web analytics

Experts warn Welfare Working Group

Written By: - Date published: 8:59 am, July 11th, 2011 - 12 comments
Categories: welfare - Tags: , , ,

Paediatrician Professor Innes Asher has written an open letter to the Welfare Working Group lauding their aims, but warning that their recommendations will harm children.

Child Poverty Action Group and Every Child Counts have endorsed the letter, bringing with them a considerable number of academics and other experts in the fields of child health and social policy.

The letter was tabled in parliament last week, so National will not be able to deny knowledge of the issues and expert thinking when they go into the election making welfare an issue and beneficiary-bashing a sport.

Innes Asher systematically goes through the reasoning and expected results of the Welfare Working Groups proposals.  She works at the sharp end of child poverty as she says in the introduction:

I am writing to you about this, because as a paediatrician I see many children with preventable diseases causing life-long damage (such as bronchiectasis – permanent lung scarring from respiratory infections) founded in lack of resourcing of their families. As an academic I am aware of the evidence showing that our children’s health outcomes are poor by international standards (1), some preventable childhood diseases are increasing (2) and that under-resourcing of the most disadvantaged children by state policies is a factor (3).

She sees 8 issues pertaining to the well-being of children:

  1. Every child reaching his/her full potential is necessary for the economic future of New Zealand.
  2. The importance of investing in the early years so that children reach their potential.
  3. Requiring a sole parent to job seek when baby is one year old will be damaging to some children. Requiring all sole parents to job seek when their youngest is three years old will be unduly harsh for some children.
  4. Sanctions against sole parents who do not comply will harm children, due to reduction in resources.
  5. The reality for children of sole parents is harsher than this report describes.
  6. New Zealanders work when there are jobs.
  7. Threshold and abatement of earnings from paid work should be structured to enable the transition for parents from ‘not working’ to ‘working part time’ to ‘working full time’
  8. Cuts in welfare in 1991 drove children into poverty, not parents into work.
And then goes through each, in devastating detail, showing why the WWG’s suggestions are wrong – morally, financially, socially.

I recommend reading the whole letter to see the arguments against further cuts to welfare, and how the Right is wrong on welfare and beneficiaries.  However, as a warning for society, part of her comment on issue 8 is this:

The ‘welfare cuts’ policies led to the rise of preventable diseases like rheumatic fever, pneumonia, bronchiectasis, and serious skin infection which resulted in expensive hospitalisations, and for some children in permanent disability. The meningococcal epidemic, fuelled by household crowding, caused many deaths and lifelong damage and had to be controlled by a costly immunisation programme.  The health status of our children for preventable diseases remains poorer than pre-1990’s levels. The long term costs of medical care and disabilities (all preventable) are likely to have outweighed any savings from the welfare cuts.

12 comments on “Experts warn Welfare Working Group ”

  1. prism 1

    Is it possible to take the graph back to 1890? People who don’t want to be touched by hard facts and soft humanitarianism might be surprised by how far we have slid back in our social welfare.

    We have had a lot of knocks over the years. Some people have had their traditional life pattern cut away, lost their jobs with replacements that don’t allow them any self-pride or security. Now it is managing day by day and trying to ensure that there is some fun in life before they shrivel up and sink into depression. They can’t be wonderful role models for their kids from this situation.

  2. Jim Nald 2

    From that graph, what happened in the period post-1986 to 1992 that took us a new, higher level? That’s a significant 15-20 percent jump for the period.

    There was the gradual unfolding of post-crisis management of Muldoon’s policies, including the change to squeeky clean currency float, and Roger kicking the Rogernomics ball one step ahead of everyone else? There was also, early in that period, the ‘Black Monday’ of 19 Oct 1987?

    Looks like policy-making in NZ took the wrong path and we have kept driving on further with the lousy map, maybe stopping only briefly for a handiplast or ice-cream at a corner dairy, but not really turning things around.

    • Jim Nald 2.1

      Oh, just reminded of the tosser for the day. Or past few days.

      1988 – early 2002: the reign of a notorious Governor of the Reserve Bank

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        The big jump occurred in 1991 with Ruth Richardson’s MOAB which cut benefits by 15% or 20%.

  3. prism 3

    Looking at the graph 1982 to 1991 there was a comparatively low level of child poverty. But it rose sharply after National’s 1991 welfare cuts.

    During 1999-2008 which was Labour’s term there is hardly any change at first from the high child poverty figures but in 2004-2008 there was a noticeable decline. However this was reversed in a little over a year when NACT got back into power in 2008.

    Not a standard that either left or right can take pride in.

  4. Optimus Prime 4

    There is much to agree with in Prof. Ashers letter and of particular note is the importance she places on parenting and investment in early childhood to enable attainment of their potential given our ageing population.
    It is disappointing to read of the high rates of preventable diseases, especially when there is still free, accessible healthcare for children here and the availability of comprehensive immunisation programs.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Best form of disease prevention is the reduction of family poverty, family stresses and unhealthy living conditions.

      Doctors visits and immunisations are certainly helpful but will barely keep up if those deeper issues are not comprehensively addressed.

      Immunised but cold, damp and underfed is not the optimal preventative health solution.

  5. ChrisH 5

    Ben – What comes across clearly from the demographic arguments in Prof. Innes Asher’s letter and recent Fabian talks is that this bennie bashing is “worse than a crime, it’s a mistake.” The phrase of course dates back to Napoleonic times, when Napoleon I could not be dissuaded from his march of self-destructive folly. It’s exactly the same with the Right in New Zealand and its senseless Maori- PI- and Bennie bashing when the brown children they are casting into poverty are the only ones who are going to look after them when they are old, if you look at the demographics.

  6. RedBaron 6

    The Child Support Act was passed in 1991. Prior to that single parents received the DPB plus any maintenance they managed to get out of the other parent. However collection rates under the old Liable parent scheme were awful. Once the Child Support Act was passed anyone on a benefit had payments from the other parent directed to the state to offset the DPB.
    Effectively, sole parents were hit with a triple whammy, lower benefit rates, diversion of the other parent’s contribution to the state, and some very repressive court decisions that made it almost impossible to get any increase in Child Support beyond formula assessment out of the other parent no matter how wealthy.
    Finally, a receiving parent cannot sign a binding legal agreement for any child support greater than formula assessment e.g twice the maximum level of formula assessment would not be upheld. Any caregiving parent needs a court order with all the associated costs to receive amounts beyond formula assessment..

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      What’s the problem with further disadvantaging the economically and socially vulnerable women who are trying to bring up the next generation of young New Zealanders?

      We could make it a political sport in this country, like taunting caged rats with sharp sticks.

  7. Jim Nald 7

    Might there also be an association with an emerging and increasing streak of nastiness in New Zealand politics and society?

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill passes first reading – Ka tutuki te pānuitanga tuatahi o te P...
    The Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill passed its first reading in Parliament and a special Select Committee has been set up to consider the Bill and hear public submissions, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “We are fixing a public health system that has, for far too long, failed Māori and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    45 mins ago
  • Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – what next for the nuclear “grand bargain?” – Speech t...
    (Check against delivery) Kia ora tatou It’s my great pleasure to be here today at the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. I welcome this opportunity to share with you the Government’s thinking on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT. Forged in the depths of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Government helps sharpen the competitive edge of New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis industry
    The Government is backing an innovative research and development programme to help accelerate the establishment of New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis industry and boost export potential, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. The Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) is contributing nearly $760,000 to the $1.9 million, three-year programme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Restrictions eased in parts of Waikato at Alert Level 3; Northland to remain at Alert Level 2
    Restrictions in the Waikato will be eased slightly from midnight tonight, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “From 11.59pm tonight, people in the parts of Waikato at Alert Level 3 will be able to meet for outdoor gatherings between two households, with a maximum of 10 people,” Chis Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • COVID-19 rent relief support measures refined
      The Government has landed on a balanced package of changes to improve rent relief measures for both landlords and tenants hit by COVID-19 restrictions, the Minister of Justice Kris Faafoi says. “Businesses in the Auckland region, and elsewhere under COVID Alert Level Three, have been doing it tough, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Govt considers regulatory safeguards for three waters services
    Public feedback is being sought on the regulatory safeguards required to ensure consumers and communities receive three waters services that meet their needs, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, Dr David Clark announced today. “The future three waters system needs to promote consumer interests and ensure infrastructure is delivered in a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Appointment of new Te Pou Tupua welcomed
    Environment Minister David Parker and Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui chairperson Sheena Maru have welcomed the appointment of Keria Ponga and Turama Hawira as Te Pou Tupua. In a joint statement Sheena Maru and David Parker said: Today, Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui chairperson Sheena Maru Minister and Environment David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Don't freak out, ShakeOut
    Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan is challenging more people to join the almost 650,000 who have already signed up to take part in the nation-wide ShakeOut drill, happening tomorrow. “ShakeOut, New Zealand’s annual national earthquake drill and tsunami hīkoi, is a great opportunity for all of us to put ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Government to protect vital public water services for future generations
    Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta today confirmed the Government will create four publicly owned water entities to ensure every New Zealander has access to affordable, long-lasting drinking, waste and storm water infrastructure without ballooning costs to households and families. “The case for change is too compelling to ignore. It is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Annual MFAT- NGO Hui
    Tēnā koutou katoa, Talofa Lava and Warm Pacific Greetings to one and all— and in recognition of Tokelauan Language Week this week, Fakatalofa atu ki te koutou uma. Malo ni. Thank you for inviting me to join with you at the 2021 MFAT–NGO Hui. It’s a privilege for me to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Opening Address – Council for International Development and MFAT NGO Hui
    Tuia te rangi e tu iho nei, Tuia te papa e takoto nei, Tuia te here tangata ki te here wairua kia rongo te pō, kia rongo te āo – Tīhei Mauri Ora! Kei ngā iti, kei ngā rahi i whakapau kaha ki te whakahaere i ngā mahi atawhai mo ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Govt backs business to vaccinate workforces
    Vaccination will be required for all workers at businesses where customers need to show COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates, such as hospitality and close-contact businesses. New law to introduce a clearer and simplified risk assessment process for employers to follow when deciding whether they can require vaccination for different types of work. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Winners of the 2021 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards
    Frimley Primary School in Hawke’s Bay is the Supreme Award winner of the 2021 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The past year has been a real test for teachers, schools and local communities. But out of the challenge of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government provides greater assurance to homeowners
    The Government has provided greater assurance for homeowners with the introduction of a new code of ethics for Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs), Building and Construction Minister Poto Williams announced today.   The Code of Ethics, which comes into force in October 2022, sets behavioural standards for LBPs to give both ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Primary sector returns strengthen export-led recovery
    Farmers’ hard work in leading New Zealand’s export-led recovery from COVID-19 is being rewarded with high prices forecast for milk and very strong returns for meat, says Trade and Export Growth and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Fonterra announced today a record predicted milk price of $7.90 to $8.90 for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Supporting economic resilience in the Indo-Pacific – Speech to the Asia Forum
    (Check against delivery) Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, kia ora koutou katoa Thank you Farib. It is a great pleasure to be invited to speak at this event. I want to acknowledge the on-going work of the Asia Forum. Over many years – decades, in fact – you have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • RSI ‘state of the nation’ report published
    New Zealand’s FCR cited research ratio is twice the world average Investment in R&D is increasing Case studies underscore how a science based COVID-19 response helped save lives In 2019, Māori and Pacific people represented 5 per cent of PhD graduates. The latest research, science and innovation system report card ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Funding to translate science into real life solutions
    The Government is investing in ‘Te Tītoki Mataora’ the MedTech Research Translator, to deliver new medical tools - and meet both the demands of a global pandemic and of a growing and aging population. “COVID-19 has shown that we need to build a more resilient, productive, innovative and economically-sustainable health ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Tokelau champions language and culture
    COVID-19 continues to be a powerful reminder of the importance of language and culture to the wellbeing of our Pacific communities, said the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio. “Our Tokelau community in Aotearoa has responded strongly to the challenges of the global pandemic by getting vaccinated and supporting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Festival drug-checking services get a boost
    The Government is financially supporting drug-checking services to help keep young people safe at this summer’s large festivals and events, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “This is not about condoning drug use, but about keeping people safe,” Andrew Little said. “There is clear evidence that having drug-checking services at festivals ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Expanded vaccination order for health and disability, education and prison workers
    A newly-signed Order means most people working in three key sectors will very soon need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the sake of themselves, their workmates and their communities, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has confirmed. The extended COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Amendment Order 2021 comes into effect ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • APEC finance ministers focus on inclusive, sustainable COVID recovery
    APEC finance ministers will continue to work together to respond to the effects of COVID-19 and ensure a sustainable and inclusive recovery while capitalising on the opportunity to build a more resilient future. The New Zealand Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson chaired the virtual APEC Finance ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Improvements to child and maternity facilities at Timaru Hospital on track
    Improvements to child and maternity facilities at Timaru Hospital are well underway, and the next stage of the project will begin next month. Health Minister Andrew Little visited Timaru Hospital today to view progress onsite. “The improvements are part of South Canterbury DHB’s four-year refurbishment project and will create a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt responds to independent review into WorkSafe
    The Government has clear expectations that WorkSafe must action the recommendations of the independent review into the regulator to improve its management of adventure activities following the tragedy at Whakaari White Island, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood says. The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) today released the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prevention funding to reduce tamariki in care
    A new iwi-led prevention programme will receive funding from Oranga Tamariki to help reduce the number of tamariki and rangatahi coming into state care, Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis has announced. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (Te Rūnanga) will receive $25.9m of Oranga Tamariki funding over three years to improve outcomes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Transforming New Zealand’s mental health legislation
    Public consultation is now open for Aotearoa New Zealand to have a say on the repeal and replacement of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992. “’He Ara Oranga, the report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction’ made it clear that we needed to replace ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 Protection Framework
    Kia ora koutou katoa Today I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders to share a plan that will help us stay safe from COVID-19 into the future. A future where we want to continue to protect people’s lives, but also to live our lives – as safely as possible. Our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Business boost to transition to new COVID framework
    We know that over the last twenty months the approach New Zealand has taken to COVID and Delta has saved lives and livelihoods. Along with one of the lowest mortality rates in the world, we have also had strong economic growth, low unemployment and one of the lower levels of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 funding boost to protect maōri communities
    Tēnā koutou katoa As you have heard from the Prime Minister, the new protection framework will support us to keep people safe especially our vulnerable communities and minimize the impact COVID-19 has on business and our day to day lives. If you want to protect yourself, your whanau and your ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New COVID-19 Protection Framework delivers greater freedoms for vaccinated New Zealanders
    New COVID-19 Protection Framework provides pathway out of lockdown and ability for businesses and events to re-open to vaccinated New Zealanders Simpler framework to minimise cases and hospitalisations without use of widespread lockdowns Auckland to move into the new framework when 90 percent of eligible population in each of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New fund to accelerate Māori vaccinations
    The Government has established a $120 million fund to accelerate Māori vaccination rates and support communities to prepare for the implementation of the new COVID-19 Protection Framework. The new Māori Communities COVID-19 Fund will directly fund Māori, Iwi, community organisations and providers to deliver local vaccination initiatives for whānau, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government extends hardship assistance for low income workers
    Income limits for Hardship Support through the Ministry of Social Development have been temporarily lifted so more people can recieve assistance. “Cabinet has agreed to make it easier for low income workers to recieve assistance for items such as food and other emergency costs,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “We know the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More support for learners with highest needs
    Students most in need of extra help in the classroom are the focus of a new review that gets under way today, Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti says. About 50,000-80,000 children and young people are expected to benefit from a Ministry of Education review into Highest Need Learners that will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Parts of Waikato to stay at Alert Level 3 for next six days
    The parts of Waikato that have been in Alert Level 3 will remain at that alert level till Wednesday, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Based on the latest public health information, maintaining level 3 in those parts of the Waikato continues to be the most prudent course of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Hon Peeni Henare September 2021 Proactive Diary Release
    ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ passes world-first climate reporting legislation
    New Zealand has become the first country in the world to pass a law that will ensure financial organisations disclose and ultimately act on climate-related risks and opportunities, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Dr David Clark and Climate Change Minister James Shaw today announced today. The Financial Sector (Climate-related Disclosures ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister NZ UK FTA opening remarks
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. I am delighted to announce today that following a conversation with Prime Minister Johnson last night, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have Agreed in Principle a historic high-quality, comprehensive and inclusive free trade agreement. I’m joined today by the Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand secures historic free trade deal with the United Kingdom
    A boost of almost $1 billion to New Zealand GDP, unprecedented access for New Zealand exporters to the UK market UK to eliminate all tariffs on New Zealand exports, with over 97% being removed the day the FTA comes into force NZ exporters to save approx. $37.8 million per year ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Quarterly benefit numbers show more people in work
    Benefit figures released today show a year on year fall of 9,807 people receiving a Main Benefit in the September Quarter.  “The Government is working hard to tackle COVID-19 and it is clear our strong response to the initial outbreak has created a resilient labour market which is providing opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Health reforms bill introduced to Parliament
    Legislation central to fixing the health system has been introduced into Parliament by Health Minister Andrew Little. “Rebuilding the public health system is critical to laying the foundations for a better future for all New Zealanders,” Andrew Little said. “We need a system that works for everybody, no matter who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago