The Nats used to make a career out of faux “nanny state” hysteria. My how times have changed:
Kindy kids to have ID numbers
Identification numbers attached to children as young as three could be used to track and punish their parents.
The ID system will be rolled out next year, paving the way for information to possibly be passed from kindergartens to the Government agency which monitors beneficiaries.
About 190,000 children in early childhood education will be assigned a national student number, with providers collecting information including each child’s daily attendance.
The Greens say childhood workers will effectively be asked to dob in parents who are not meeting their obligation to have their children in education, with preschool teachers used as “de facto benefit police”.
The Government has moved to downplay the fears but refused to rule out an information sharing programme between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Development, saying it could be considered.
I meant to write about this in the weekend, but Paul Little beat me to it:
We’re the surveillance state
Children in early-childhood education, ages 3 to 5, are to be given ID numbers.
It’s not the fact of having a number that should concern us … it’s the compulsion and the reason for it. Given the only group of children who must compulsorily attend early-childhood education are those of beneficiaries, it is hard to see that it is aimed at anyone except them. It leaves us asking: why? What is broken that this will fix?
With characteristic dissimulation, the Ministry of Social Development insists there is no need for concern. At the same time it won’t rule out that these numbers could be used in the future to monitor how well parents are sticking to newly introduced “obligations” to seek work, which many believe are unworkable. …
This Government operates on the principle, if that’s not too noble a word for it, that it is easier to marginalise beneficiaries than help them. It just wants them to go away.
Meanwhile, it will insist beneficiaries look for jobs that aren’t there, without accepting an equivalent obligation to create jobs. …
ID numbers for preschoolers are not something we should welcome, but, unfortunately, they are typical of the sort of thing we need to get used to in the surveillance state that we are becoming.
Big Brother – coming soon to a Kindy near you.