Pre-teens dream of kids and dole
Lots of babies, lots of partners, lots of houses and lots of benefits. Welcome to the career dream of young boys already failing in the education system.
A publication from the Ministry of Social Development? A survey from a reputable research organisation? No, it turns out to be a personal opinion:
Alison Sutherland, who works in Wairarapa schools with children who have behavioural problems, says many of the boys she deals with – who haven’t even reached their teenage years – can only see being the father of children and living with their mothers ahead. “That is their career future,” she said of youngsters who were opting out of education and employment because they saw babies as a source of income.
One person’s opinion doesn’t make it true of course, and the actual evidence strongly contradicts typical stereotypes about welfare. But if, for the sake of argument, Sutherland is correct, and some young males see parenthood as a meal ticket, what do we conclude? The standard right-wing knee-jerk that we need “welfare reform”? No. Dig a little deeper:
“They have a perception that their future is to be unemployed. That is their norm.
These are kids without hope. The underlying problem is a lack of jobs. Unemployment has skyrocketed under National. Add in a moribund economy, stagnant wages, anti-worker legislation, talk of punitive youth rates until age 24, and a general lack of vision and direction, and what is there for the young to be hopeful about? Those that can are leaving for Australia in record numbers. Those that can’t are increasingly desperate.
We don’t need welfare reform. We need jobs, and hope for the future. Then numbers on welfare would fall by themselves. Just as they did under Labour.