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Bene bashing

Written By: - Date published: 11:27 am, June 1st, 2019 - 101 comments
Categories: babies, benefits, Carmel Sepuloni, child welfare, class, families, greens, human rights, labour, national, nick smith, Politics, same old national, Simon Bridges, Social issues, welfare - Tags: , , , , ,

The Government’s proposals for welfare reform has National licking its lips thinking of ways to attack beneficiaries for political advantage.

Simon Bridges kicked things off with this tweet:

It is funny but as pointed out by David McCormick on twitter the phrasing looks it has come straight out of Crosby Textor.

And onto the debate concerning the Social Assistance Legislation (Budget 2019 Welfare Package) Amendment Bill.

The bill is designed to implement three things:

  1. Align benefit increases to increases in the average wage. This will result in a gradual increase over time.
  2. Increase the benefit abatement amount from $80 per week to $150 per week.
  3. Do away with the penalty for mothers who do not name fathers of their children.

The provisions are hardly radical.  The first two have been talked about for years.

Carmel Sepuloni set out the justification for the third in her speech when she said this:

The repealing of section 192 of the Social Security Act 2018 will ensure the removal of a discriminatory sanction that has been allowed to exist in legislation for far too long. Section 192 of the Social Security Act 2018—formerly section 70A—reduces the benefits of sole parents if they do not name the other parent of their child and apply for child support. This sanction does not apply to any other parents receiving other benefits who might choose not to apply for child support, such as those receiving benefits who have found new partners.

In 2016, the National Government was advised that there was insufficient evidence to support that the then section 70A sanction was fulfilling its purpose of collecting child support from unnamed parents. That briefing also said that section 70A sanctions were associated with poverty and long-term benefit dependence. The sanction is discriminatory and creates undue hardship for children. This Government wants to ensure New Zealand is the best place to be a child and the best place to raise a child. This means reducing child poverty, and it also means improving the well-being of New Zealand families. By repealing section 192 of the Social Security Act 2018, we are also removing the stigma and judgment on the women and children who have had this sanction imposed on them.

National indicated they agreed to the first two proposals.  But the chance to bash beneficiaries over the third was too hard to resist.

First up Louise Upston said this:

This is a tax cut for deadbeat dads, who aren’t going to be held financially responsible for their children. That’s the end of the day—$115 million. That’s the price tag: $115 million. The deadbeat dads are let off the hook. They are let off the hook.

Nick Smith chipped this in:

Why does this member support—why do you support deadbeat dads?

Maureen Pugh repeated the phrase:

The purpose of having the safety net of a benefit is well understood, but in terms of letting—as they’ve been called—deadbeat fathers off the hook and keeping them out of their children’s lives, we actually end up disadvantaging the children who the safety net is designed to protect. I think it’s a sad day when we make it easy for people to abdicate from their responsibilities. Let’s face it, a woman does not accidentally get pregnant; there is a father and he should be named.

Guess what phrase was highlighted in their riding instructions?

Agnes Loheni gave this rather confused argument against the change:

This is not the Government—this is about other hard-working New Zealanders who are contributing to this, who are paying for this. And they’ve got their own children to pay for, and at the moment now, these other hardworking New Zealanders have also got increased costs of living under this Government. So this is another burden on taxpayers.

It got worse:

This bill gives the message that we don’t value personal responsibility. No, it’s not rubbish. That is actually the message that comes through in this bill. This bill gives the message to the children that “Your dads don’t matter. In fact, your dads don’t exist.”

Then Jo Hayes took a turn:

Why on earth can’t the dad pay? If he wants to play, he’s got to pay. Every other parent—that is, couples in this country, married or not—that take that responsibility do that with a blink of an eyelid, and yet we have a small group that sit back and say, “No, you don’t have to pay. That’s OK, we understand.”—everyone except those that come in under those exemptions that my colleagues have already alluded to in this House.

She also said this:

No, all that does is just breed more and more beneficiaries, and we will see a lift in the rates of those young women—and it will be young women—that will end up being on that benefit, and for what reason? For what reason? Because their dad—the father of those kids—won’t cough up. He won’t cough up, and it is a shame.

Simon O’Connor was the worst:

I think that speech was rather symbolic—short and indicative of how much time they want fathers to spend with their children, which is, basically, very little.

The later stages of the bill contained the same levels of toxicity:

  • “What we don’t support is deadbeat dads getting off their financial responsibility, and instead that’s landing at the feet of hard-working taxpayers. “
  • “It’s letting dads get away with not taking their responsibilities as dad …”
  • “We know that the Government is made up, within its ranks, and particularly out of the Green Party, of people who fundamentally believe you should get paid the same whether you work or not, and that there should be no incentive on people to actually go out and get ahead—no reward for effort, and everybody should get the same whether they work or not.”
  • “We have a duty of care to where we put their tax dollars, and basically the Government is saying in this bill that we’re going to let dads off the hook.”

Thankfully the bill was eventually passed.

Michael Wood summed up their contributions quite well:

And Carmel Sepuloni summarised why the change to the law is the correct decision in this passage:

Mr Speaker, we heard some nasty things in the debate today, and I wanted to point that out because that really indicates where that side of the House is at. What the bill actually does is ensure that some of our poorest mothers and their children are not punished and thrust into further poverty because of a discriminatory policy that has proven not to work. Contrary to accusations that this bill is purely ideologically driven, it is, in fact, evidence based—evidence that the previous Government chose to ignore. And if there is a message that we want to send it is that this Government is committed to a fairer, more accessible welfare system, and that’s what this bill supports us to do.

The debate on welfare legislation in the House today has at times been nasty. It really does bring out the worst in right-wing ideology. I genuinely feel sad for those who have to bear the brunt of such misinformed, judgmental, and mean-spirited attitudes. Attitudes like this have never helped any individual family or us as a county to get ahead. There is no place for discrimination of people based on income, beneficiary or family status in a modern New Zealand, especially if we want to be an inclusive country where everyone can reach their potential and thrive.

What uplifts me is that the vast majority of New Zealanders do not share the National Party’s views on our poorest people, beneficiaries, and solo mums and their children any more. New Zealand has moved on, and can I suggest that the National Party get over their archaic thinking and also move with the times.

Well said Carmel.

Update: I missed this clanger from Maureen Pugh form the third reading debate:

One of the concerns that I’ve also got about not naming a father through this process, is that we then run the risk of losing track of the siblings of that child. So, for instance, if the parents were living in a close community, then chances are they would remain in that community, they may go on to have separate relationships, they may go on to have further children of their own. What are the chances, then, of those children finding themselves in relationships with siblings that they are unaware of? I think this is a terrible risk that we run by not keeping track—

I mean really?

101 comments on “Bene bashing ”

  1. Ad 1

    It would have been more useful if the government had been required to defend a major rise in benefits, rather than defend what is a minor tweak affecting a small minority.

    The government should save its defensive moral righteousness for budgeting real reform instead of studiously ignoring the great majority of recommendations that would help welfare beneficiaries.

    • SPC 1.1

      It's not politically possible to afford increasing benefit payments while primary and secondary teachers are striking over inadequate pay offers (given the pay increases in 2016 and 2017 were minimalist, this is really about an increase on the 2015 base that lasts to April 2022). Let alone the qualified teachers working in ECE whose pay is becoming marginally more than the MW (as this is increased).

      However where pressure for more action should go is in speeding up the process for increasing the amount beneficiaries can earn before abatement – the timetable for this is way too slow. And given the way the Warehouse and others are changing workplace conditions (casual hours) increasingly necessary.

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        I wonder how many of the teachers were expecting to get decent payrises that covered problems they had with Novopay and interest they had to pay on credit cards or such which they needed to carry them over. I bet there were quite a number who just signed and put up with it while they were jerked around by National.

      • Ad 1.1.2

        horseshit.

        • greywarshark 1.1.2.1

          Is that delivered free.? I am working on my garden now. The difficulty with not naming the comment when replying is that often you have to guess.

        • SPC 1.1.2.2

          You think they could increase the benefits and get away with saying there is no more money for teachers … few would agree.

    • SPC 1.2

      The governments approach of building on National's benefit increase (for those with children at least) maybe incremental but its beyond politics (it would be hard for National with budget surpluses and offering tax cuts to the haves to justify reversing any of it).

      1. fairer annual adjustments (should have been done by the last Labour government).

      2. winter power bill income supplement (ditto)

      3. extra money from part-time/casual work

      4. less onerous finance charges

      5. access to full entitlement

      6. access to hardship grants

      I think there is work to be done around refinancing debt (maybe via government assistance to charity groups/philanthropists) and there is an issue with debt repayment obligations out of limited benefit income.

      • greywarshark 1.2.1

        Repayment obligations for debt to beneficiaries is often on what would have been grants that were allowed for in the 1991 welfare slash, which did recognise there would be extra problems that would occur each year and so some hundred dollars could be applied for, with the invoice. Now you are supposed to repay on benefits that are ever lower, and if adjusted they are on the last year's figures so the price rises occur first, and then there is a belated catch-up?

      • Ad 1.2.2

        You want to look at serious welfare moves that pull people out of poverty, have a look at Poland.

        If this government wanted to really lever the poor out of poverty, they would make the Minimum Wage $20 an hour, and put the beneficiary weekly equivalent level $3 or $4 below that.

        And they could have made the for $20k tax free – from whatever source. Instead they did nothing to the tax system at all. This was the budget to do it. It wasn't a budget. It was a fudgeit.

        At 4% unemployed, this was the term to really heave against poverty. They didn't.

        In following terms when the economy softens to 1.5-2% growth and unemployment heads to 6-7%, they will realize the opportunity they lost here.

        The underclass will feel it all the more.

  2. Kat 2

    Move with the times and reinstate a 21st century ministry of works. The govt won't regret it, neither will the vast majority of the people in this country.

    • Sacha 2.1

      Because most beneficiaries are experienced digger-drivers just waiting for the right job?

      • Kat 2.1.1

        That is a very narrow, but light hearted view on what a MOW is about.

        • Sacha 2.1.1.1

          Construction is one of the least job-rich industries. Unless your MOW is somehow building creative/digital export assets, you need a different term.

          • Kat 2.1.1.1.1

            That is why I referred to a 21st century ministry of works. Call it whatever you like but the rationale for its existence in NZ remain the same.

            • Sacha 2.1.1.1.1.1

              I'd rather see a UBI and big public investment in skills across community and business organisations than a big sheltered workshop.

              • Kat

                Are you talking abut a "big sheltered workshop"……similar to public hospitals, schools…..

                • Sacha

                  If you make the primary purpose of hospitals and schools to be employing people rather than providing health or education services, then yes.

                  • Kat

                    Then as I suspected, we are not on the same page… metaphorically speaking.

                  • greywarshark

                    Too narrow Sacha. Once people have come out of education and health services if they are then fit, will want to have a job that will give them a living wage. Part of the reason they are needing health and education is that they have not been able to get a job up till then, and have become depressed and sick.

                    Things tend to tie in and flow on. Just providing better services is good, but not enough for ongoing wellbeing. You do tend to talk comments down it seems to me. Is there a a diploma for pruning ideas to the ground at gardening schools?

            • Sarah 2.1.1.1.1.2

              I agree 100% – have been banging on about this for the past few years and messaged Ministers about starting it up again. Someone suggested the Housing and Urban Development Authority could morph into a 21st century MOW. I haven't seen evidence of this yet though.

      • Peter Christchurh nz 2.1.2

        No Sacha, but maybe if real training programs were offered by Winz, it would help the current and increasing skill shortage in such things as digger drivers. And get people off the benefit, which would be great for them and great for the country.

        And scrap all those current scam courses that are just a cover for free labour for employers, like the current Z 'training schemes'.

        • Kat 2.1.2.1

          I have a hunch Peter that many are not aware how this country was built, how the architects, engineers, surveyors, electrical, bridge, rail and road construction and builders and so on were trained. I grew up at a time in this country when there was virtually no unemployment. There does not need to be any unemployment today either, nor a shortage of housing, food, education and health for all. Unfortunately this country was the victim of the neoliberal economic/social experiment, and the rot set in. We just need to reverse it.

          • Grant Insley 2.1.2.1.1

            There is virtually no unemployment right now!

            • Sarah 2.1.2.1.1.1

              I was young at the same time Kat is talking about and we had 9 unemployed. Compared to then we have huge unemployment – it's just that it's become the new normal to suggest that around 4% is nothing. It's everything to anyone who has ever been unemployed when there are no jobs available and no training for the ones which are.

            • Kat 2.1.2.1.1.2

              There are approximately 120,000 people looking for work currently in NZ. That is one side of the story. The other side is a large number of employed are on subsistence income, living in substandard housing and subsidised by the state which is an appalling situation in NZ.

            • Incognito 2.1.2.1.1.3

              Technically, you may be correct, but this is a simplistic view of the situation IMO.

              It does not say anything about under-employment. It does not mean that people have meaningful or dignifying jobs that pay well – teachers are one case in point but at least they are a respected profession. It does not mention that people have to work double shifts to make ends meet and still financially struggle.

              The national unemployment figure is as useful as GDP, CPI, or median wage, for example; they are aggregate measures tossed around by economists and politicians without telling the underlying story.

            • Annie Cass 2.1.2.1.1.4

              Grant, I think you need a dictionary. Look up "virtually" and "unemployment". I think you'll find you're wrong. Worse, you haven't given a thought to underemployment. A lot of poverty is due to people having to make do with half a job (or less) and half (or less) wages to pay for full time expenses. People do not choose to impoverish themselves, but make the best they can of the circumstances in which they find themselves. Then there's the issue of job security – how do you make life plans if you're not certain that your income will not vanish without notice in the near future?

              Unemployment is not, in my view, measured properly. We need to look not at "jobs" but at "livings" per head of population. Everybody has needs. Everyone alive needs food, and shelter, and in a civilized society you may add clothing and education, and possibly transport. Most of those aren't very elastic at a basic level. And there's near-constant upward pressure on the financial cost of them. Not everybody is equipped to hold down a full time job. Children aren't. The disabled may not be. The sick aren't. Those wtih pressing family responsibilities to the very young or the very old seldom are, unless those responsibilities can be devolved. Therefore a "living" may be defined as an income that can provide ALL of the basics of life for at least one person, and hopefully more. A living must support a family or the state must, or the family must die.

              So a healthy economy is one in which the number and distribution of "livings" as opposed to "jobs" is such that nobody is compelled to starve on the streets. We don't have that.

          • Adrian 2.1.2.1.2

            There was a lot of"unemployment " in the 50s and 60s Kat. People were in paid work in Govt departments like Post and Telegraph, Railways, MoW and offices but they were hugely overstaffed. I "worked "for the Railways between school and Uni and we just stood around and took turns lifting freight etc. It was also quite dangerous and injury prone because there were few forklifts and cranes etc.

            It was a way to occupy the otherwise unemployed, even farm was very manual work but the different problem there was today farm produce would be very expensive .

            • Kat 2.1.2.1.2.1

              Adrian, your conflating managerial inefficiency with unemployment. Then there is life’s learning experiences to consider. I agree govt depts were not the best examples of efficiency but in my view it is better to have people occupied and receiving an income that allows some dignity in living rather than being working poor or on the scrapheap.

              We have come a long way from those days and have the management expertise and modern systems available in 2019 to make it happen.

            • Bruce 2.1.2.1.2.2

              And now those non productive workers do the same thing as power company employees. Along with our power we pay for a huge industry of otherwise unemployable marketing, advertising and managing people to supply a necessity.

              • Sacha

                Max Bradford has caused so much harm the guy deserves to be in jail at best.

        • MickeyBoyle 2.1.2.2

          Does signing up to do a pre trade course at the local polytechnic affect your benefit?, and if it does, it bloody well shouldn't. What's stopping beneficiaries from entering training now?.

          • Peter Christchurh nz 2.1.2.2.1

            I am pretty sure that attending a pre trade training course does not affect benefit amount, but may be wrong.

            My step son attended one of these and it led to employment then an apprenticeship.

            But many of the courses Winz forces people to take are just scams, invariably run by ex Winz staff, where it takes 4 weeks just to write a cv.

  3. Blazer 3

    not surprised to see 'new improved' Paula…kept out of it.

    • Ffloyd 3.1

      I wonder if Paula Bennett received child suppport from the 'deadbeat dad' of her daughter? Or was he never named. Just idly wondering.

  4. Puckish Rogue 4

    This wouldn't happen under Judes leadership…

    • Wensleydale 4.1

      If there's any justice in the world, "Jude's leadership" is something we'll never have the abject horror of experiencing. Now stop fantasising and go take a cold shower.

  5. Actually, both sides are right. National are correct that this change benefits deadbeats and may well increase the number of sole-parent families on benefits, and Labour are correct that the change needs to be made despite those drawbacks.

    • mickysavage 5.1

      This legislation does not stop IRD from pursuing the father.

      I have spent some of my professional career being paid large amounts of money to establish the paternity of fathers so that they could pay the minimum weekly amount to the government to subsidise a benefit. It never made any sense to me.

      • Sam 5.1.1

        No, no, no, noo Mr Savage. This isn't the point where we laugh with the opposition, this is the point where we laugh at them. Accidental incest? could they be any more insecure.

        • Graeme 5.1.1.1

          Someone needs to quietly probe Mrs Pugh about her beliefs here, starting to sound a bit eugenic.

          Trouble is, unpacking a lower order Nat listie will result in a headlong plunge into the squirrel poo, going from the slightly nutty to the seriously deranged as they get replaced by the next unelected one.

        • bwaghorn 5.1.1.2

          Considering most blue bloods are inbreed I cant see why national have a problem with it.

        • Incognito 5.1.1.3

          Paradoxically, intra-class breeding is encouraged, but inter-class not so much. Maybe Maureen Pugh had a crush on Burt Reynolds when she was young and never got over watching Deliverance. Or maybe she doesn’t like duelling banjos, who knows.

          • Sam 5.1.1.3.1

            Yeah well beneficiaries are the largest most persistent users of the health and education, and health and education professionals have been coming back for a few years now saying they can't take it anymore. Y'know this monster grew up while those Nationals was chasing Dotcom around.

      • Psycho Milt 5.1.2

        Sure, it won't stop IRD pursuing the father, but I expect not knowing who the father is would make that pursuit fairly difficult.

        The point of pursuing them isn't so much to recover a trivial proportion of the benefit cost as to impose at least some level of consequence on fathering children. Men being what they are, if impregnating women were entirely free of consequences why would any of us wear a condom?

        • Sabine 5.1.2.1

          to protect you from disease?

          I mean, if you don't wear it to protect yourself from unwanted pregnancies and child care, alimony and such, at the very least wear it to protect you from disease.

          (you – men not you you 🙂 )

          • Psycho Milt 5.1.2.1.1

            I know that's true, but the male brain doing a calculation of (unknown but possibly low level of risk of sexually-transmitted disease from not wearing condom) versus (guaranteed less satisfactory sexual experience from wearing condom) is quite likely to resolve the calculation to: solution = (avoid wearing condom). At my age and state of health that's a calculation pretty much of academic interest only, but when I was young it was the potential consequences of impregnating someone that prompted me to use condoms, not the risk of disease.

  6. vto 6

    This from Nats who freely and commonly go about paying and doing cash jobs and dodging tax obligations all over the frikkin' place…

    … if their credibility is anything then the Nats should introduce legislation placing an obligation on any person who knows of a person or business doing a cash job, or taking the work vehicle on holiday, or using the work phone for personal purposes, to report them to IRD for tax evasion.

  7. vto 7

    Our economic policies require unemployment. To ensure wages stay low and there are a good supply of serfs. As such, those who are mandated to be so unemployed need to be looked after…

    … otherwise they will live on the streets, hijack your car, and give society the middle finger.

    • … otherwise they will live on the streets, hijack your car, and give society the middle finger.

      ^^^^

      Exactly, – and they are already doing it. In an interesting article , Martyn Bradbury writes that the Treasury eggheads are no longer the feared gatekeepers of neo liberalism , and that they , the wreckers of ' developmental Keynesianism ' need to be overthrown.

      Ummmmm – so the Treasury Nazgul are a bit, well, underwhelming …

      https://thedailyblog.co.nz/…/ummmmm-so-the-treasury-nazgul-are-a-bit-well-underw…

      And this ties in with trying to create a fair system of wages , unemployment benefits , – in fact just about every other broken down system such as education , health and housing we now suffer due directly to a failed economic and political ideology such as neo liberalism. It just aint gonna work.

      It would be best to strike now and roll these self appointed Treasury neo liberal high priests and instead fill those positions with Keynesionists. Particularly in light of their recent stupidity's. And after that ?- start the purge on all other govt dept's.

      I'd give it 2 years max to start seeing some incredibly good results across the board and an end to much of all the dialog that fills forums such as these , – and making way for issues that the public should be focusing on instead of debating whether one sector of society deserves to be able to feed a family or actually save some money or have a secure job, – hallmarks of a normal , healthy and functioning society , – not a broken down quasi third world shitheap nation that cant even identify where all the shit emanates from.

      Another benefit would be that we would no longer have to be assailed by peculiar little opinion men like Mike Hosking and co because they would be irrelevant and thus out of a job. But at least he would know that he would be looked after on the dole rather than having to sleep in his Ferrari.

  8. Booker 8

    For once, I agree with Simon Bridges! His assessment of Maureen Pugh in that leaked phone conversation was actually spot on 😉

    • greywarshark 8.1

      It says a lot about Simon B when he uses that language about his colleagues, and he is the son of a NZ Christian minister too.

    • Wensleydale 8.2

      I was thinking that myself, but didn't really want to admit it. Knowing that Simon Bridges occasionally says things that are both true and 'not incomprehensibly stupid' makes me feel slightly queasy.

  9. millsy 9

    National can tell it's landlord mates to put their rents up by 28 dollars if they are that worried about the whole thing.

  10. mosa 10

    Simon Bridges

    " We want every NZer to get ahead but the best way out of poverty is to get a job."

    Just the incentive beneficiaries need to come off the benefit and on too starvation wages.

    At least as they head off to that new job they can console themselves that they will be paying their fair share of tax unlike the National party and the their supporters.

    I wonder what its like to choose which holiday home to spend the long weekend at.
    Hmmm Queenstown or Raro darling ?

    • " We want every NZer to get ahead but the best way out of poverty is to get a job."

      Not under National governments it isn't. Unless he meant to say "get three jobs."

  11. I feel love 11

    "breeding more beneficiaries" how's that for a dog whistle.

  12. greywarshark 12

    Maureen Pugh is a farmer from a remote area, and is possibly involved in the farm breeding records. Naturally that would come to mind when considering solo parents who may as is widely supposed, have a lesser intellect than the norm. /sarc

  13. CHCoff 13

    The unproductive, uncreative element of the banking system will always use it's free billions that it extracts out of the societal economy to complain that it is not free to kill the value out of it's golden goose until it is properly and specifically regulated and taxed via a FTT tag and trace system.

  14. JustMe 14

    The National Opposition Party has gone from being a political party to a bunch of twats who find fault for the purpose of finding fault. Overall their behaviour is so questionable. Their negativity reflects badly back upon themselves as a political party and upon its various individual 'MPs',

    Methinks the NZ National Party has a severe mental illness within itself. And quoting one of their more brainwashed supporters in the form of Michelle Boag it is obvious National are so in love with appearing to be the victim of mental illness on anything and everything that they trundle out Simon Bridges with his "Look at Moi. I am the victim of a current government attack syndrome.."

    Thanks to the current National Party OCD of beneficiary bashing tactic I have now completely switched off wanting to hear anything any of their MPs have to say.

    Their, the National Party's, mental illness is too much now. They have automatically disqualified themselves of meriting any votes at the upcoming general election. Whilst they constantly play the victim of matters their credibility, not that they have ever had much of that, has disappeared.

    Mind you may I suggest to the NZ National Party they keep Simon Bridges as their leader because every time he speaks he makes National look like a bunch of idiots?

    • greywarshark 14.1

      Just Me – don't give the Nationals free advice. Write to them and offer to sell them tips, $10 each or something. Better still let them plot their own route to wherever and quietly hope it will be Valhalla.

      • JustMe 14.1.1

        So agree greywarshark. Thanks for the idea. Do you think the $10.00 would be taxed or should I suggest it be split so it doesn't need to be declared? lol.

  15. greywarshark 15

    By repealing section 192 of the Social Security Act 2018, we are also removing the stigma and judgment on the women and children who have had this sanction imposed on them.

    Ms Sepuloni might also have said that tying the males into the females who bore their children meant increasing the chance that the two would have more children, that the child or children would pick up the same slack attitudes of his Dad, or that the mother was forced to relate to someone who she would prefer to keep the child/children well away from if she had a choice. It makes her helpless and dependent on keeping faith with the man who is caught between sometimes liking the idea he has fathered children but often that it is a nuisance and he will have ambivalent attitudes to the child/children. Sometimes he will turn up for parental access outings and sometimes the child will stay waiting for him not knowing what to expect if he can't be contacted. That sours a budding relationship – the child may blame the mother, she wasn't nice enough last time or something. A lot of strain can arise.

    One of the important things in child raising is parents who establish modes of behaviour that are regular. If a parent is changeable and the child does not know what to expect then it is hard to build a relationship of trust and dependability that becomes a loving one. Also the mother has to explain his behaviour in an acceptable way to him or she will be accused of bad-mouthing him. She does not want to tell the child that he/she is a secondary matter to him but she will want the child to feel that it is loved. She may have to put up with being abused, or a bit of rough treatment to keep the peace.

    It is a good thing to treat the woman as an adult responsible person and not just some female that has got herself into trouble and will be a dependent problem all her life. That demeans her and negatively affects her likely future if the government has no expectations for her and does not allow her to develop her strengths and talents to be the role model that the government actually wishes.

  16. Peter 16

    Maureen, Maureen, Maureen, dear, oh dear, oh dear.

    There were many who were appalled by Simon Bridges' characterisation of you and defended you. That support gave you the strength to stand up and make your contribution.

    Well, all a bit like buying a box of chocolates and getting it home and finding it is empty.

  17. kate Lang 17

    It's not the question of who father's children that worries me. It's the number. Elitist right-wingers, be they farmers, developers, religious leaders, bankers, aquiculturalists and agriculturalists–all think that because they list their fatherhood and have their names on marital documents, that they have the right to reproduce exponentially and let the planet space available go hang. Stop overpopulating! You only have one farm/livelihood to donate via "legacy". You are no more legitimate in the balance of the land on the planet than a remote lifestyle tribe, far in seclusion from "civilisation". You are not innocent.

    • Kat 17.1

      These "elitist right-wingers" regard child support as having to pay for the result of some one else having some nooky that only they are entitled to because they can ‘pay’ for it to ‘go away’ or be’ taken care of’. That the 'some one else' is also of an obviously lower social and economic station supports their belief that they are the chosen ones who must cleanse society of such undeserving feral malcontents. Fundamental National party ethos these days.

      • Rapunzel 17.1.1

        And it is far from the case that all those men, or previous wives and partners they have had children with and are split from are any different, often they come to arrangements in regard to care and "support".

        While it should I would have thought have to be recorded as income for claiming Working for Families or tax credits I have not seen anywhere how that is policed, therefore many of those pointing the finger at this will be manipulating income to gain the maximum they can I'd be certain of that.

  18. Florence Taula 18

    It's funny Paula Bennett would not be in the position she is in nor the house she lives in without the benefit.

  19. A 19

    Deadbeat dads often have clever accountants.

    Personally I think it should be a criminal act to financially neglect your children and note that National did absolutely nothing to recover the millions in child support owed to the custodial parents of this country. F*** them.

    • Rapunzel 19.1

      Like other cheats, and there are myriad of them, just because they can escape scrutiny and therefore penalty, like the straight out tax cheat the "rules" don't apply to them in their minds.

      • Incognito 19.1.1

        Oh, it is worse than that. Avoid scrutiny, avoid getting caught, avoid going to court, avoid getting found guilty, appeal and re-appeal the sentence, and then (still) claim you were right en entitled to it all along. Rings a bell? Justice is for schmucks, being right and entitled is a special gift that only some have and claim.

    • Chris T 19.2

      If the mothers don't have to name the fathers I am not sure how your theory works.

      Are the govt supposed to chase thin air for cash?

      • Rapunzel 19.2.1

        Regardless of the exact application details that seek to free some mothers from this burden I thought this thread was in regard to the National Party penchant for "bene bashing".

        • Chris T 19.2.1.1

          FFS

          So forget about the details then?

          That will work

          And while Labour are at it lets chuck more money on petrol

        • Chris T 19.2.1.2

          Your post was this

          "Deadbeat dads often have clever accountants.

          Personally I think it should be a criminal act to financially neglect your children "

          If the mother doesn't name the father for whatever actual valid or convenient reason how is the govt supposed to enforce your man hate?

          • Rapunzel 19.2.1.2.1

            No "MY" post was not this it was someone else's, I too would like to see a lot of things be a criminal act, may, many things but across the board not just your idea of the "usual suspects". If in this some children are are given a bit of relief and hope in their lives I certainly won't lose sleep that a few of the wide range of "b*stards" out there might not face the penalties they should.

            A

            19

            1 June 2019 at 4:47 pmDeadbeat dads often have clever accountants.Personally I think it should be a criminal act to financially neglect your children and note that National did absolutely nothing to recover the millions in child support owed to the custodial parents of this country. F*** them."

  20. A 20

    And as someone who was subjected to that penalty of $28/week all it did was make myself and my kids suffer and increase my time dependent on a benefit.

  21. bwaghorn 21

    They should have gone further and stopped penalising people for being in an relationship.

    They either have to lie or go with less which all just heaps more pressure on them .

    • Incognito 21.1

      heart

    • patricia bremner 21.2

      Yes, the benefit should be like the pension. Single rate/ In a relationship rate.

    • Yes. Just pay each person the same without going down that "two can live cheaper than one, so we'll pay you less" rabbit hole and you get much simpler and more efficient administration of the system as wel as a decline in the sum total of human misery. That's a win-win. It's beyond me why such a no-brainer has never been implemented, I can only assume conservative social attitudes and/or a punitive attitude to beneficiaries is behind it.

  22. RedbaronCV 22

    Just how hypocritical are the Nacts.

    This hard working tax payer is really fed up with supporting the dead beat dads at the top of the wealth scale cheating on their child support so ex partners are on benefits or receiving family support payments. Time to lift the cap on earnings to something like $500,000 or remove it all together and expand the "eligible income" income definition to be the same as the one used for working for family payments. Helps to catch all that income hidden away. That will get benefit numbers down.

    While I am here how about allowing sole parents to claim a single unemployment benefit and continue to receive their child support passed through to them if it is to their advantage $wise. And putting a $ amount into the formula that reflects the cost of care giving for those doing more than the 28%.

    Why does this government give Nact policies a free ride?

  23. RedbaronCV 23

    Hit back at them so they are defending their hypocrisy not attacking single parents.

  24. Jenny - How to get there?give 24

    The huge multi $billion benefits paid by the last government to South Canturbury finance and AMI by the last government should have been high lighted in the government's rebuttal of wasting tax payers money.

    Not to mention the grants the last government gave put to off shore oil companies to come here. Or the quarter $billion they gave to pay out Solid Energy’s creditors and investors so they could flog it off without debt at massive cost to the taxpayer.

  25. Jenny - How to get there?give 25

    http://priceofoil.org/2019/05/17/uk-child-poverty-the-new-normal-as-oil-industry-gets-billions-in-subsidies/?fbclid=IwAR2J9L194HGLixtwfU424nVm579OZqIAwTgNB5D55dc0boeXNYnHOX31zPU

    What goes for the UK, goes for here. non judgemental multi $billions handed out for Corporate Welfare, coupled with cruelty and victim blaming and stigmatising to justify depriving sole parents, and especially children of support.

  26. Panda 26

    Most of the Nats decided to arrive to the debate and beneficiary bash enmasse. Sepuloni did fantastic holding her own. Pugh looked amazing until opening her mouth and I now agree with Bridges, She is useless. One thing here I am a bit disturbed about and that is the lack of information regards those that are too sick to be seeking work. With the Nats taking away the sickness category they are now put in with job seekers. We have tens of thousands of unwell on benefits classed as jobseekers. I hope this Govt rectify this so we can once again see the real amount of those out of work and actively seeking jobs.

    • patricia 26.1

      Panda – agree with you 100%. Combining sickness and unemployed benefits does not give an accurate picture of the numbers of unemployed. I work alongside beneficiaries and many have illnesses which leave them incapable of work long term. Shifting on to the SLP (Supported Living) can take years and many just give up.

      Mothers accused of "not naming" the fathers on the birth certificate – many do name the father. Unless he signs the certificate then it is deemed the mother has "not named" him. The father well may be a dead beat but the mother should not be blamed for his lack of co-operation.

  27. Sabine 27

    Oh well, did anyone really expect anything else form the Party with no mates and no ideas?

    Seriously, at this stage what has National got? Bene bashing. Wow. such policy, much courage, lots of awesomeness. National – out of mates and out of ideas.

  28. name the father….or no benefit… simple……totally disagree with the coalition on this one

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