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All in the game

Written By: - Date published: 10:10 am, May 9th, 2012 - 77 comments
Categories: benefits, capitalism, class war - Tags:

Everyone’s leaped on the Nats’ contraceptives for benies bid to distract from banks.com. Guess I’ll jump in too.

Free stuff for poor people: good. Making contraceptives more available: good. Linking taking contraception with accessing benefits: bad. Targeting only beneficiaries: smells like eugenics. Targeting their daughters too: undoubtedly eugenic.

If they didn’t want to do eugenics, they could have got free contraception to women other ways.

From the start, the core of capitalist elitist philosophy (or self-justification) has been that the world/God rewards the good. Therefore, they’re rich because they’re good and, so, deserve to be rich. Ipso facto, the poor must be lazy, moral degenerates who have it coming. Better for everyone if they die from lack of healthcare and decent housing or, better, never breed at all.

Without that belief structure, the justification for the grinding poverty and stunning inequality found in capitalism disappears, and so does the system.

Eugenics has been and remains a logical endpoint of capitalist morality.

And, for a million dollars of taxpayer cash, worth every cent in media distraction.

77 comments on “All in the game ”

  1. ianmac 1

    Those from an older time must be gob-smacked through their dentures. 50 years ago contraceptives were pretty basic – until the Pill arrived. Available to all. What control it then gave couples. Later there was a long term injection available but that could have serious unpleasant side effects.
    And now targetting beneficiaries rather than all women is so wrong. Wonder what happens when the proposed injection wears out. Is there a risk that women could get pregnant as the effect wears off. What a surprise that would be.

    • McFlock 1.1

      Oh, you know how it is – make female beneficiaries will be booked for a Winz appointment just before their contraceptive/benefit is due to expire, and their case manager can give them their shots and drenching, then send them back into the fields. 
      And if they miss the appointment their benefit gets cut. 

      • Vicky32 1.1.1

        And if they miss the appointment their benefit gets cut.

        Yes, indeed, I could write the letter they would send now!
        “Dear Ms XXXX,
        Benefit number XXX-XXXX-XXXX
        As you know, your contraceptive implant will run out on the 7th of July, and it is a part of your benefit obligation with us, to have it renewed. Phone our 0800 number before the 1 July to make an appointment with us. If you fail to meet this obligation your benefit will be cancelled…

  2. Lanthanide 2

    I thought this article on stuff was quite interesting, as it does suggest that there is some level of ‘breeding as a business’ going on in some parts of the country, where they literally don’t have any other options: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6884359/Cracking-it-on-welfare-in-Huntly

    Strangely this was more prominent earlier, but now if it weren’t for being Most Popular or an Editor’s Pick, it wouldn’t be on the front page of stuff.

    • bbfloyd 2.1

      ewwww……way to misuse a social/economic disaster area to make your bigotry known….have you ever been to huntly? it’s a social/economic wasteland…. it’s been emptying out for decades…. and you think this situation applies to the other 99.9% of the country…?
      one would have to be thick not to know which side of the fence the editorial staff of stuff sits, yet you still give their propaganda pieces credibility? … ewwwww!

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1


        I’ve never been to Huntly.

        I don’t know what bigotry I’m displaying here though. Right-wing people repeatedly say “breeding for a business”, whereas those on the left (and those involved in welfare) steadfastly say it basically doesn’t happen. And yet here we have a stuff article where, interviewing actual people in that situation, it appears that it may be happening.

        Somehow reading all available evidence makes me a bigot?

        • Carol

          The article does show what a wasteland those youngsters live in, with little indication of opportunities or a better life. In that context, what else is there for many young people to do, but have children, or live for the moment.

          But the statistics don’t show any significant amount of young people on the DPB – teenagers make up only 2-3% of those on DPB – so hardly any evidence that there is widespread abuse of the benefit by teenagers.

          A news article singling out a couple of youngsters that seem to be doing that just re-enforces the incorrect assumption that large amounts of teenagers are doing that. It’s playing on prejudices.

          • Psycho Milt

            You do know why only a small proportion of those on the DPB are teenagers, right? Hint: if you’re 16, in less than four years you won’t be a teenager any more, regardless of whether you’re a beneficiary or not. A more interesting figure would be the proportion of people currently receiving the DPB who first received it before the age of 20 – that one would make your eyes water.

            • McFlock

              feel free to provide a source for my watery eyes and bleeding heart…

            • Carol

              The stats Tim Watkins produced has 20-24 year olds making up 14-17% of those on DPB – hardly eye-watering stuff.


              The other stats there don’t really support your proposition.

            • Psycho Milt

              The NZ Herald comes to the rescue with figures from the Ministry:

              How does “52 per cent of mothers on the DPB and aged 29 or under at the end of [2009] first received the DPB or EMA as teenagers” sound? Certainly makes my eyes water, but maybe you have a higher threshold for colossal and pointless waste than I do…

              • RedLogix

                Righto Psycho… lets quote the rest:

                The finding means that the Government’s review of the welfare state led by economist Paula Rebstock is even more challenging than had been thought because most teenagers who have babies early come from broken families, often with backgrounds of gangs, drugs, alcohol and abuse that cannot be solved simply by changing welfare rules.

                So umm… gangs, drugs, alcohol and abuse. All bad things. Now lets dump more bad things on them and see how it all gets better?

                • higherstandard

                  “So umm… gangs, drugs, alcohol and abuse. All bad things. Now lets dump more bad things on them and see how it all gets better?”

                  I might be misinterpreting what you’re saying … however if not how is trying to get some long acting contraception used in this group, dumping more bad things on them and seeing how it all gets better ?

              • “…dump more bad things on them…” in the form of offering them highly subsidised long-term contraception? Oh, the horror! Have we lost all humanity?

                But do tell, RedLogix. We have a good number of children growing up with all the benefits that foetal alcohol syndrome, neglect, poverty and violent abuse can confer. The govt feels that offering these kids free contraception so there’s a possibility they might get as old as 20 before embarking on the next generation of similarly damaged kids is a worthwhile endeavour. Your preference would appear to be that the govt is morally bound to invite them to go forth and multiply, as their efforts will be unfailingly and unobjectingly underwritten by the taxpayer, and more foetal-alcohol-syndrome kids suffering neglect and abuse is just what the country could do with. I’m interested in the rationale behind that, if there is one.

              • rosy

                ‘first received’ not ‘continuously received’ features in that sentence. You can receive it as a teenager, go back to work, get married, have kids, marriage breakdown and hey presto… another stint on the benefit while getting your life back together.

                • Yeah, no doubt that’s exactly what happened to all those thousands of people. I was a waster for over two years and never drew a benefit for more than a few months continuously – “continuously received” is a handy figleaf for apologists, nothing more.

                  • rosy

                    It’s much more than nothing more. It entirely changes the validity of your interpretation of that sentence.

                    • Bollocks. The Ministry’s own figures tell us that fully half of the sample they had figures for had first drawn a benefit as teenagers. No, they won’t have all drawn a benefit continuously over the entire period, and you’d be an idiot to claim they did, but the figures were requested to back up the view that there is a genuine long-term problem with people going on the DPB as teenagers, and they do a motherfucker of a job of backing up that view IMHO.

                    • rosy

                      You cannot claim there is a genuine long term problem with teenagers going on the DPB unless it is continuous. Otherwise there is no more of a long-term problem with teenagers than a long-term problem with anyone else. All that sentence tells you is that some teenagers go on some kind of benefit, and some people on the DPB 29 and under also received “some kind of benefit” as teenagers. (btw does 29 and under mean 20-29 or 16-29?).

                      I’d also be interested in knowing if teenager mothers were on a benefit longer because they are studying. I know when I was studying I was listed as DPB where others without children had student allowance on their govt handouts.

                      Really, if you want to draw a conclusion about the problem of teenagers on the DPB do so, but not using that sentence to claim something it hasn’t stated.

                    • You cannot claim there is a genuine long term problem with teenagers going on the DPB unless it is continuous.

                      Half the people on the DPB aged under 30 got their first benefit as teenagers. Pretend it’s not a problem all you like, you’re only fooling yourself.

        • Vicky32

          I’ve never been to Huntly.

          I have, and it’s one of the outer circles of hell… 🙁
          (Lanth, may I suggest that you have reasons to want to believe in breeding for a business?)

          • Lanthanide

            I do find it quite funny that you’ve pegged me as some proponent of the right, Vicky, and therefore interpret everything I say through that lens.

    • Te Reo Putake 2.2

      Hmmmm, nothing in that article that confirms women in Huntly get pregnant to get a benefit. The only quotes about that canard are from blokes saying they think it happens. And one quote from a sensible young chap who has spotted that if we paid proper wages in NZ, we’d have less social problems overall.

      • Lanthanide 2.2.1

        Did you miss this bit?

        “Shanelle says she wouldn’t take the contraceptive, even free – “put the money in the bucket”.

        Get the kid and take the money. She’s laughing, maybe playing up.”

        • Te Reo Putake

          Yeah, I think you’re right. I read that line as referring to the cost of the condoms (ie just gimme the ten bucks and I’ll decide what to do with it), but, on reflection that’s the meaning the reporter gives it.

  3. Carol 3

    It’s all one big dog whistle…. a bennie-bashing distraction. Take a look at the results of (dodgy) news website polls…. so it seems to be working for the Nats, tapping into negative stereotypes and prejudices that righties like to generate and maintain.

    e.g. see the poll here:

    Similar result to the phone poll on Campbell Live last night.

    • grassroots 3.1

      Agreed Carol.
      In dollar terms it is relatively small.  If the idea was to reduce state dependancy then I agree with Metiria Turei’s comment that those in recepit of working for families should also have access to state funded contraception.

    • ianmac 3.2

      The phone poll on Campbell had a poorly worded question. Yes might mean free long term contraceptives are OK, but whether targeting beneficiaries is ethical was not available. If you answered no, did that mean that you didn’t approve of long term contraceptive. I didn’t/couldn’t answer.

  4. vto 4

    So hang on – discouragement of one lot of beneficiaries (dpb) from having childrena and encouragement of another lot of beneficiaries (wff) to have children. And what about the simply outright poor? Why do they not fit the logic too?

    Talk about fucked up in so many ways.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Why do they not fit the logic too?

      Because there’s no logic to it, just pure bigotry and prejudice.

  5. Stuart Mathieson 5

    Reproduction has always been an issue, social, political and religious. Ask any anthropologist. Sue Bradford and others have read their Plato, Engels and Brownmiller. The nuclear family is evil, the nursery of capitalism and patriarchy. Ergo solo mums financed by the State. If that isn’t intervention what is it? There is no such thing as a free condom.

    • Deano 5.1

      now write it again in haiku.

      • Stuart Mathieson 5.1.1

        …. and they are referred to in some radical communities as “breeders”. Very 1984!

        [lprent: Bullshit assertion that exists only in your imagination. Just had a look through your previous comments. I can’t be bothered with complete idiots – permanently banned. ]

      • McFlock 5.1.2

        Plato and Engels
        Bright sunlight burning the grass
        Bradford likes peasants.

        • Olwyn

          Well done McFlock: a haiku produced at speed with the lines laid out in the correct five-seven-five syllable formation and all.

          • McFlock

            don’t forget the symbolic reference to nature that ties in the beginning and end, that was the difficult bit  🙂

          • Te Reo Putake

            And the required ‘action’ (burning the grass), too.
            5 7 5 is not ‘correct’, Olwyn. There is no set formula, that has just become the western custom. It’s a terrific discipline, haiku, though no match for EJ Thribb, obviously.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    Bennie bashing is this nations perennial second favourite sport (Nat Super and WFF recipients seemingly exempted).

    The sadistic, Hobbit loving type of kiwi just loves putting the slipper into ‘solo’ mums. And this contraceptive plan heh, spawned, by the punitive ideology that drove ACTs Rebstock Report gives them a prime opportunity to indulge.

    Linking obvious state power over beneficiaries with controlling women’s reproductive rights is surely “PC nanny statism gone mad” as the the righties like to blather on about.

  7. Pete 7

    It should be noted that visits to Family Planning clinics are already free for people under 22 and $5 for those with a Community Services Card. This announcement is just a dog whistle.

  8. The Dominion editorial on this sums up what I think will be an easy majority view on it.

    Editorial: Contraceptive plan makes sense

    Every year, thousands of working Kiwi couples reluctantly delay having children or accept the heartbreaking reality that they cannot add to their existing families because of their financial situation. It is simply not fair to expect them to support beneficiaries who continue to have children in the knowledge others will provide for them.

    Social Development Minister Paula Bennett’s plan to fund free, long-term reversible contraception for female beneficiaries who wish to use it is not, as some have tried to paint it, a punitive or coercive measure. Rather, it encourages good family planning by removing a financial barrier that might otherwise prevent access to effective and convenient methods such as implants and IUDs.

    The howls of outrage from the usual suspects, who have branded the move barbaric, elitist and an unjustified intrusion by the state, do not bear scrutiny. Auckland Action Against Poverty spokeswoman Sue Bradford’s insistence, for example, that women “have the right to control their own reproduction” overlooks the fact that nobody is telling them they do not.

    Ms Bradford is also ignoring the important reality that women have a responsibility to ensure they can provide for the children they already have before having more. Those who rely on a benefit clearly do not meet that test, and taxpayers have a right to expect them to make the same choices and take the same precautions as working families that would dearly love to have more children, but cannot afford to.

    Greens co-leader Metiria Turei’s claim, meanwhile, that the move amounts to the state telling beneficiaries what contraception they should use is simply silly. The Government is not telling anyone what to do, merely making resources available to allow female beneficiaries who are in a relationship or sexually active to make choices that might not otherwise be open to them.

    For too long, governments have ducked the issue of women who continue to have children while on a benefit, despite the evidence that overwhelmingly shows that those born into welfare-dependent homes have far worse health, educational and social outcomes than those born into families with parents who work.

    The fact that 29 per cent of women on a benefit have had a child while on the benefit is therefore something that should be of deep concern to all New Zealanders.

    And as they say, “as long as the service remains completely voluntary – and it is difficult to see how it could not be, and remain within the law – there is no rational reason to oppose it.”

    But that doesn’t stop the irrational few having a voice.

    • Carol 8.1

      And in the middle of all this “rationality’ we have this, which belies all the ardent pleas that it’s about free choice, and giving those on benefits “resources” to better manage their lives:

      Ms Bradford is also ignoring the important reality that women have a responsibility to ensure they can provide for the children they already have before having more. Those who rely on a benefit clearly do not meet that test, and taxpayers have a right to expect them to make the same choices and take the same precautions as working families that would dearly love to have more children, but cannot afford to.

      That’s the dogwhistle right there, – a coercive undercurrent that contradicts all the more dominant claims of free choice by Bennett and Key on this issue.

      It’s the emotive dogwhistle that relies on irrational negative stereotypes of beneficiaries… especially female beneficiaries. And the fathers? Do women get these children from sperm banks? What’s rational about ignoring the role of males in reproduction? Do these women have access to jobs that would, in the short or long term, provide for them and/or their families?

      • John 8.1.1

        Don’t you think continuing to have children while being supported by working people’s taxes is irresponsible?

    • Lanthanide 8.2

      “And as they say, “as long as the service remains completely voluntary – and it is difficult to see how it could not be, and remain within the law – there is no rational reason to oppose it.””

      There was an interview with some woman (no idea who or what her specific role was) last night on Checkpoint Radio NZ where she talked about how it doesn’t matter what the official policy is, there are always caseworkers in WINZ who get the wrong end of the stick, or beneficiaries who misunderstand what the rules actually are.

      She gave an example of a teenager who was told by his case manager that because he hadn’t applied for “50 jobs” that day, he wasn’t eligible for the particular benefit he was asking for, despite that not being the legislation. He was in fact eligible for what he wanted, but it was the case manager that was implying (essentially) their own standard.

      She was concerned, and certain, that the same sort of thing would happen with regards to contraception, regardless of whether it was said to be compulsory or purely voluntary – merely introducing the idea will cause some case managers to (for whatever reason) try and apply it to their clients.

    • weka 8.3

      Speaking of irrational, I couldn’t get past this

      Every year, thousands of working Kiwi couples reluctantly delay having children or accept the heartbreaking reality that they cannot add to their existing families because of their financial situation. It is simply not fair to expect them to support beneficiaries who continue to have children in the knowledge others will provide for them.

      Is the writer so stupid as to think that only women on the DPB get pregnant when they can’t afford to? Other low income women never have unplanned pregnancies? All women on the DPB who get pregnant planned to do so? FFS.
      If this wasn’t about bennie bashing/eugenics, if NACT really wanted to put their money where their mouth is, contraception of all kinds would be being offered to all low income women. As would free access to any GP visit necessary for a prescription, or follow ups due to side effects. Abortion would be available on demand and easily accessible.

      • Vicky32 8.3.1

        Abortion would be available on demand and easily accessible.

        It is, really, something I wish people here would admit! 🙁


      • John 8.3.2

        Sure low income people get pregnant. But it’s their own money, they are at least taking responsibility for their actions.

        • rosy

          Sure low income people get pregnant. But it’s their own money

          Until they end up on the benefit because, say, they lost their jobs in a recession. Then they’re not low income any more, they’re bludgers, right?

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    “But that doesn’t stop the irrational few having a voice.” Agreed Pete as we saw with the United Future voting figures.

    Get it through your somewhat impervious skull, the power relationships involved mean Paula Benefit’s contraception diversion manages to cover many undesirable bases, but ultimately is anti woman, anti beneficiary and just exacerbates divisions among New Zealanders.

    • The only division I can see on this is between a few irrationals and common sense.

      But you’re right in one way, it is anti-(being a)-beneficiary – it aims to make it easier for people to get off benefits and into work, which is known to have a beneficial effect on their children.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1

        And your part of the “irrationals” and anti-common sense.

      • Reagan Cline 9.1.2

        “People off benefits and into work and the (beneficial ?) effect on their children”

        An aim many would support – if that is the aim of the proposed welfare reforms.

        The proposed means of achieving that are what many people disagree with.

        You seem to me to consistently argue that the end justifies the means.

  10. With so much social pressure on people to have (more) children, I can’t object in principle to the idea of being more generous to beneficiaries who make a decision to access contraception not only having it subsidised, but even being rewarded by the state for doing so. (in fact I’m quite fine with a fixed payment being offered to anyone committing to contraception or even sterilization)

    What I do object to about this proposal is that baseline benefits are low enough that it may be a form of subtle coercion, setting benefits too low (and continually chipped away by inflation…) for people to take proper care of themselves or their dependents and then offering this additional payment creates ethical issues with the policy- I don’t want people FORCED to have less children, and that’s what this is smelling of right now. I’d probably make a similar argument if a Labour government did this without boosting benefits to realistic levels, too.

    • There’s another more important coercion – self-coercion to get off a benefit and into work before having children. That’s better for everyone.

      • McFlock 10.1.1


        Just because you bend over backwards to suck key’s cock doesn’t mean that the English language should do the same. 

      • It’s not coercion if you do it yourself, Pete. Don’t make me dictionary-bash you on this, you wouldn’t like it.

        Yes, people who want into a career should definitely be assisted in that, but part of that may mean actually putting more government funding into their cases to assist them in getting their careers started or getting back into a job.

        And it’s worthwhile to mention that raising kids and keeping a household running is the equivalent of a full-time job, and deserves to be valued that way. Complaining that mums are on the benefit is roughly the equivalent of complaining about someone doing work experience joining in a work lunch- they’ve both deserved more than what they’re getting, and in both cases you’re incredibly lucky they aren’t demanding to be paid.

      • Vicky32 10.1.3

        self-coercion to get off a benefit and into work before having children. That’s better for everyone.

        Sure it is. But it would be nice if the jobs existed! (Even Paula Benefit has admitted that they don’t.)

  11. Rodel 11

    I don’t mind but free contraception should also be offered to the defective rich wo/men in Epsom/Remuera who keep producing little Banks actoids.

  12. Olwyn 12

    I notice I have a comment in moderation. Something went wrong with my computer this morning and a few embedded things disappeared, including my details in the comment window. I have two email addresses but cannot remember which one I usually use here. Hence I may have entered the wrong one.
    [Bunji: evidently it was the other one… both cleared for commenting now]

    • Olwyn 12.1

      Thanks. I will now delete all my anxious blather, so as to remove a distraction.

  13. Olwyn 13

    Trying the other email to see if that too takes me into moderation

  14. Olwyn 14

    I see now that I did use the wrong email, and would like to stick with the one I am using now. Sorry to be a bore.

  15. Carol 15

    Tim Watkin gives sme useful stats of different demographic groups on the DPB in 2007 & 2011.

    Women certainly make up the biggest group – 87-89% compared with 10-12% being male.

    But the group that has the smallest proportion on the DPB is the 16-19 year olds: 2.7-3.1%

    So it’s hardly the teenagers who are “breeding as a business” in large numbers. So it’s hard to see who is being targeted with this free contraceptive policy.

    The biggest age group is the 25-39 year olds (46-51%… and declining slightly), followed by the 40-54 year olds (26-28%).

    The biggest groups caring for dependent children are those caring for a child 6 years or under (60-62%) and those caring for 2 or more dependent children. (48-51%).

    So if anyone is “breeding when they can’t afford it” it’s the 25-39 year olds. But isn’t that the age when most women have children?
    And the total number of 18-64 year olds on the DPB are in 2007 – 97,142
    in 2011 – 113,005

    So really hardly a sizeable group draining the government coffers.

    • oftenpuzzled 15.1

      I thought it was interesting too that the stats show there are twice as many women over 55 yrs on the DPB then teenage women. The contraception policy is for teenagers not all women the debate seems to have widened into somehow

      • Carol 15.1.1

        I’m not sure why that contrast between teenagers and women over 55 years is relevant? Sure it is double for the over 55s, but double a very small percentage makes for a still very small percentage of over 55s on the DPB.

        The biggest contrast with the teenage group is the 25-39 year olds…. but that just highlights how targeting teenagers with free contraception is a pretty dodgy policy.

        • Psycho Milt

          I thought it was interesting too that the stats show there are twice as many women over 55 yrs on the DPB then teenage women.

          To figure out why there might be more women 55+ than teenagers getting the DPB, have a momentary think about the age ranges covered and the likely population sizes. Likewise, the 25-39 age group.

          • Colonial Viper

            Less moral outrage in attacking middle aged DPB women though, better to focus on demonising the ones you can characterise as young loose slappers.

            • Psycho Milt

              Apart from Colin Craig, the only moral outrage on offer appears to have been from the left. Believe it or not, your emotional gut reaction isn’t the measure of all things.

  16. aerobubble 16

    So prostitutes will take time out, go on a benefit and get free contraception??? Maybe even stop using condoms? will case workers now be able to demand pretty benefitaries go on the game???

    Women will ask their case worker about contraception to get a free doctors visit?
    Or are they to pay for the doctors visit themselves, which would mean Bennett was
    wrong to say it would not cost the beneficiary anything.

    Look the fact we don’t have a human rights commissioner in this country, or one with any clout or integrity, should leave the government to target the poor in this way. Why are kids of beneficiaries more unworthy than any other peoples yet born?

    Imagine Hitler for a second, declaring that all gypsies can get free contraception? for the good of the fatherland.

    Nobody is saying that contraception is evil but choosing winners in free contraception is wrong.

    This is a disgraceful policy.

    • Lanthanide 16.1

      “So prostitutes will take time out, go on a benefit and get free contraception??? Maybe even stop using condoms?”

      Newsflash: contraceptive devices don’t protect you from STDs.

      • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1

        Newsflash: Condoms are not 100% reliable protection against pregnancy

        • Lanthanide

          And? What?

          • Draco T Bastard

            Meaning that free contraceptives would still be a benefit to prostitutes. I’m all for free contraception – just make it available for everyone.

            • Lanthanide

              Sure, they’re useful, but I’d suspect sensible prostitutes would already have EUDs or other long-term contraceptives in place – getting pregnant isn’t very good for business.

              The point I was making is that the availability of a free contraceptive would not suddenly make prostitutes stop using condoms, because condoms serve a very different purpose that only a prophylactic can.

  17. captain hook 17

    mutate now.
    beat the rush.

  18. handle 18

    Isn’t it johndotbanks, not banks.com?

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