micromanaged.

    I don’t know when I’ve heard a more Nanny-Statist statement than that!

    Are you serious???

    Teenagers will think twice about that lack of freedom.

    Lack of freedom! Whoooooooaaaaa baby!

  112. greengeek said:

    I had a feeling someone would suggest that womens education should always come before mens health.

    They did. It was you.

    Isn’t sex education for those on the DPB a little late? Wouldn’t it be better for them to have that learning before they begin bearing children?

    Trust Google, do you?

  113. Oh, and it’s “one kid only” when it gets to that point. Any more, and the choice is adoption (family can also take over) or abortion. Don’t like those choices?

    Then best get working once mistake #1 starts going to school and you’ll have more choices.

    There is no utopia. What we’re doing now is breeding child abuse and lifestylers.

  114. >>The second question of course is what to do about the kid who has kids without having a pecuniary motivation.. and in particular, what to do about the kids themselves in that situation.

    They’re on vouchers and their life is micromanaged. Not for the good of the parent, they have made their decision. Teenagers will think twice about that lack of freedom.

  115. >>they are in a position to pay back the taxpayer?

    As if. No doubt they see that generosity as a right.

  116. >>I am not sure that including healthcare in the overall scheme is sensible. Health isn’t causing this problem, and the self-insurance the society arranges for us all seems to be reasonably robust.

    But there is a lot of un-necessary waste, driving up cost. Ask any GP. Most of the people they see aren’t sick. If people faced the costs of their care, they would think twice about wasting doctors time. Yet, if they need help, they can afford it.

    Our system penalises people who do the right things, and rewards those who make bad choices. Those who live a healthy lifestyle will see their account growing, which they can spend on any welfare service they like, or pass it onto their kids.

    Again, those with long term health issues are covered under compulsory insurance (very cheap, because it is paid since birth).

    The control rests with the individual, not with politicians, who use these issues as political footballs. They’re despicable.

  117. I suppose that since paula bennet and metira are MPs on $170,000(?) p a they are in a position to pay back the taxpayer?

  118. greenfly…I had a feeling someone would suggest that womens education should always come before mens health.

    Back in my day we learnt about job skills, not prostate prevention. We also learnt about the reproductive cycle and condoms.

    I’ll meet you halfway and agree that sex education for those on DPB is worthwhile. The rest of their education can be provided by google.

  119. greengeek – do you run an ambulance company called, ‘Bottom of the Cliff”?

    Now if you had only undertaken an education programme when you were younger on ways to avoid developing a dicky prostate…

  120. Metiria…it is simple really.

    We spend far too much of our limited money on education when it should instead be going towards improving peoples health when they need hospital treatment.

    Why should a middle aged man with decaying job prospects and a dicky prostate (ie myself) have to miss out on medical treatment through lack of money when a teenage mum can waste health dollars on her own education??

    I can’t repair my own prostate or replace a hip joint but the solo mum can educate herself using the local library.

  121. BP

    I am not sure that including healthcare in the overall scheme is sensible. Health isn’t causing this problem, and the self-insurance the society arranges for us all seems to be reasonably robust.

    This doesn’t mean it cannot be included , but it leads to the question of why it should be included.

    The second question of course is what to do about the kid who has kids without having a pecuniary motivation.. and in particular, what to do about the kids themselves in that situation. Denying money to the parent for becoming a parent at that point is not without secondary consequences.

    I said it before, I don’t care that much about the adult. It is the child whose situation is critical at this point. Does society reach in and judge the mother to be unfit and remove the child? Should it? The child is in a bad situation no matter which way the decision is made.

    ANY scheme that attempts to reduce this “benefit” has to address this question. I am not stating an answer, just pointing it out as a question that is going to have to be answered.

    respectfully
    BJ

  122. >>Shot of the Week there Frog – worth a thousand words really….

    I’ll give you two: ad hominem

  123. BTW: “and is married”

    Sorry, that didn’t come out right. I didn’t mean to say she *has* to be married, more like even if she is married, she can get financial support.

  124. >>but what happens to your ability to pay for healthcare costs if the account runs out of money?

    Most people aren’t permanently sick, therefore insurance rates to cover such an eventuality, from birth, would be very cheap. Short term sickness is covered by the account.

    Remember, we’re paying now for welfare, but we’re not getting the service. A woman who has worked well into her twenties, and is married, should be able to take five years off, and receive a decent income, because she has earned it.

    What happens now?

    Some hugely irresponsible idiot, who has never worked, is popping out kid number five, thereby stealing the money from the responsible. The state backs this.

    Unfair? Very. Time we stood up for the responsible.

  125. good article metiria…

    i look forward to questiontime..

    ..i hope you are able to make her squirm..

    ..i mean..having benefited from this herself..

    how the f*ck does she sleep..?

    how could she be more of a sell-out..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  126. Income insurance at 75% of pre-tax income sounds lovely http://www.tiny.cc/ktwxh But wouldnt have a clue how their costs work.

    Health also comes out of this account. You insure out against major health events via income protection.

    So you can pay for your lifestyle while sick/disabled fine, but what happens to your ability to pay for healthcare costs if the account runs out of money?

  127. >>Just puzzled as to why you are telling us Peter.

    What’s the point preaching to the choir?

    Are you going to address my plan? What is wrong with it? Could it work?
    Is it better than what we’re doing now? What do we do about the obvious moral hazard, dependence, and child abuse levels that come with our existing system? Do more of the same? Do something else?

  128. Just puzzled as to why you are telling us Peter.

    Your Master Plan would be better presented to those who are calling the shots with the DPB and its associated largess – The National, Act, Maori, UF government. They seem to be the ones grabbing your tax money and wasting it on people who you deem undeserving. Not only that, the Nactoids seem to be pushing the numbers of recipients up at an astounding rate! Why are you pushing your plan here? Get over and talk to the ones you voted into power.

  129. “There are two issues here. First the insanity of saving money by cutting educational access to the absolute poorest families in New Zealand.

    and
    But the second level of obscenity is the extent to which Paula rides on her DPB days to give herself credibility with struggling women and their families.”

    I would say that this is part of a much wider issue: the growth in unsupported births, when does assistance become incentive and what does society do about it? The Green party response is:

    We are a rich country , we can afford it
    and
    respond with “beneficiary bashing” rhetoric.
    A “green” political party would have a more objective view of welfare and moral hazard.

  130. >>that your philosophy is selfish.

    Uh-huh. Like having a baby when you clearly cannot afford it is the height of social responsibility. And then having another. And another.

    A handout just creates more dependence, and destroys people and communities. People abuse it. It’s a failed experiment. Time to try something else.

  131. Out-of-context. It seems to me that the people who demand state largess aren’t prepared to pay for it themselves. They see it as a means to take money off other people, using state violence to do so. If people could opt out of the DPB/unemployment system (I would), I wonder how many welfare supporters would meet the funding shortfall by way of a personal surcharge?

    BTW: Any thoughts on my plan?

  132. Mind you, if you’re so fond of the DPB, Frog, you can fund it yourself.

    You are suggesting here that Frog funds the DPB. Are we to take you seriously? You quiver and quibble when Frog matches your fatuous comment with a suggestion that your philosophy is selfish. How precious.

  133. Just pointing out a fact. How can I point it out without referring to it? What has Frogs off-topic response got to do with my post?

  134. Frog often plays the man, not the ball. Telling, really…

    That’s playing the man right there, aint it Peter?

  135. I don’t believe in your religion, Frog. That’s like saying because I don’t contribute to the Exclusive Brethren, I lack responsibility.

    You can’t demonstrate cause and effect, and it’s eating you away, because you know I’m right.

  136. But you don’t believe in personal responsibility BP! You want to free ride on the planet at the expense of your children. You want your lifestyle to be subsidised by your kids.

  137. >>Earth to BP: the unemployment benefit is NOT the DPB

    It’s all the same. People who don’t work receiving money from other taxpayers.

    Here’s my plan:

    From birth, everyone receives a personal welfare account. The government pays into this account at a fixed rate that increases if contributions are matched. If you’re ever out of work, for whatever reason, you can draw down on the account at whatever rate you choose, and for as long as there are funds. If you’re never out of work, you can leave this account to your kids when you die.

    Health also comes out of this account. You insure out against major health events via income protection.

    It’s a mix of personal responsibility and shared responsibility.

    If you exhaust your account, then you get vouchers and you get micromanaged. The aim is to get you back into a position where you’re once again contributing to your account. You’ve signaled you cannot cope, so therefore need more direct help.

  138. Paula Bennett’s position reminds of the old saying “the struggle class can kiss my a*se, I’ve got a boss’s job at last……….”

  139. Mind you, if you’re so fond of the DPB, Frog, you can fund it yourself. I will look to support moves to remove dependence by way of employment insurance.

    Earth to BP: the unemployment benefit is NOT the DPB

  140. >>We’re pretty wealthy BP, and perfectly capable of looking after our own. Don’t cry poor here in NZ. You really are in denial about how lucky we are here.

    So we’ve got a decade of projected deficits, why? I’ll tell you why. We spend more than we earn.

    “New information released by the Ministry of Social Development shows that more than half of first-time teenage mothers giving birth in 2007 and 2008 went on welfare. There was a yearly average of 5,044 births to 15-19 year-olds in 2007/08. According to welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell; “Around 2,800 mothers – or 56 percent – went on the domestic purposes benefit*. Of these mothers 48 percent were Maori, 30 percent were NZ European and 10 percent were Pacific. The most common age was eighteen. ”

    Mind you, if you’re so fond of the DPB, Frog, you can fund it yourself. I will look to support moves to remove dependence by way of employment insurance.

    Competent responsible parents get more, mindless teenagers get to think really hard about their choices.

  141. Good post Metiria. When Carmel Sepuloni asked Bennett this question in parliament about a month ago it was obvious that it struck a nerve and hurt her. This is an issue that I think both Labour & the Greens need to hammer home – because it is an UTTERLY stupid policy shift.

    The TIA is critically important to help get solo parents off the DPB in the longer term – something that one would think EVERYONE would be in favour of. Heck, if you are going to do anything to the TIA then it would make sense to expand it even further.

  142. Why are we borrowing a billion dollars to place into peoples Kiwi Saver accounts?

    Should we hand back the last tax cuts if we cannot afford them?

  143. We’re pretty wealthy BP, and perfectly capable of looking after our own. Don’t cry poor here in NZ. You really are in denial about how lucky we are here.

    As for what we are trying to do to our main export earner, well, how about facing the true cost of business and not being subsidised by our children’s inheritance? Sounds pretty responsible to me.

  144. BP

    No teenager with children gets more in the hand than a worker. The rise in the minimum youth wage rate to the adult level and the rise of the adult minimum wage ensured that.

    No person on the DPB gets as much as any person with a job and with the same number of children.

    Rising numbers on the DPB (divorce is the main factor not young people – there have been lower numbers here as wage levels and jobs became more available in the past 9 years), SB and IB is occuring internationally. We did have falling numbers on the DPB as unemployment fell in recent years as more divorced women found work easily).

    The numbers on the DPB come from women divorced and unable to work intially because of child care commitments – they eventually find work but other women recently divorced take their place.

    The numbers on the IB and SB are a function of the rising age before people get retirement income (it is now 65 and not 60). It will continue to rise as/if we raise the retirement age.

  145. It’s quite simple.

    We don’t have the money.

    If we borrow, we make matters worse. If we increase taxes, we shrink the tax pool. We’re not a wealthy country. We not Norway, unless you find a lot of oil rather quickly.

    Oh, and remind us what the Greens are trying to do to our main export earner?

  146. The politics of this began when Randolph Churchill convinced the Tory party to accept a widening of the franchise to include the wider middle class (note the last third of the British did not vote until after they were conscripted to fight in WW1 decades later). He simply said they (clerks, skilled workers etc) could be class allies against general labour of the working/lower classes (without the franchise) as they aspired to the join the upper class in their privilege. The appeal here is to a unity of a would be capitalist elite with the middle class against the poor (a launch of class war).

    The goal is to take this government to the right and mount an appeal for popular support from the middle class via inciting them to join in bullying the victim of the recession. The psychology is that the middle class can feel empowered by hitting at someone else while being offered a nil wage round.

    Typically the BR (facing a government unable to hand out the tax cuts they want for some years and wanting to speed up the process) starts with a campaign against women on the DPB. The parallel with a man laid off from his job/losing hos wealth and then taking it out on a wife who then leaves because of the abuse is stark. It is after all just another form of violence against the weak.

    We have just had a report out which says but for WFF 30% of our children would be in poverty. But the In Work payment did not go to families on the DPB – so they are in poverty. Their benefit increases in line with the CPI do not fully cover the greater rising cost of their power and food costs. Now they want to perpetuate this poverty by placing them in debt, while denying them access to support (a hand up via education) – so they remain able to do low wage jobs while trying to pay back this debt (students are not required to pay back their debt unless they find high paying jobs via their education).

  147. It’s hardly surprising given the largese of the last nine years.

    It’s time we put an end to the DPB, and now is as good a chance as we’re going to get. Why should workers pay for teenagers to get pregnant, who receive more in the hand than many workers do, simply for reproducing? Utterly irresponsible.

    Lindsay Mitchell:

    “Ms Mitchell says to that end, the DPB should be abolished and the Government should only provide support for one year. She says beyond that period financial support should be provided by the child’s mother, father and extended family.

    The report also recommends looking at the introduction of contributory unemployment insurance for workers and a restriction on current universal welfare entitlements.

    It advises tighter eligibility criteria for sickness and invalid benefits and suggests panels of doctors be used to approve applications as opposed to individual practitioners.

    Mrs Mitchell believes steps will have to be taken by the Government at some stage – not because it wants to, but because it has to. She says there is a lot of public concern about welfare dependency becoming a lifestyle”

  148. It’s a tradition for National to bash those on benefits especially during a recession. They begin by attempting to marginalise those on benefits from acceptable mainstream society – dehumanise them – it’s effectively inciting class warfare (the BR has just launched open season on beneficiaries assisted by the Treasury secretary on the wider target of the cost of the public sector).

    They want an us and them – those with jobs and those without them – as the pressure to hold wages goes on, they want to those in jobs to turn on those without them. If those in jobs are being asked to make sacrifices (nil wage rounds) they want want those in jobs to take this out on those on
    already low incomes – ostracised and punished.

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