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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

Important links

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    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • Wild West culture a result of gung-ho government
    Successive employment law changes over the last six years that have taken away work rights have led to a Wild West employer culture in many workplaces, Labour’s workplace relations spokesperson Andrew Little says. A government audit of 23 Christchurch building...
    Labour | 05-11
  • Dr. Kennedy Graham’s speaks in the 2014 Ministerial Statement –...
    I have listened closely to the Prime Minister's statement this morning and to this debate over New Zealand's engagement towards the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In my contribution I want to focus on the broader aspect...
    Greens | 05-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T
    One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Morbid Symptoms: Can Labour Be Born Anew?
    THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labour’s Leadership Contest is...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • What’s Small, White, and Having Trouble Attracting New People?
    If your answer was something intimately connected to the person of Peter Dunne … then you’d be right. Last night, P-Dunney decided to bring his comedy and/or hair stylings to the twitterverse; penning a potentially somewhat ill-advised tweet in which he compared...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • LATE at the Auckland Museum review – Slacktivisim: Its not just for Slack...
    Monday night is my yoga night. I’m not really very good it, I don’t really have the bendy, but I made a New Years resolution. This Monday however, I decided to put the yoga on prone and attend a gig...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared
      This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Real reasons to fear Government’s new approach to child poverty
    Now  I really am worried.  Selling state houses is bad enough but a taking a ‘social investment focus’ to deal with child poverty? “The Treasury will issue a Request for Information inviting submissions from people who work with vulnerable New...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Power to the people!
    With all the huffing and puffing of the election out of the way and the right-wing still in ascendancy after 30 years of community-sapping neoliberalism it was a pleasure to attend a strike by workers at Carl’s Jr in Lincoln...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: OIA reveals WINZ trespassing 400 people a year
    W.I.N.Z is broken and it’s breaking my heart. Every year WINZ issues trespass notices to just under 400 people. 2008 / 418 2009 /  382 2010 /  347 2011 /  411 2012 /  373 2013 /  384 And this year...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • So David Farrar and the Government were wrong on gangs after all?
    Oh the predictability of this… Ministers acted on inaccurate gang data Cabinet signed off tough new measures to tackle gangs on the basis of inaccurate information which over-estimated the scale of the crime problem. The briefing paper told ministers 4000...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Why lifelong prisoner surveillance is evidence of our failing prisons
    The intrusion of more and more State surveillance is easier to implement if the State begins with groups the populace are frightened of. Muslim radicals, Maori radicals, environmental radicals and prisoners are all easy fodder for ratings chasing media to...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • REVIEW: The Blind Date Project
    The Blind Date Project Silo Theatre 4-29 November The Basement  Part of the excitement of a live performance, be it music or theatre or a circus with trapeze artists and lion tamers, is the risk that it could all go...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Good News For The Left!
    EVER SINCE the debacle of 20 September 2014, the New Zealand left has been hanging out for some good news. Today, thanks to Stephen Mills, the Executive Director of UMR Research, it has finally got some. UMR Research has for...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • The SIS won’t use 48 hour warrantless spying for ‘evidence’
    Let’s just slay one of the myths the Government are trying to use right now to justify the SIS 48 hour warrantless search fishing expeditions shall we? The Government has been telling all who listen over the weekend that the SIS...
    The Daily Blog | 09-11
  • There’s a better way of discouraging would-be jihadists
    The Prime Minister claims there is a growing threat from New Zealanders attracted to Islamic State and he wants to increase state powers to watch such people and take away their passports. I believe there is a better way to...
    The Daily Blog | 09-11
  • Nationwide Day of Protest Captures Public Attention on TPPA
    . . NZ, Wellington, 8 November 2014 – Wellington basked in a beautiful summers’ day with nary a breeze and only a few clouds in a clear, blue sky. The sort of summer day that we keenly await after months...
    The Daily Blog | 09-11
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • 2013 Assessment of New Zealand’s National Integrity Systems
    SPEAKER TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: Former Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague, former legal counsel at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum 2008-2014. Introduced by Helen Sutch, Victoria University Council,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Green Party ignoring Waimea’s environmental benefits
    Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has overlooked the environmental benefits the proposed Waimea Community Dam will bring the Tasman community, says IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Women’s use of violence in violent relationships
    More than 80 percent of women who live with a physically violent partner will not initiate violence when they are not being hit, according to new research....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health
    Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health A credit score doesn’t only boil down a person’s entire financial history to a single number and somehow predict their credit-worthiness, it might also be saying something about a person’s...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • State Services Commissioner on Roger Sutton Investigation
    State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today said the investigation into Roger Sutton’s conduct was robust. Roger Sutton chose to resign as Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) yesterday....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Predator Free NZ project welcomed
    Federated Farmers and the conservation organisation Forest & Bird are welcoming the Predator Free New Zealand initiative as an ambitious but achievable project that will have real benefits for conservation and the economy....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Stock rustling set to continue under lax laws
    The theft and illegal slaughter of farm stock can only be expected to continue if tougher laws are not introduced, said ACT Leader David Seymour today....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Visit of President Xi Jinping to New Zealand
    As president Xi Jinping of China pays short visit to New Zealand, of Friends of Tibet (NZ) has called upon Foreign Minister Hon Murray McCully and the Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key to raise the issue of Human Rights...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Right to Life Congratulates the new Labour Leader
    Right to Life congratulates Andrew Little MP, on being elected as the new leader of the Labour Party. This is a very important election as Andrew Little is now a Prime Minister in waiting His election follows a line of...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Reply to open letter on earthquake repair in Christchurch
    You raise many points and I acknowledge the frustration some people are experiencing when their homes are still not repaired or rebuilt. We have consistently said that the scale and complexity of events has always meant that it will not...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Andrew Little New Labour Party Leader
    In a press conference held on Tuesday in the Labour Party Caucus room at Parliament, it was announced Andrew Little had been voted in as Leader of the Labour party....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Liam Butler interviews Professor Jay Kandampully
    Jay Kandampully is Professor of Consumer Sciences in the Department of Human Sciences. He also serves as a visiting professor at University of Innsbruck, Austria; Nanjing University of Science and Technology, China; and Furtwangen University, Germany;...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Judge joins calls for tourist driver tests
    A district court judge has joined the growing number of professionals calling for tourist driving tests....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU congratulates new Labour leader
    The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union congratulates Andrew Little on his election as Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. “I have worked closely with Andrew and know he will be a strong and successful leader,” says Bill Newson,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Andrew Little elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • WHO Highlights Devastating Global Impact of Drowning
    The global drowning report released today by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 372,000 lives are lost each year to drowning. Safekids Aotearoa, as a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, has joined the worldwide effort to focus more attention...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPA must refuse phosphate mining application
    Text of the Press Release issued by KASM (Kiwis against Seabed Mining), Greenpeace and Deep Sea Conservation Coalition on 17 November 2014: “EPA must refuse phosphate mining application” The New Zealand Environmental Protection Agency should refuse...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Compulsory smoke alarms needed in rental accommodation
    The tragic deaths of three young people during a house fire in Hamilton, hot on the heels of a 3 year old dying in a house fire the previous week, point directly to the need for compulsory smoke alarms in...
    Scoop politics | 17-11
  • CAA fines Minister for security breach
    The Civil Aviation Authority has completed its investigation into an alleged security breach at Christchurch International Airport by then Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee and two aides on 24 July, 2014....
    Scoop politics | 17-11
  • Pacific climate funding must prioritise the poor
    Caritas supports the government’s prioritising of the Pacific for direct climate change related funding, rather than making a major contribution to the global Green Climate Fund....
    Scoop politics | 17-11
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