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Teenage dreams

Written By: - Date published: 11:59 am, May 10th, 2012 - 56 comments
Categories: babies, families - Tags:

With the debate raging about free contraception for women and their teenage daughters, inevitably the conclusion is that irresponsible teenager girls are making poor decisions. Why do they get pregnant? That’s the easy part – teens not using contraception, of course. Why teenage pregnancy is an intractable problem is a much more complex question.

Will free contraception prevent some teenage pregnancies? Undoubtedly, more than 80% of teen pregnancies are unintended.

However targeting beneficiaries might be counterproductive because what appears crucial as well as free or low-cost contraceptives, is that “adolescents know where they can go to obtain information and services, can get there easily and are assured of receiving confidential, non-judgmental care”

To address high rates of unplanned teen pregnancies, both the biological and cultural contexts must be confronted.
A few references for the following points are:

Teen Pregnancy: The Tangled Web and the Wikipedia article on teenage pregnancy
The real mistake in ‘teen pregnancy’
The Psychological Effects of Teenage Women During Pregnancy
A regular refrain from studies of the underlying causes of teenage pregnancy is family violence and family breakdown.

1. Women who have been exposed to abuse (physical and sexual), domestic violence between parents, and family strife in childhood are more likely to become pregnant as teenagers, and the risk of becoming pregnant as a teenager increases with the number of adverse childhood experiences. Teenage girls who experience domestic violence themselves are more likely to become teen parents; a UK study found that 70% of women who gave birth in their teens had experienced adolescent domestic violence.

2. Studies have also found that boys who grow up in homes with a battered mother, or who experienced physical violence directly, were significantly more likely to impregnate a girl

3. Girls whose fathers left the family early in their lives had the highest rates of early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy. Girls whose fathers left them at a later age had a lower rate of early sexual activity, and the lowest rates are found in girls whose fathers were present throughout their childhood.

4. Foster care children are more likely than their peers to become pregnant as teenagers. With double the rate of teenage pregnancy.

5. Teenage pregnancy is also attributed to a breakdown of communication between parents and child and also to inadequate parental supervision

In addition

6. Low educational, training and occupational expectations have been pinpointed as risk factors.

7. Teens exposed to the most sexual content on TV are twice as likely as teens watching less of this material to become pregnant before they reach age 20.

It’s also worth noting that it’s adults who contribute most often to the other half of the teenage mother equation.

About two-thirds of births to teenage girls in the United States are fathered by adult men age 20 or older. The Guttmacher Institute reports that over 40% of mothers aged 15–17 had sexual partners three to five years older and almost one in five had partners six or more years older. A 1990 study of births to California teens reported that the younger the mother, the greater the age gap with her male partner. In the UK 72% of jointly registered births to women under the age of 20, the father is over the age of 20, with almost 1 in 4 being over 25

Meanwhile UK studies show there is little evidence to support the common belief that teenage mothers become pregnant to get benefits, welfare, and council housing. Most knew little about housing or financial aid before they got pregnant and what they thought they knew often turned out to be wrong.

The outcomes of teenage pregnancy can vary. Teenage girls who are pregnant or who are mothers are more likely to commit suicide than girls who aren’t pregnant or mothers. The belief that lives are blighted is pervasive. When I was a pregnant teenager the ‘that’s it her life is ruined’ refrain was sung over and over again by judgemental relatives and friends disappeared, none of them recognising issues 1 to 6 above might have been linked to early mothering. My life wasn’t ruined, like Paula Bennett I achieved educationally and this is not unusual. Just as some women from deprived backgrounds do well, women from deprived backgrounds who were also teenage mothers do just as well, or poorly, as others. It isn’t babies that blight young lives “Comparing teenage mothers with other girls with similarly deprived social-economic profiles, bad school experiences and low educational aspirations, the difference in their respective life chances was negligible”.

A study in 2001 found that women who gave birth during their teens completed secondary-level schooling 10–12% as often as those who didn’t, and pursued post-secondary education 14–29% as often as women who waited until age 30 to have children. Teenage parents with family and community support, good social services and good childcare are more likely to continue their education and have improved job prospects. (Credit where credit is due for Paula Bennett belatedly recognising the importance of childcare subsidies and educational assistance).

Teenage mothers may not be the burden on society that they are commonly portrayed as, teenage motherhood may actually make economic sense for young women with less money, some research suggests. For instance, long-term studies by Duke economist V. Joseph Hotz and colleagues, published in 2005, found that by age 35, former teen mothers had earned more in income, paid more in taxes, were substantially less likely to live in poverty and collected less in public assistance than similarly poor women who waited until their 20s to have babies.

My belief, and I’m not alone in this, is that babies unexpectedly give some young women a purpose in life; an an understanding of unconditional love and someone to strive for, in fact turning around lives blighted by the failure of adults – family and authority – to provide that. Deal with relative deprivation and family dysfunction and maybe, just maybe, the teenage parenting statistics for boys and girls might improve.

56 comments on “Teenage dreams”

  1. just saying 1

    Thankyou for this informative and compassionate post.

  2. Bunji 2

    Deal with relative deprivation

    Teen pregnancy does have a huge correlation with inequality, as shown by The Spirit Level for the problems inequality causes.
    As you say, it is related to more general societal problems – not to be fixed in isolation with a few pills…

    But a fantastic post (any attribution for me to aim my praise at?)

  3. Kotahi Tane Huna 3

    Great article, further emphasising just how far removed from reality this government’s policies are. It’s especially telling that far from being a burden teen mums in fact contribute more than most.

  4. vto 4

    In my opinion young mothers are fantastic.

    Society’s current view down the nose at them is ignorant and out of step with natural reality and pretty much all of manwomankind’s reality and history.

    It’s just victorian. I can’t wait for the attitudes to swing heavily back to their normal resting position on this issue i.e. that young motherhood is superior.

    Why do people consider young mums to be inferior, all else being equal?

  5. Olwyn 5

    This lovely, insightful piece of writing is very timely. It serves as a reminder to those of us on the left not to buy in, on any level, to the present mythologising of the vulnerable, including young single mothers, as shiftless, dumb and generally unworthy. It is a dangerous and damaging conceptualisation, and we need to reject the very framing rather than try to present arguments that allow it tacit acceptance.

  6. KJT 6

    Great article.

    I am sure those who do not want to support other peoples children will be the first to have their hands out, to be supported by them, when they are elderly.

    Why, with all the problems Government has, is attacking young mothers a priority?

    As the number of under 20 mothers on the DPB is 2 to 3% of the total on the DPB, and the teenage pregnancy rate has been decreasing, I think there are more urgent problems. 9% under 24. Most actually had a partner at conception. It does take two! Usually older. Where is their responsibility?

    If the RWNJ’s think teenage girls “breeding for the DPB” is such a problem why don’t we use the proven fix, giving them better options.

    It is well proven that the easiest and most effective way to reduce pregnancy rates is to increase the income, education and power of young women.

    I suspect a few more dollars spent on general remedial education programs in primary school, alone, will do more to decrease teen pregnancy rates than any contraceptive program or right wing meanness.

    The sad thing is that most of the people condemning young mums, at one stage, were irresponsible teenage boys themselves.
    Sometimes I wonder if it is jealousy. “How come all these teenagers are getting it on when I was too much of a dipstick for the girls to look at me, in my teens”.

    • Carol 6.1


      If the RWNJ’s think teenage girls “breeding for the DPB” is such a problem why don’t we use the proven fix, giving them better options.
      It is well proven that the easiest and most effective way to reduce pregnancy rates is to increase the income, education and power of young women.

      Exactly!  Treat the causes not the symptoms, and above all, provide the kind of support and opportunities lacking to many from low income families.

  7. Fermionic Interference 7

    Thanks for the well written article.

    My 2 cents worth.
    Thanks to the info provided here we have the opportunity to discuss how to set a course for action that may actually assist those who find themselves in the situation of becoming a teen mother, and their families.

    Surely action that will have a positive effect on the lives of young families is more important than false politiking and dog whistles to garner support.

    • locus 7.1

      I totally agree. It’s amazing that health policies like this targeting beneficiaries are thrown up in the air without any structured approach, research, planning and risk assessment. The real issue is to identify strategies that change the societal circumstances underling the causes rather than leading with tactics like free contraception.

  8. ianmac 8

    A great article Guest Post! What a great change to have valid information to view. I do hope it gets a wider audience. I’ll try Bryce Edwards.
    Have emailed him Done

  9. Vicky32 9

    It’s also worth noting that it’s adults who contribute most often to the other half of the teenage mother equation.

    Absolutely right! I am reminded of the youngest teen mother I ever met, in 1972, when I was one myself… she was 11 years old, and we were both at Bethany. I was horrified to see her happily leaving with her baby, and the baby’s father, who was a man in his 30s! It made me wonder what her parents were like, to allow her to see and be with this man, and over the years, I have wondered what happened to her. (She named her baby for a pop song that was current at the time, I remember the baby’s name, but not hers.)
    My reason for getting pregnant at 17? “Find me somebody to love” basically! I had had the education and the (relatively) stable background – which appeared to be, but really wasn’t. To top it off, this was of course, before the DPB!

    • RedLogix 9.1

      I was horrified to see her happily leaving with her baby, and the baby’s father, who was a man in his 30s!

      That’s pretty much a recent Western cultural thing. Many other parts of the world are quite accepting, indeed encouraging of that sort of gap. (Well yes 11yrs old was way too young but that’s a different part of the story…)

      And my own grandfather was 28 yrs older than my grandmother…

      • Vicky32 9.1.1

        (Well yes 11yrs old was way too young but that’s a different part of the story…)

        It’s not so much the age gap, but the fact that she was 11. I heard that when she was in labour, she hadn’t had the faintest idea what was going to happen to her!
        My grandfather remarried a few years before he died after decades of widowed life, to a woman born the same year as his daughter, my mother. We never knew our step-grandmother, because my mother called her ‘the young trollop’, which I thought was hilarious, when I found out that the “young trollop” was in her 50s when my mother was berating her… :D

      • Descendant Of Smith 9.1.2

        The gap thing is interesting.

        In many cultures where the gap thing is evident there is a strong history of resource impoverishment.

        Island countries with limited land space and water, desert communities with again limiter water.

        There is a (strong I think) school of thought that it was a useful cultural development to keep population growth down.

        Older men are less fertile and therefore less children are produced.

      • RedLogix 9.1.3

        Interesting DoS… yes I can see that mechanism working. I guess my point is that there is nothing inherent about people mating within their own age cohort.

        And while we do have our own norms around them, frankly sexuality is one aspect of our Western culture I have little faith in.

        • Descendant Of Smith 9.1.3.1

          I’ve a long held (by myself) view that sex norms expressed by the ruling class (who often have been religious in a historical sense) are simply another form of abuse of power on the working class.

          It’s one rule for them and one rule for the workers.

          Workers are expected to be nuclear and monogamous and are sluts and whores and sleeping around when they are not.

          The ruling class on the other hand have dalliances and mistresses ( ever heard of a freezing worker having a mistress as versus the local businessman?) and sow wild oats.

          You can see those gay lads and lasses in any women’s magazine, different partner every different six months, trading in their spouses for a new younger model, and so on.

          It’s not that that doesn’t happen in the working community but one is frowned upon the other seen as a rite of passage, a measure of success.

          In those condom stats referred to the other day how many of those surveyed do you think were from Huntly vs those from Epsom. I take bets it’s more likely that survey reflects the sexual behavior of well off urbanites rather than the poor living in gang communities. Someone however tries to use it to beat up on poor impoverished sole parents.

          Language is power and is often used in a powerful way to suppress.

          I’ve always felt that when examining sexuality two sets of questions should be asked. The first is whether you do or would partake in a particular sexual activity (oral sex, wife swapping, attracted to nuns in habits or whatever you like ) and the second even if you don’t is it OK for others.

          I think such an approach would find that NZer’s are quite liberal in their views and quite generous in their acceptance of what others may get up to – even if they do not partake in that activity themselves.

          It might go some way to removing some of the stigma many people feel about their sexual behavior and help extinguish the tides of conservatism that others are trying to oppose – often from a hypocritical position.

          I truly wonder too what goes on in some of those most vocal conservative peoples heads. The outburst a couple of years ago over children changing in public at the Auckland swimming pool was a classic example. Where they see random stranger pedophiles on every corner the vast vast majority of us see two children getting changed by the side of the pool.

          Their mentality also completely ignores the evidence that people are most likely to be abused by someone they know.

          Case in point:

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/6896187/Exclusive-Brethren-member-jailed-for-rape

          • Olwyn 9.1.3.1.1

            “Workers are expected to be nuclear and monogamous and are sluts and whores and sleeping around when they are not.

            The ruling class on the other hand have dalliances and mistresses ( ever heard of a freezing worker having a mistress as versus the local businessman?) and sow wild oats.”

            The modern version of this sort of thing can be seen in media contexualisation: the drinking, drugging and rooting around of elites and so-called celebrities are presented to us as the high life. The working class/poor version of exactly the same thing is presented as the low life, with lots of hand wringing and “something must be done about it” expressions. It’s OK to be decadent, so long as it involves designer shoes, and veuve-clicquot rather than Lion Red.

  10. Huginn 10

    Fantastic post – thanks!

    ‘Teenage parents with family and community support, good social services and good childcare are more likely to continue their education and have improved job prospects.’

    and later on, when they are in their 30’s and 40’s, they’re well placed to get a clear run at building careers in the most productive years.

    • rosy 10.1

      Agree – as long as the employer gives former teen parents a fair go… negative stereotyping and all that. Actually there are plenty of employers that a really good, just a few that make things difficult in my experience.

      As for education, I reckon more of this He Huarahi Tamariki would provide better outcomes than the proposed welfare reforms.

      • Psycho Milt 10.1.1

        Do I hear “Both?”

        • rosy 10.1.1.1

          You’d hear a ‘both’ if the proposed welfare reforms included free long term contraception for all people who cannot afford it, it is and provided after a person has discussed options and had advice from a health professional. Ostracising people by targeting a contraception and providing it through social welfare is counter-productive, imo.

          Take an example of an abused and broken girl having a child young and finding that experience gives a positive emotional experience that she has not managed to get elsewhere – not an unusual situation in the group of people you’re commenting about. Reinforcing her negative emotional experiences through coercion and being single-out for special attention is not going to make one jot of difference to her likelihood of having another child.

          Providing her with education, support (an example of positive emotion outside of her child) and space to explore ideas about her future has a far greater contraceptive effect. Free access to contraception then becomes a positive step in reinforcing a different future for her and her child.

          • Psycho Milt 10.1.1.1.1

            So, yeah, both then. Not targeting taxpayer-funded stuff at the most at-risk groups is wasteful extravagance, and the fact previous govts have occasionally indulged themselves in that wasteful extravagance (eg, National Superannuation) doesn’t make it a worthwhile general principle. In the case of offering free long-term contraception there’s no coercion involved, no suggestion health professionals won’t be involved and no more singling-out than there would be with targeting education and other support, so it’s all good.

            • rosy 10.1.1.1.1.1

              In the case of offering free long-term contraception there’s no coercion involved, no suggestion health professionals won’t be involved and no more singling-out than there would be with targeting education and other support, so it’s all good.

              I’ll be waiting to see how this plays out before making definitive statements like that. With the track record of this government and the history of this policy development I remain to be convinced that it’ll work out the way you suggest.

              And I disagree that there is not more singling out than other education and support – all young people are legally required to be in education or training, yeah? Unlike all poor people having access to free long-term contraception. This school provides a more accessible and relevant education than others.

              If this debate changes at least that aspect of the policy I’ll be happier about it (the sanctions on not obeying is for another day).

              If education and support was sufficient then a targeted contraception policy would not be in the political frame at all, you do see that, don’t you?

  11. I’ll be waiting to see how this plays out before making definitive statements like that.

    Apparently you won’t, given that I was simply responding to a comment you made anticipating coercion and the lack of health-professional involvement. If it does turn out to be coercive, we have a Bill of Rights; if no health professionals are involved the media will be dipping Paula Bennett in shit faster than you can snap your fingers; etc. Really, the onus is on the people claiming it will involve coercion and WINZ staff offering contraceptive advice to substantiate those claims.

    As for no singling out via education and support – WTF? I got onto this thread to endorse your comment promoting a school specifically targeted at teenage single parents. Like I said – both. Target expensive services at the user group most at risk, because it’s extravagant to do otherwise, whether it’s education or contraception.

    • rosy 11.1

      I’m not trying to be contrary, I’m sorry if it comes across like that. We’re talking about teenagers here.
      One of the risk factors of becoming a teenage parent is being the child of a sole parent, yes. But other risks, no less important are being poor, deprived, low educational achievement, coming from an home where domestic violence is rife (and that’s a double whammy, given that’s an important reason for single parents in the first place) – and being in a relationship with an older man.

      Teenagers in these situations have trust issues, and being teenagers authority issues too. Being singled out for contraception from social welfare will not be as effective as through creating a supportive educational environment, in my opinion, from what I’ve read, and in my experience. Education for teenage parents is expensive and works better as an option in the educational process. So that’s very cool, imo.

      The money the government is talking about for increasing the availability of free contraception is cheap in terms of policy options – a million dollar according to reports – but unaffordable for poor women, or women with all those other risk factors in becoming a teen parent. Cost to government is not a reason for targeting it to one at risk group when there are other equally a risk groups out there (and other people who really, really would like to have it but can’t afford it). And I really do believe if it teens are directed, or coerced into this it will be counter-productive.

      And Surely it’s best to get issues of human rights, doctor involvement and coercion sorted before the policy is in place?

      • Psycho Milt 11.1.1

        Cost to govt is a reason for targeting it at the most at-risk group if you’re not going to get the money to target everyone who might need it. The question of which is the most at-risk group is something I’m not qualified to answer, but those who are have identified the group this policy’s targeted at.

        Re sorting out issues of human rights, doctor involvement and coercion, there is no human rights issue and so far coercion’s a paranoid fantasy of Sue Bradford’s. The only one that does need sorting out is the doctor involvement and we don’t have information on that yet. They aren’t significant arguments against the policy, just potential risks that may need to be dealt with if they eventuate.

        • Descendant Of Smith 11.1.1.1

          Cost is not the reason – political choice is the reason.

          Any more than cost was the reason for Labour to increase NZS by $20-00 per week but not benefits.

          If cost was the reason then it would have been cheaper to do the benefits and leave NZS at the already higher rate that it was.

          Cost is just a euphemism for political choice.

    • weka 11.2

      Coercion is likely to happen at the WINZ level. We already know that some WINZ staff implement all sorts of policy in coercive and prejudicial ways. It’s reasonable to assume it will happen with this policy too.
       
      We also know that the most vulnerable WINZ clients are those most likely to do badly within the system, and least likely to get their needs met. I’d say many pregnant teenage girls fit in the category of most vulnerable.

  12. Jenny 12

    The whole concept of offering free contraceptive to Sole mothers and their daughters is insulting.

    They more immoral than the rest of us, is the hidden message.

    The whole thing reeks of hysteria, of small minded bigotry and hatred.

    Being a sole parent and raising children alone on a fixed income is no easy choice. I am sure that women in this situation would welcome one less expense. But so would a lot of other low income women. Why not offer contraception free to all people who need it.

    I suspect that those at the top of society who live off the rest of us would be to nervous of a population crash, depriving them of a fresh generation of wage slaves.

    The whole purpose of this campaign which targets sole mothers is to create the necessary political atmosphere where more vicious attacks and cutbacks on sole mothers and their children will become acceptable.

    If I was a solo mother today, I would feel that a great big bulls eye had just been painted on my back.

  13. Why not offer contraception free to all people who need it.

    You’d think I’d get sick of answering this one, but people don’t seem to get sick of asking it, so:

    1. For the same reason we don’t offer free food, free clothes, free houses, free furniture, free domestic appliances, free cars, free overseas vacations, free etc to all people who need it – the stuff isn’t free, and govt’s have an income to live within same as everybody else.
    2. When you’re short of cash (hint: that’s us), it’s most cost-effective to target expensive policies at the groups most in need of them. In this case, we’ve got a shitload of statistics saying it’s a bad idea to be born to a sole parent on a benefit, so directing money towards avoiding that makes a lot more sense than chucking it anyone of fertile years.

    • Descendant Of Smith 13.1

      I’m assuming then you are against the non-cost effective roads national are building, Jenny Shipley being paid to provide unknown advice to CERA, $800,000 being paid to bail out Wanganui Collegiate, $500,000 paid to hold a golf tournament, the growth in the security detail for the PM, the new Prime Ministers Awards cash prizes, the payments to Parents Inc for white middle class parenting programs, the embedding of post-PM perks in legislation, …….

      • Psycho Milt 13.1.1

        Yes, very much so. But I notice you’re very much in favour of cost-effectiveness in those things but positively outraged by it when it comes to something that pushes your prejudice buttons. Why is that?

        • McFlock 13.1.1.1

          The hint is in the label on the button.

        • Descendant Of Smith 13.1.1.2

          Again you confuse the ends with the means.

          I’ve clearly stated free contraception is fine – linking it to the benefit system and continually giving context around breeding for a business and punitive welfare reforms is not.

          There’s also a wealth of difference between standing up for those that are most disadvantaged and being critical of those who are the least disadvantaged doing this to them.

          I also don’t think I’ve noticed you railing against any of the things above. I’d look forward to seeing your posts on such issues in the future.

          • Psycho Milt 13.1.1.2.1

            I haven’t come across blogs full of supposedly-intelligent liberals channelling irrational, prejudice-based outrage about those other things, so am less likely to comment on them.

            • Descendant Of Smith 13.1.1.2.1.1

              But you’ve come across blogs of supposedly intelligent neo-liberal conservative bloggers channeling

              irrational, prejudice-based outrage against sole-parents and young women and unions and workers for instance.

              I don’t see your posts defending those people and your comments on that.

              In no way do I think silence means acquiescence but I don’t often see those that attack some of the more leftist views expressed here and portraying a “you are irrational I’m sensible” line showing any sort of criticism of those prejudiced views.

              And those prejudiced views have much more power as they are projected by those who have the power and influence to project those views on the less powerful – hence they should be challenged.

              It’s not often the poor, the sick, the disabled have power.

              • 1. “I’m outraged that the govt is offering some people free contraception” isn’t a leftist view.

                2. If you don’t read blogs I comment on it’s hardly my problem, but you presumably mean comments like these?

                • McFlock

                  “I’m outraged that the govt is offering some people free contraception” isn’t a leftist view.

                  Beg to differ – it could be.
                  The problematic word is “some”. Who are this “some”? Why them? Why are they more or less worthy for the free contraception? Why now? Is it an end, a means to an end, or a conscious step towards compulsion?
                     
                  Of course, all of those questions have been already answered for you, but you’re still harping on with shallow interpretations of the issue and blinkered definitions of what you regard as “leftist”.
                     
                   

    • weka 13.2

      I agree, I don’t think we can afford to offer free contraception to everyone. But what we should do instead is offer it to everyone with a Community Services Card. That way the whole thing can be managed via the health system (GPs and/or Family Planning) instead of Welfare. That removes the negatives associated with targeting teenage girls, and it means we don’t have to use more resources setting up additional management systems when we already have perfectly good ones in place in Health. Not to mention not further stressing and already overburdened and dysfunctional welfare system.
       
      It also makes more sense to target the policy to low income women. How many women on the dole or low incomes end up on the DPB when relationships end? Why wouldn’t you offer free contraception to them now instead of waiting until they’re single? The current targeting of this policy just doesn’t make sense.

    • Jenny 13.3

      So Psycho, why are they offering it to sole mothers and their daughters?

      If you were honest you would have to admit that they are being vilified in the public mind for some future attack.

      • Psycho Milt 13.3.1

        Point 2, comment 13. And “if I were honest” (gee, thanks) I’d be a lot less polite about the paranoid fantasies and irrationalism being peddled on this subject.

    • locus 13.4

      psycho – I’m incredibly grateful that I live in a country where charitable people provide free food and free clothes to those who need them, and where we have a welfare system which contributes to housing and living costs for those who would otherwise be on the street. This is a civilised way to live and I don’t think of it as being ‘cost-effective’. It’s a spurious argument to group “free cars, free overseas vacations etc to all people who need it” and suggest that the reason these are not funded is the same.

      As you’re so fond of evaluating everything the government does in terms of targeting cost-effectiveness, would you support the government paying for sterilisation of people on benefit? No of course not, because like most people I imagine that you have some idea of what’s wrong and what’s right.

      Many of the comments on this thread have given good reasons why this kind of shotgun policy targeted at mothers on the benefit (and at their teenage daughters), and advised by a non-health professional, is not right. Cost-effectiveness is not a good argument.

      You argue that it makes a lot more sense to direct money towards a sole parent on a benefit than to chuck it at anyone of fertile years, misses the point entirely, which is that in the form proposed, it’s the wrong thing to do in both cases. It has not been shown that targeting contraception to this group would be more effective than targeting it towards any other at risk group.

      Because of the lack of evidence that this policy will be effective, it is illogical to argue that it will be ‘cost effective’. And even if you could show that expenditure on one of two important things was more cost-effective, it is not logical to infer that it makes the more ‘cost-effective’ option any wiser or better.

      • Psycho Milt 13.4.1

        I’m incredibly grateful that I live in a country where charitable people provide free food and free clothes to those who need them, and where we have a welfare system which contributes to housing and living costs for those who would otherwise be on the street.

        Me too.

        This is a civilised way to live and I don’t think of it as being ‘cost-effective’. It’s a spurious argument to group “free cars, free overseas vacations etc to all people who need it” and suggest that the reason these are not funded is the same.

        You don’t consider cost-effectiveness because that’s a luxury you have, courtesy of not being responsible for spending the country’s money. In liberal-speak, you have “unaccountability privilege.” The people accountable for the nation’s finances don’t have that luxury/privilege. And the reason cars and vacations are not funded actually is exactly the same – the funding obligations of the state and its means of doing so are limited and therefore rationed/targeted.

        Because of the lack of evidence that this policy will be effective, it is illogical to argue that it will be ‘cost effective’.

        It’s a bit much to demand evidence of a policy’s effectiveness before it’s implemented. The evidence we do have is that the risk factors for suffering poverty, violent abuse, educational underachievement etc are highest for kids born to young sole parents on a benefit. In terms of what policies that evidence suggests would be useful, one of the things it suggests is that targeting that high-risk group for free contraception may result in fewer children born into that high-risk category, so that’s one of the approaches being taken. Rosy’s making the case that offering contraception is unlikely to achieve that, and I’m making the case that it’s at least worth a shot.

        • rosy 13.4.1.1

          Pschyo Milt
          Rosy’s making the case that offering contraception is unlikely to achieve that
          from the post:

          Will free contraception prevent some teenage pregnancies? Undoubtedly, more than 80% of teen pregnancies are unintended.

          You’re so fixated on what you think other people say, you’ve missed what they actually did say.

          • Psycho Milt 13.4.1.1.1

            Sorry, yes I do realise it’s the targeting you’re dubious about, not the free contraception in and of itself. Sometimes I write this stuff too quickly.

  14. fatty 14

    Maybe young women are getting pregnant on purpose cause the only other option is going on and off the dole on shitty short term contracts, at shitty jobs, with shitty bosses, with no hope of progressing in either pay or job satisfaction.
    Why all the talk about accidental pregnancy as if these girls are incompetent idiots who don’t know how to take a pill or put on a condom. What’s the other option for these girls…sweet F-all.
    Do we expect them to hold down a McJob which will do nothing but eat away at their self-esteem? Having a baby at a young age does not mean a ‘loss of youth’, if their youth was going to be serving french fries to drunken ruggar meat heads for $13.50 an hour, not being able to afford to heat their house, not being able to afford to eat healthy food, hardly able to afford rent etc.
    Are we honestly suggesting their lives would be better if they didn’t get pregnant?…cause that’s bollocks.
    They have access to contraceptives, they are not idiots, they have been given a choice…get pregnant, or look forward to working your ass off for a shitty existence.

    • locus 14.1

      Fatty, I can understand your sympathy for the circumstances of girls who have all the cards stacked against them, but your suggestion that “Maybe young women are getting pregnant on purpose” is only at best 20% valid.
      – rosy made the point that more than 80% of teen pregnancies are unintended.
      Accidental pregnancy may be caused by all sorts of reasons, e.g. pushy guys who don’t want to wear a condom; sex in the heat of the moment; girls who can’t afford the pill or who are too young or scared to get a prescription; rape; girls who forget to take the pill; guys who forget to buy a condom; etc. etc.
      Your assertion that teenage mothers “have been given a choice” and have decided to “get pregnant”shows that you haven’t really understood rosy’s post.

      • fatty 14.1.1

        “Your assertion that teenage mothers “have been given a choice” and have decided to “get pregnant”shows that you haven’t really understood rosy’s post.”

        No, I do understand the post, but I don’t agree with all of it, and when you separate the last 2 paragraphs from the rest you will see that there exists contrasting explanations in Rosy’s post (I consider the contradiction to be useful and a sign of a good post…I roll my eyes when a post claims there is one truth – there is not just one or two reasons for teenage pregnancy). My post just gives my perspective and agrees with the last two paragraphs. I am actually agreeing with Rosy’s post, the part she claims is her personal opinion.

        “– rosy made the point that more than 80% of teen pregnancies are unintended.”

        Yeah, I take that with a grain of salt. I know that’s what they say, but do we really believe that to be true? Technology exists so that reliable long term contraceptives can be used by all girls, whether they are poor or rich…so why is it that poor girls are getting pregnant more often than the rich ones? If they really honestly, deep down, with all their heart do not want to get pregnant then they probably won’t. My guess is that those 80% of teen pregnancies that are ‘unintended’, are actually not as unintended as we think. Seriously, who of those teens are going to admit that they chose not to take contraception? The way our society demonises teen mothers, hates on DPB users, stigmatises solo mums etc are all reasons why it becomes much easier to claim they forgot to take a pill or put a condom on.

        I prefer Rosy’s reasoning in her last paragraph, where she cites the past as a reason for ‘unintended’ pregnancy…but I just went the other way and suggested that teens have nothing to look forward to in our society. The best form of economic security for a teen girl with no education is to get pregnant, and to minimise to the resulting stigma is they will claim it was unintended…that is why I do not believe that 80% of teen pregnancies are unintended, it must be lower. ‘Official statistics’ will not convince me either, because I see their research as inherently flawed and invalid. That kind of quantitative research fails to acknowledge the complexity of the issue. Epistemologically, its perspective is from a white, 1960s male where the nuclear family is seen as the ideal.

        Under the current structure of NZ society, I have no problem with single mothers getting pregnant, I just see it as a logical response, not a problem. If, as I already said, we paid young women a liveable wage and included them in society, then there would be no NEED to get pregnant, that is the real problem. We should also increase the DPB to ensure no children are in poverty…we just have to increase the tax on the poverty producers, otherwise we end up with idiocracy.

        • rosy 14.1.1.1

          Thanks for your comment fatty, I understand what your saying about the difference between the two parts of the post. The positions taken are not mutually exclusive. The first lists the contextual factors of teenage parents. The running theme imo is disempowerment and emotional insecurity and that directly leads to my own opinion – the second part of the post – that one outcome of being a teenage parent is actually a more purpose-filled, emotionally satisfying life.

          I agree that this can also mean that teenage parenting (actually mothering, because teen dads are not often around*) can mean the dumping of McJobs for mothering.

          I disagree that dumping McJobs for mothering is an active decision. Disempowerment and emotional insecurity can lead to people just drifting rather than taking active decisions. Stuff happens, and for disempowered girls this is what happens. There’s more support for this pov from people working in the field than the view that girls actively make a logical decision to get out of jobs by getting pregnant (aka breeding for business in John Key’s vocabulary).

          I guess that also summarises my objections about teen girls being told to take long-term contraception – rather than being supported (e.g. education, training and parenting) – it does nothing for empowerment and active decision-making. My guess these girls will still just drift into an even more untenable situation with less money, rather than not have a or another child.

          * often through no fault of their own – I’m not talking about emotionally secure men here, just damaged boys (see the point in the post that boys from abusive/abused backgrounds are also more likely to become teen fathers).

  15. Hateatea 15

    A very well written and thought provoking post but, yet again, all the focus is on the women with no mention of targeting the men who don’t / won’t use condoms ( a sensible STD precaution as well  as contraception).  As the song says ‘it takes two’.
    When politicians include measures that target all, not just women on the DPB, UB etc but ALL males, including those on National super, then I might just consider that it isn’t just the ‘business as usual’ anti women beneficiary bashing that is so attractive a target when a diversion is required.
    As I said on  an earlier occasion, I was in my early 40’s  and a student when I needed to be on the DPB. I had been in the paid workforce since I was 13, full time from when I was 15 a year’s parental leave so  hardly a sponger. I left a verbally,  physically, emotionally abusive relationship and made my child my priority. If someone had suggested contraception to me at a WINZ office, I would have told them where to  put it in the best vernacular at my disposal. Having another child was not in my plans, nor was another relationship but if I chose either of those options, I would  have talked to my GP, not my case officer. health, contraception etc are not part of WINZ’s core business!
    It saddens me that so much of the dialogue around benefits is punitive and full of (inaccurate) stereotypes rather than focused on finding each individual the best solution for them, their family and the wider community.
    What a long way we still have to go as a country
     

  16. Tom 16

    A lot of the government’s thinking seems driven by advisers around Obama such as Harvard economists David Cutler and Jeffrey Liebman, and Austan Goolsbee – a Skull & Bones alum.

    A few links from Liebman may be relevant ..

    http://www.ipr.northwestern.edu/jcpr/workingpapers/wpfiles/eitcupdate.PDF

    http://www.hks.harvard.edu/jeffreyliebman/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Liebman

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/02/pdf/social_impact_bonds.pdf

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    Labour | 03-09
  • Labour will strengthen New Zealand’s democracy
    A Labour Government will act quickly to protect and enhance New Zealand’s reputation as one of the most open and least corrupt countries in the world, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “The health of any democracy is improved by greater...
    Labour | 02-09
  • MANA Movement says tax cut on GST must be first priority – Minto
    “If Prime Minister John Key has money available for tax cuts then cutting GST must be the first priority”,  said MANA Movement Economic Justice Spokesperson John Minto. GST is a nasty tax on low-income families”, said Minto. “People in the...
    Mana | 02-09
  • The Maori Party’s Mana-Enhancing Relationship with National – Minto
    “First we had Cameron Slater and David Farrar backing Labour’s Kelvin Davis bid to unseat MANA Movement Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira.  Now we have Slater writing a pro-Te Ururoa Flavell article on his website, Whale...
    Mana | 02-09
  • There’s Only One Poll That Counts
    “One of the oldest sayings in politics is that there is only one poll that counts – the one on Election Day – and that’s the one that I am focusing on” remarked the MANA Movement candidate for Waiariki, Annette...
    Mana | 02-09
  • Local communities critical to Civil Defence
    Labour will focus on empowering New Zealand communities to be resilient in Civil Defence disasters, says Labour’s Civil Defence spokesperson Clare Curran. Announcing Labour’s Civil Defence policy, she says that Labour will work with schools, voluntary agencies and community groups...
    Labour | 02-09
  • Labour looks to long-life passports, gambling harm review
    A return to 10 year passports and a review of gambling laws are highlights of Labour’s Internal Affairs policy released today. “More than 15,000 New Zealanders signed a petition calling on the Government to revert to the 10 year system...
    Labour | 02-09
  • MANA Movement Leadership stands strong behind Internet MANA relationship
    “There is now, and always will be, a range of views about many issues within our movement and members are free to express them, but Georgina’s views on Kim Dotcom are not shared by the MANA Movement leadership or the vast majority...
    Mana | 01-09
  • Rebuilding the New Zealand Defence Force
    A Labour Government will make it a priority to rebuild the capacity of the Defence Force to carry out the tasks expected of it, says Labour’s Defence Spokesperson Phil Goff. Releasing Labour’s Defence Policy today he said the NZDF has...
    Labour | 01-09
  • Speech to Canterbury Chamber of Commerce
    Today I'm going to talk about our policy package to upgrade and grow our economy and how we turn that growth into a foundation for a decent and fair society. But first I want to address the issue of our...
    Labour | 01-09
  • Commission of Inquiry must have bipartisan support
    The Labour Party is drafting terms of reference for a Commission of Inquiry, Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker says. “It is abundantly clear there is a need for an independent Commission of Inquiry, chaired by a High Court Judge, into...
    Labour | 01-09
  • Rapid Transit to unclog Christchurch
    Labour will build a 21st century Rapid Transit system for Christchurch, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “The long delayed recovery of Christchurch hinges on a modern commuter system for the city. “We will invest $100 million in a modern rail plan...
    Labour | 31-08
  • Labour’s commitment to public broadcasting
    A Labour Government will set up a working group to re-establish a public service television station as part of our commitment to ensuring New Zealand has high quality free-to-air local content. “We will set up a working group to report...
    Labour | 31-08
  • A new deal for the conservation estate
    The health of our economy depends on New Zealand preserving and restoring our land, air, water and indigenous wildlife, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. Announcing Labours Conservation policy, she said that there will be a comprehensive plan to restore...
    Labour | 31-08
  • Labour’s plan to end homelessness
    Labour has a comprehensive approach to end homelessness starting with the provision of emergency housing for 1000 people each year and putting an end to slum conditions in boarding houses, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Labour believes that homelessness is not...
    Labour | 30-08
  • Labour: A smarter approach to justice
    A Labour Government will improve the justice system to ensure it achieves real public safety, provides equal access to justice and protects human rights, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says. “Our approach is about tackling the root causes of crime, recognising...
    Labour | 29-08
  • Labour to foster Kiwi love of sport and the great outdoors
    A Labour Government will promote physical activity, back our top athletes and help foster Kiwis’ love of the great outdoors by upgrading tramping and camping facilities. Trevor Mallard today released Labour’s sports and recreation policy which will bring back a...
    Labour | 29-08
  • Pacific languages recognised under Labour
    Labour will act to recognise the five main Pacific languages in New Zealand including through the education system, said Pacific Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. Announcing Labour’s Pacific Island policy he said that there must be a strong commitment to...
    Labour | 29-08
  • No healthy economy without a healthy environment
    Labour recognises that we cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy environment, says Environment spokesperson Moana Mackey announcing Labour’s environment policy. “New Zealand’s economy has been built on the back of the enormous environmental wealth we collectively enjoy as...
    Labour | 28-08
  • Better protection, fairer deal for Kiwi consumers
    Tackling excessive prices, ensuring consumers have enough information to make ethical choices and giving the Commerce Commission more teeth are highlights of Labour’s Consumer Rights policy. “The rising cost of living is a concern for thousands of Kiwi families. A...
    Labour | 28-08
  • Media Advisory – MANA Movement Candidate for Waiariki Annette Sykes, Waia...
    Media are advised that this coming weekend, the MANA Movement Candidate for Waiariki, Annette Sykes, will be on the Internet MANA Road Trip within the electorate of Waiariki. Speakers confirmed are Annette Sykes, Hone Harawira, John Minto, Laila Harre and Kim...
    Mana | 27-08
  • Internet MANA – Waiariki Road Trip: 29, 30, 31 Aug 2014
    The Internet MANA Road Trip hits Waiariki this weekend. It would be great if all MANA members in Waiariki could especially attend the public meetings and show their support for our Waiariki candidate Annette Sykes. Confirmed speakers Hone Harawira (except Taupo), Annette...
    Mana | 27-08
  • Henchmen
    Henchmen...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Why it simply isn’t credible that Key stepped in and shut down the mass s...
    Key’s staggering admission that yes there was a year long business model by the GCSB to mass spy on all of NZ but  that he stepped in and shut it down after Cabinet had signed it off just sounds like make...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • John Key’s love affair with a straw man
    Politicians like putting up straw men for the purpose of self-righteously knocking them over. Prime Minister John Key has a particular straw man he loves to punch over. He raises it whenever he’s asked about mass surveillance of New Zealanders...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • John Armstrong turns on Glenn Greenwald
    Where does a mediocre journalist like John Armstrong get off attacking a journalist with the credibility of Glenn Greenwald as he has in his ridiculous column today? Armstrong has the audacity to try and play the terrorism card to justify why...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Denis Tegg – Which of John Key’s many statements on the GC...
    We already have Glenn Greenwald’s assertion on The Nation that John Key has misled New Zealanders as to whether the GCSB has engaged in mass surveillance of Kiwis. But Key has made many other statements about the GCSB’s powers and...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Election 2014: Numbers and Faces
    Democratic politics is a game of numbers and faces. How can we translate the numbers into the 120 or more faces that will be in the next Parliament? Below is my prediction of a likely result: 120 people, divided by...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Scotland the brave
    The possibility that Scotland will vote for independence this Thursday has panicked the British establishment. An unholy alliance of Tory, Labour, Liberal and corporate leaders has resorted to fear-mongering and bullying on grand scale in a last ditch effort to...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Why Key’s denials sound so off and why Dotcom’s fight is all our fight
    The shrillness of Key is the issue. His denials just too forced and rehearsed. Key has gone from Hollow Man to Shallow Man with his lashing out at Pulitzer Price winning Journalist Glenn Greenwald by calling him a ‘henchman’. This...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Letters to the Editor – Spies, Lies, Five Eyes, and other matters on a S...
    . . Sharing a few thoughts and observations with newspaper editors around the country… . from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>to: Sunday Star Times <letters@star-times.co.nz>date: Sun, Sep 14, 2014 subject: Letter to the Editor . The Editor Sunday Star Times . Our...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • Letters to the Editor – Spies, Lies, Five Eyes, and other matters on a Su...
    . . Sharing a few thoughts and observations with newspaper editors around the country… . from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>to: Sunday Star Times <letters@star-times.co.nz>date: Sun, Sep 14, 2014 subject: Letter to the Editor . The Editor Sunday Star Times . Our...
    The Daily Blog | 14-09
  • As TDB predicted, Labour to use universal super fund to buy back assets and...
    Greens about to be snookered again?   As The Daily Blog has pointed out several times now, Labour will use a universal super fund to buy back NZs assets in a bid to offer Winston a legacy project… Labour plans...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • A lesson in caring for our most vulnerable
    Some of the comments on this article make me sick. Because I am so very much over people who think they are better than others because things have gone their way in life and think those who aren’t as functional...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – Please vote positive
    One of the features of campaigning is the meet-the-candidates event.  As an opportunity to present policies to the voter, they aren’t the best vehicle but still serve a useful purpose.  The problem is that there are too many candidates and...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • For this who don’t vote this election
    For this who don’t vote this election...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • Where does Key get off abusing a Pulitzer prize winning Journalist like Gle...
    We are seeing the Dirty Politics PM today when Key decided the best way to counter the Glenn Greenwald claims of GCSB mass surveillance was to denigrate Greenwald… Prime Minister John Key says he will prove Glenn Greenwald’s claims by the...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • Teflon Man No More
    . .   On 26 August, as Nicky Hager’s expose on New Zealand’s right wing politics hit public consciousness and confirmed our worst fears, I wrote, “Dirty Politics” has achieved more than simply revealing  unwholesome machinations between National party apparatchiks,...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • Dear mainstream media – regarding Key’s promise to resign if GCSB expos...
    Dear Mainstream media. How’s it all going? I would like to acknowledge the deep depression many members of the Press Gallery are going through as their boy Key looks less and less likely to win. I appreciate how a loss...
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • It’s official: ACT’s Jamie Whyte is several-sandwiches-and-a-salad sho...
    .   . There aren’t very many times I agree wholeheartedly with our Dear Leader – but on this occassion I believe he spoke for those 99% of New Zealanders for whom common sense is as natural as breathing air....
    The Daily Blog | 13-09
  • ‘I’ll not be intimidated … by cowards’, says Fiji death threat jour...
    Fiji Sun’s Jyoti Pratibha … death threats via fake Facebook profiles. Image: Pacific Scoop THE PARIS-based media freedom advocacy organisation Reporters Sans Frontières and the Pacific Media Centre have condemned threats and intimidation against political reporters this week covering Fiji’s...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Glenn Greenwald on TV3s ‘The Nation’ – Everyone remember when Key pro...
    Glenn Greenwald has just given his first NZ interview on TV3s ‘The Nation’ and what he had to say was incredibly damaging. Glenn is here for Kim Dotcom’s Moment of Truth on Monday and what he has just had to...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • What will soft National vote do, why Colin Craig will be a focus in final w...
    In what has been the most unpredictable elections of our time, the final week promises more shocks and bombshells than World War One trench warfare. We have the media who still have the Rawshark emails that detail the Ede-Slater exchanges....
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Would a National-Conservative Party reduce rights to an abortion? Legalise ...
    With the possibility of a Conservative-National Party coalition looming, let’s consider the impact of this new hard right religious Government on social policy. We know Conservative Party candidate Edward Saafi, believes the inability to legally bash your kids is responsible for teenage prostitution, teenage pregnancy and...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • ACTs solution to crime – more guns?
    How insane are the ACT Party? Honestly? Their solution to crime is to arm every shop keeper with a sawn off shotgun??? “Criminals are well aware that shopkeepers are defenceless and are taking advantage of this in brutal robberies. What...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • John Key’s gift to teenage girls…
    Yesterday I was at the MANA Movement policy release on “Predators on Poverty” in the Otahuhu Shopping Centre. Successive Labour and National governments have left vulnerable communities on their own to face these merciless thieves who prey on the poor...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Poverty denial – Where does National get its advice from?
    National is displaying a quite inadequate understanding of their own policies and worrying inability to respond to criticism. When John Key trots out his old, tired example of how ‘work pays’ on Morning Report this week to justify leaving 260,000...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Education reformers mean well, so what’s the problem?
    The thing about education reformers is that, mostly, they mean well. Whether it’s charter schools, National Standards, Teach First, or another reform, many people involved have good intentions.  They want to improve things, try something new and innovate, they say. The thing...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • My brain hurts
    My brain hurts.  This election year has been a really long nine months.  The lies, the headlines, the spin, the policy, the chat, I am literally overloaded with information.  At times it’s been exhausting trying to keep up.  However I...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Slater loses Blomfield defamation case – has to pays costs & must dis...
    Great victory for Journalism today. The Defamation case Matt Blomfield took against Slater has jumped its first hurdle, Slater has been told he might be a ‘Journalist’, but he has no right to journalistic protection of his sources because there was no...
    The Daily Blog | 12-09
  • Seeing an Economic Vision
    It has been some time since my last post to TDB. I was fortunate to recently come back to NZ briefly for a bit of a break from my work in Pakistan. While my visit was super short, I took...
    The Daily Blog | 11-09
  • 5 reasons why anyone identifying as Left with a capital L should party vote...
    There are 5 reasons why anyone identifying as Left with a capital L should consider casting their party vote for Internet MANA this election. 1 – Feed the Kids: There is no excuses now that National have flirted with the idea...
    The Daily Blog | 11-09
  • What I want from a change of government
    The prospects for a change of government look a little brighter so I though I’d look at what we can expect. The only option being provided by Labour, the main opposition party, is for a Labour, Green, NZ First coalition....
    The Daily Blog | 11-09
  • Why is the “Progressive” Coalition so Regressive?
    Have you ever, when parallel parking, got yourself wedged into the curb? The car in front is centimetres away and your rear wheel is touching the curb at an angle. This is a metaphor for the state of economic policy-making...
    The Daily Blog | 11-09
  • Of course the Greens could work with National
    A warm soy latte with John Key?   Sharp in take of breath moment as TVNZ last night reported Greens could work with National post the election if National win. It’s a smart move. The Greens are so viciously anti-tribal...
    The Daily Blog | 11-09
  • Coalition for Better Broadcasting – Quality of Journalism
    “Skilled journos getting unwarranted shit from hack bloggers & online warriors could earn big $ in PR/marketing, so thank you for what you do”. As this tweet rolled across my screen this morning the irony had me rolling my eyes. Why on...
    The Daily Blog | 11-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – #BlueGreen2014 – Or: The Media Jetskiis O...
    During Thursday’s iteration of One News, I was virtually shocked off my seat to hear a reasonably well-known political pundit slash nominal “journalist” prognosticating about the likelihood of the Green Party “switching gear” on its electoral strategy … and deciding...
    The Daily Blog | 11-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Michael Wood – Winning on the Economy
    One of the great tricks of the right over the past twenty years has been to desiccate debate about our economy. ‘The economy’ is spoken about as if it is an independent entity, divorced from the realm of democratic politics...
    The Daily Blog | 11-09
  • GUEST BLOG – Curwen Rolinson – They’re tryna build a prison system ...
    Well, at least we now know how National intends to deliver that extra hundred and fifty thousand jobs they’ve promised us. Although on sixty cents an hour, it’s not *quite* the reasonable pay packet – or, hell, living wage that...
    The Daily Blog | 11-09
  • 5AA Australia: NZ General Election is in full swing September 11 2014
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey discuss the fallout from the dirty politics revelations and also how the political leaders are fairing. The NZ General Election is in full swing. Since we last talked, the fallout from the dirty...
    The Daily Blog | 11-09
  • If it barks like a dog…
    If it barks like a dog…...
    The Daily Blog | 11-09
  • The obscenity of National’s tax cuts
    It should be an abhorrence in a nation that once prided itself on its egalitarianism that National want to borrow another $500 million per year while 250 000 – 285 000 children live in poverty. There are two reasons why...
    The Daily Blog | 10-09
  • National’s work prison gulags
    All jails to become ‘working prisons’ under NationalMore prisoners will be put to work and ex-prisoners will receive post-release drug addiction treatment if National is returned to government. Corrections Spokesperson Anne Tolley says the working prisons model will be expanded...
    The Daily Blog | 10-09
  • Top 10 questions if the Conservative Party get over 5%
    1. If the Conservative Party get over 5% do we automatically go back to 1950? 2. If the Conservative Party get over 5% will  the National Anthem be changed from “God defend NZ’ to “God God God” 3. If the...
    The Daily Blog | 10-09
  • BackBenches Auckland Election special & TV3 Leaders debate review
    Fascinating time at the Auckland election special of BackBenches this year. I was at the filming in 2011 and it was a very different beast. I remember in 2011 a sea of blue. Team Key acolytes were everywhere, there was...
    The Daily Blog | 10-09
  • EXCLUSIVE: Was the Donghua Liu Affair another example of Dirty Politics?
    . . – Frank Macskasy & ‘Hercules’ What appears to be an orchestrated  Beehive plot to dig dirt for throwing at Labour leader, David Cunliffe, ahead of a crucial parliamentary debate is revealed in a paper trail linking Immigration Minister,...
    The Daily Blog | 10-09
  • Public interest at risk more than business interests this election
    This election is not just about which political party wins. It’s about the privilege of multinational corporates, including the all-powerful media. It’s about access to minerals and resources needed to prop up the prevailing economic order and to stave off...
    The Daily Blog | 10-09
  • Green Pasifika candidates
    In the last couple of elections the Greens have stood Rev Mua Strickson-Pua as their candidate in Mangere. A well known personality in the Pacific community, often seen by many as a little eccentric. I’ve enjoyed seeing Rev Strickson-Pua make...
    The Daily Blog | 10-09
  • BLOGWATCH: Gordon Campbell’s 19 reasons Why We Can’t Afford Another Nat...
    National Party Billboard if it was honest   The ever brilliant Gordon Campbell over at Werewolf has put together 19 reasons why we can’t afford another National Government. I highly recommend you read the entire thing – his 19 reasons...
    The Daily Blog | 10-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – Sandy Smiles
    The man tapped the glass with his pen at two minutes and I wound up my less than positive comments about the MPs who’d betrayed the Whangarei Electorate. It’s hard to stay on-message when looking at the state of this...
    The Daily Blog | 10-09
  • Purity and Power: Chris Trotter critiques John Armstrong’s advice to the ...
    WHAT AN EXTRAORDINARY COLUMN from John Armstrong! There have been many this year, but his latest (10/9/14) stands out because of the cynical amorality underpinning the writer’s political analysis. “The Greens face an old dilemma”, opines the NZ Herald’s Chief Political...
    The Daily Blog | 10-09
  • BLOGWATCH: The audacity of David Farrar
    Cry us a river David! The audacity of Farrar slagging off Nicky Hager today is almost delusional.  The bore of Babylon claims that we on the left hate the right having strong voices. Oh pa-lease! Despite Farrar masquerading as lite right...
    The Daily Blog | 09-09
  • Final decision on Ruakura Development Plan Change
    The independent Board of Inquiry considering the Ruakura Development Plan Change has released its final report and decision. The Board has approved the plan change request but with amendments....
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Confirmed – Smacking Law Needs Correction
    Family First NZ says that the ONE News Vote Compass survey showing only 23% support the anti-smacking law is no surprise, and confirms that it’s time the politicians listened to New Zealand families....
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Kiwi voters urged to heed warnings
    Kiwi voters would do well to note the advice given this week to Queensland people by retired judge and renowned corruption fighter Tony Fitzgerald, according to Democrats for Social Credit health spokesman David Tranter....
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Fisheries policy analysis produces surprising results
    Nine political party policies were analysed to determine which party had the most public friendly fisheries policy and the results surprised LegaSea, an apolitical fisheries lobby group. “For the first time, recreational fishers have been offered...
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • $3m to help keep Hutt families healthy
    National Party candidate for Hutt South, Chris Bishop, welcomes news Hutt City Council has been selected to lead a $3 million anti-obesity initiative in Lower Hutt which will help families improve their health. “Healthy Families NZ is National’s new...
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • Community organisations struggling
    The survey, conducted by community sector network ComVoices, highlights the high level of frustration and urgency being felt by those who deliver services, says group Chairperson, Peter Glensor. 311 organisations completed the survey....
    Scoop politics | 15-09
  • NZ 2014 Election Index – 6-11 September
    Below is iSentia’s weekly Election Index for the period 6 to 11 September, showing the relative amount of coverage of nine Party Leaders in the lead up to the National Election across news media and social media. We will publish...
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • Workers despair at Nationals lack of fairness
    “Nationals Workplaces policy, released today, fails to articulate any vison about how life for working New Zealanders can be improved.” CTU President Helen Kelly said. “Again if this policy focusses on removing work rights, its own documents...
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • National tries to dodge the discussion on workers’ rights
    New Zealanders deserve a proper conversation about National’s plans to keep undermining the real value of their wages and conditions at work. “Today National has released a ‘workplace policy’ which will further widen the imbalance of power between...
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • Didn’t Get Your Easyvote Pack? You Need to Enrol Now.
    If you didn’t get an EasyVote pack in the mail last week, you need to check your enrolment now as you may not be enrolled....
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • Survey shows television without adverts could be vote winner
    Survey shows television without adverts could be a vote winner Television news focuses too much on politicians' personalities and not enough on the real issues, according to a UMR survey commissioned by the Coalition for Better Broadcasting....
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • Which of Key’s many statements will Greenwald challenge?
    John Key's credibility and honesty will be tested on many more GCSB issues than whether there was / is mass surveillance of New Zealanders by the GCSB. I have put together this by no means comprehensive list of Key's statements...
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • 4th tranche of Auckland Housing Accord licenses sprawl
    Youth organisation, Generation Zero, is appalled at the next stage of the Auckland Housing Accord, released today, as it is once again focussed on urban sprawl. The fourth tranche of 41 Special Housing Areas (SHAs), allows for 8000 dwellings, nearly...
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • New funding to support high value food exports
    Auckland, New Zealand. 15 September 2014...Plant & Food Research has received funding for two new projects in the latest government science investment round....
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • National, Greens Big Movers on Bribe-O-Meter
    The Taxpayers’ Union has updated its election policy 'Bribe-O-Meter’ to reflect the cost of recent campaign promises. The update takes into account Labour’s new fiscal tables and all announcements up to Friday and is based on numbers provided...
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • Policy Costing Expert Questions ‘NZ Power’ Numbers
    Dr Michael Dunn, engaged by the Taxpayers’ Union to provide the figures for the 'Bribe-O-Meter' election costing website , is questioning the Labour Party’s costing of it’s flagship "NZ Power” policy....
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • Meet the Real Colin Craig
    Watching Conservative Party leader Colin Craig struggling to explain his tax policy on The Nation this morning finally revealed that he is making dishonest promises....
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • Lifetime Achiever Generous of Investment in Whanau Ora
    Earlier this month, Maori Party's Te Tai Tonga and Christchurch based candidate, Ngaire Button, said she was rapt local hero, Tihi Puanaki, was named Regional Winner of the Pride of NZ 2014, Lifetime Achievement Award. Button is clearly delighted...
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • Bigger than the Foreshore And Seabed
    “Over the past week I have received some disturbing information that has led myself and a number of Maori lawyers to conclude that this National - Maori Party - ACT and United Future Government are going to put an end...
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • New Zealand’s participation in Five Eyes
    “Our policy is we're committing to a full review of all of New Zealand's security services. We will be repealing the GCSB legislation and we will replace it with something that is guaranteed to be more protective of New Zealanders...
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • Once in a Lifetime travels north!
    After Once in a Lifetime ’s packed launch and sold-out panel discussion at the Christchurch Word Writers and Readers Festival, members of the editorial team are presenting the book to Auckland and Wellington audiences, in an attempt to increase...
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • Q+A: The role of the GCSB and our participation
    Green Party co-leader Russel Norman told TV One’s Q+A programme that they would close Waihopai and review the role of the GCSB and our participation in Five Eyes....
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • NZ First poll shows Labour coalition more likely than ever
    New Zealand First’s East Coast candidate, Mere Takoko, has revealed that her party’s internal polling shows Labour’s Moana Mackey is just 2 percent away from winning the East Coast electorate seat from incumbent Anne Tolley....
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • iPredict Daily Update
    Initial allegations made by journalist Glenn Greenwald yesterday appear to have dented National’s chances of leading the next Government, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict,...
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • ACT is holding the Balance of Power
    ACT will hold the balance of power after the election on Saturday....
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • Statement From Hone Harawira And Laila Harré
    The Prime Minister has used his security access to further own political interests, demonstrating he is unfit to hold the office....
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • Key “rejected mass surveillance plan”
    National Party leader John Key told TV1’s Q+A programme that the GCSB looked into a plan for mass surveillance after two companies were subjected to a major cyber-attack – but he rejected it....
    Scoop politics | 14-09
  • Monday a Moment of Truth for Key on Spying, Says Harré
    Assurances given by the Prime Minister and the GCSB that spy agencies do not conduct mass surveillance on New Zealanders look set to be tested on Monday, says Internet Party leader Laila Harré....
    Scoop politics | 13-09
  • Outdoor Voters Poised to Vote
    A New Zealand-wide outdoor recreation organisation predicts the outdoors voting public will have a big impact on the election result....
    Scoop politics | 13-09
  • Patrick Gower Interviews NZFirst Leader Winston Peters
    Good. It looks like you’ve got a good crowd there. If we could start, Mr Peters, with Kim Dotcom and Monday night – the big reveal. A personal view from you, do you think that John Key knew about Kim...
    Scoop politics | 13-09
  • Lisa Owen Interviews Glenn Greenwald
    Says there are serious questions about whether the government has been truthful about changes to the GCSB legislation. “What I can tell you is that the statement that the GCSB made to New Zealand citizens last year — 'we do...
    Scoop politics | 13-09
  • Lisa Owen Interviews National Party Leader John Key
    Lisa Owen: We've got the top five polling party leaders today, but first, Prime Minister John Key. I spoke to him first thing this morning and began by asking him, post-election, who would he prefer to form a coalition with...
    Scoop politics | 13-09
  • On the Nation: Lisa Owen Interviews Colin Craig
    Lisa Owen: Conservative Party leader Colin Craig joins me now. Good morning, Mr Craig. Colin Craig: Good morning. John Key was on this programme this morning, and he had a chance to endorse you with a week to go. He...
    Scoop politics | 13-09
  • Patrick Gower Interviews Labour Leader David Cunliffe
    Patrick Gower: Yes, David Cunliffe, let’s look at the polls. Any way you slice or dice it, you’ve got a lot of convincing to do with voters to get that left block across the line. How are you going to...
    Scoop politics | 13-09
  • Vote for Healthy Seas and Dolphins
    WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation) , NABU International and Maui’s and Hector’s Dolphin Defenders....
    Scoop politics | 13-09
  • Provinces Deserve a Fair Go
    Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you today. At the outset of my talk today it is important to emphasis that New Zealand First has a strong commitment to regional development....
    Scoop politics | 12-09
  • Cunnliffe is lying about ACT policy
    "Mr Cunnliffe says that ACT’s policy would enable shopkeepers to have loaded guns in their shops for self defence." said Jamie Whyte....
    Scoop politics | 12-09
  • Support kiwi business-friendly policies in Election 2014
    Support kiwi business-friendly policies in Election 2014 The Motel Association of NZ (MANZ) is calling on voters to make sure they vote for the party and candidate who will do the most to support kiwi businesses in the election next...
    Scoop politics | 12-09
  • Disappointment with early start to Holiday Highway
    Youth organisation, Generation Zero, is disappointed by the Prime Minister's announcement today that the Puhoi-Warkworth Highway would start construction in 2016. The highway is over 18 kilometres long, and latest estimates put the cost at over $760 million....
    Scoop politics | 12-09
  • Rural Women welcomes travel cost settlement
    Rural Women New Zealand welcomes news that a proposed settlement has been agreed that will lead to home support workers being paid mileage and wages for the time they spend travelling between clients....
    Scoop politics | 12-09
  • InternetNZ political survey gets answers
    In July this year, InternetNZ released its Election '14 and the Internet document, outlining seven key Internet issues for focus and discussion during this year's election and over the next three years....
    Scoop politics | 12-09
  • Taxpayers Union wrong on cost of abolishing student debt
    “The so-called ‘Taxpayers Union’ clearly thought the Internet MANA’s announcement today seeking to abolish student debt was tl:dr (‘too long didn’t read’)”, said NZUSA President Daniel Haines....
    Scoop politics | 12-09
  • Cyclists welcome investment in health and better transport
    The $300 million investment in cycling announced today by Greens co-leader Russel Norman pays a triple dividend, says Cycling Advocates Network spokesman Patrick Morgan....
    Scoop politics | 12-09
  • ACT says Feds boss right to be wary of shadow party ambition
    “Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers boss is right to caution the primary industry of his concern about downright awful permutations over Ministerial roles should the 'left' cabal seize power afterSeptember 20th ,” Don Nicolson ACT primary industry...
    Scoop politics | 12-09
  • Internet Party Insults Students
    "I sometimes wonder if the Internet Party is giving students an intelligence test," says ACT Epsom Candidate David Seymour...
    Scoop politics | 12-09
  • ACT Leader Dr Jamie Whyte, ACT Headquarters
    ACT to Strengthen Rights to Self Defence and Introduce a New Crime for Home Invasion...
    Scoop politics | 12-09
  • Closing the Gap on Health and Housing
    “Inequality is the biggest problem facing New Zealand at the present time” says Peter Malcolm National Secretary of Closing the Gap. It underlies many of our social ills, poverty, lack of trust, an economy that could do much better, and...
    Scoop politics | 12-09
  • A tale of misery and destruction which ACT can stop
    On the 29th of August a man came before a Judge in the North Shore District Court...
    Scoop politics | 12-09
  • Fair travel for support workers removes existing injustice
    Human Rights Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue welcomes the Government’s announcement today that it has corrected a wrong for community support workers by agreeing to pay for travel time and for petrol costs when travelling between clients....
    Scoop politics | 12-09
  • TV ONE Election Coverage Winning Ratings
    FRIDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2014 The 2014 General Election is fast-approaching and ONE News will lead be leading the way with coverage. ONE News was the most-watched programme in New Zealand in August, with an average audience of over 700,000 viewers...
    Scoop politics | 12-09
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