Nat / ACT don’t think poor people should have kids

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, July 13th, 2017 - 128 comments
Categories: act, class war, families, human rights, national - Tags: , , , , , ,

In railing against Labour’s targeted assistance to low income families, ACT’s David Seymour showed us yet again the ugly side of tory politics:

OK then. Poor people shouldn’t be allowed to have kids. That probably sounds very familiar, and so it should, because the Nats have said similar things over the years. The dearly departed John Key “thought” (despite all the evidence to the contrary) that parents on the DPB were “breeding for a business”. And:

Bennett: No compulsory contraception for now

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is “a big fan” of long acting contraception for solo mums but says her Government is “not quite” at the stage of making it compulsory. …

and:

State may try to stop some families having more children

Some families who have come to the attention of authorities may be stopped from having more children by the Government.

Tolley acknowledged it would be a “huge step” for the state to start telling people that they could not have another child, but said it was “a conversation that New Zealanders, perhaps, need to have”.

Tolley did not rule out limiting or preventing some families from having another child, but said she would wait to see what the panel recommended in December. …

and:

Government mulling ways to stop ‘unfit’ parents reproducing

The Government is considering a range of hard-line measures to try and stop ‘unfit’ parents from having more children.

Paula Bennett says she and her colleagues have had enough and are putting together a White Paper on the issue.

“I can tell you that they are completely fed up with these children continuously being born to completely unfit parents. That’s a step that’s right out there, and I can tell you there is certainly discussion going on around it.”

Defining and controlling who is and isn’t entitled to have children is a very slippery slope indeed. Denying children to those deemed “too poor” is way down the slope and picking up speed towards eugenics. These are the kinds of attitudes that we need to vote out of office in September.


Some more Seymour and responses on Twitter:

Full credit to @LewSOS for this contribution:

128 comments on “Nat / ACT don’t think poor people should have kids”

  1. Andre 1

    Yet, it would be a really good thing for the future of the planet and humanity for humans to have fewer kids. In particular, fewer resource gobbling wealthy western kids (and yes, even poor families in NZ are still in the category of resource-squandering wealthy westerners). The faster the world depopulates voluntarily, the less likely a really unpleasant involuntary depopulation becomes.

    How to have that conversation and shift societal expectations so that no kids or just one or at most two becomes the normal expected thing? Raise the topic here and you usually get labelled eugenicist in short order.

    • BM 1.1

      Raise the topic here and you usually get labelled eugenicist in short order.

      Women’s rights trump the environment, which is why you get this disconnect.

      The environment for many on here sits at either 2 or 3 on the list of most important

      • KJT 1.1.1

        Empowering women and making them richer and with more control over their lives is proven to reduce birth rates.

        Making more and more young women, poor, dependent and desperate, as we are in New Zealand will increase birth rates.

    • r0b 1.2

      Yet, it would be a really good thing for the future of the planet and humanity for humans to have fewer kids. …. Raise the topic here and you usually get labelled eugenicist in short order.

      Of course it would be good to decrease population growth. Empowering women via education and access to contraception has done exactly that, and is a good thing. Nothing eugenicist about that.

      The problems start when you start targeting “undesirables” with pressure / compulsion.

      • Heather Grimwood 1.2.1

        I didn’t take comments of above politicians as referring to educated unforced reduction in population at all…..quite the reverse.

        • Stunned Mullet 1.2.1.1

          @Heather – quite so, r0b failed to frame his dogwhistling as well as he usually does.

          • McFlock 1.2.1.1.1

            I suspect the double negative threw you a bit, unless you took the comments of above politicians as referring to the forced and uneducated reduction in population.

      • Lara 1.2.2

        “Empowering women via education and access to contraception has done exactly that”

        Exactly.

        And I’ll add, RESPECTING women and their right to make decisions about their own bodies and their own fertility.

        Give them the tools, don’t shame them when they use those tools, and women will have less children.

        The birth rate in NZ is below replacement rate. NZ women already ARE doing our bit to reduce global populations.

      • Sabine 1.2.3

        how about we empower men with the knowledge that any time they fuck they could potentially father a child that a. they don’t want, b. they can’t afford?
        how about we empower men with the knowledge that if they want to fuck without fathering children they could get the snip, use a condom or simply not fuck, also you know free handkerchiefs for men every Monday, available at your local Planned Parenthood?

        it is long past time for men to advocate for man to be empowered to only have the children they can afford, they want to raise and not a one more.

        • RedLogix 1.2.3.1

          Interesting how women want to have complete control over their reproduction, yet demand men take all the responsibility.

          • The New Student 1.2.3.1.1

            Not ALL responsibility, thank you. It’s long overdue for men to step up and take their fair share on.

            Girls in my classes are being told they need to both supply AND apply condoms. because the male cannot be expected to do it all by himself; it can also ruin the ‘moment’. They were flabbergasted when I said that’s a crock. Sad but true 🙁

          • Sabine 1.2.3.1.2

            we don’t have complete contol over reproduction.

            when abortion is available on demand, without having to see three doctors and pay for that privilege for a bogus bullshit reason – so that blokes like the housing welfare fraud can feel in control with their religion – without being considered a criminal by the law, without having ‘forced birthers’ shouting abuse at patients at clinics we don’y have control.

            Until then, Men have responsibilities, in fact if you want to protect your son –
            should you have one – from children he does not want you will teach him to only fuck with a condom, get a snip or wank it of. Cause that literally is how men prevent pregnancy. Also same for your daughter, if you don’t want her to have children she can;’t afford you get her to a doctor so she gets on the pill the moment she looks like she is gonna fuck her boyfriend.

            • swordfish 1.2.3.1.2.1

              Teach him to only fuck with a condom, get a snip or wank it off

              Geez !!! Forget the Salons & Literary Academies of 19C Paris … head over the border because you Bavarians are all charm & eloquence personified, aren’t you

              But then, I guess you’d expect a region characterised by morbidly-obese Teutonic men in short leather trousers to exhibit a certain Je ne sais quoi

              • Sabine

                you know what, if more people would actually explain their kids how to fuck responsibly we might not have these Act / nationals whinging how ‘poor women should not have the children they have’.

                oh and Bavarians are not morbidly obese they are well fed and their well fednessness is a testimony to the good cooking of their wifes/husbands 🙂

                • swordfish

                  Ha ! To be honest I more or less nicked the last bit from Blackadder Goes Forth:

                  Blackadder: [getting up close to Captain Darling]

                  Shut your cakehole, sonny, I know you! Tell me, Von Darling, what was it that finally won you over, eh?! Was it the pumpernickel, or was it the thought of hanging around with big men in leather shorts?!

                  But what really amuses me: I posted that comment 10 minutes before reading the exchange between you & BM here …

                  https://thestandard.org.nz/non-news-news-and-news-non-news/#comment-1351770

                  coincidence … serendipity …

                • It’s explained in secondary school already. They also tell people to respect their partner’s or friends’ decisions if they decide to say no to sex, so you even get education about abstinence and consent in to boot! How about that, balanced and factual sex ed, huh? Every parent should be encouraging their kids to pay attention to those classes in years nine and ten, even if they’re already given them the talk.

                  The reality is that poor people don’t have children because they never learned about safe sex. They have children because birth control isn’t as accessible when you’re broke, and especially not when you’re on a benefit. And if you’re underfed because you’re eating less to make sure the kids do okay, it’s harder to keep track of contraceptive pills if you can manage to afford those, so a lot of it is really just that if we chipped in and supported each other, people would actually end up having smaller families anyway, so both the left and the right get what they want. And of course, just like anyone else, sometimes they have children deliberately and because they want them and will really love them and take care of them, and if you start setting policy to prevent that for people on benefits, we really will be getting into eugenics territory.

                  (Honestly, we should be subsidizing birth control 100% anyway, because when it’s used for purpose, it saves money, and sometimes the hormonal varieties are actually prescribed for non-contraceptive medical uses, too)

                  I won’t bother to comment on Bavaria, as my experience is almost all to the west in Schwabia, but I can attest to the high quality of cooking in Germany in general, although I imagine I wouldn’t get quite as fat again if I visited now, given that I’m vegetarian.

    • The Fairy Godmother 1.3

      Yes but a child born to a minimum wage family is going to use far less resources than say one born to a ceo living in Remuera. Less plane trips to Disney land and a smaller house. Less energy use ie no swimming pool to heat and so on. If we want to protect the environment it is the rich that should be targeted to have less children.

    • KJT 1.4

      Yes. It would be a good thing for the planet if more people didn’t have kids.

      Especially wealthy people, who will grow up to use infinitely more resources, pollute more and spend more on planet destroying activities, than the poor.

  2. Heather Grimwood 2

    Makes me sick to realise again the thinking of Seymour and Bennet. I see that of the latter in particular as dangerously akin to that prevailing in pre-war Germany.

  3. garibaldi 3

    I agree with you Andre @ 8.28 and I think these issues are important but insurmountable. To put it mildly we haven’t got a shit show in hell of stopping people world wide from having sex!

    • Andre 3.1

      I dunno that it’s insurmountable. China did it, in a really viciously brutal way. Japan and most of Europe have done it without overt coercion.

      • Zeroque 3.1.1

        Yes, and many people do it in NZ, have less or no kids that is. It does come with it’s problems though but then so does having to many. I wonder whether it will eventually happen in poorer places such as the many countries in Africa that have very high birth rates, as these nations become wealthier and the population more educated? Trouble is that’s going to take a very long time and I doubt we have that much time.

        • Andre 3.1.1.1

          Well, looking at where on earth high population growth happens now and is projected for the future, I have a horrible feeling that’s also where climate change is going to cause a really unpleasant involuntary depopulation.

      • lprent 3.1.2

        We have done it. NZ has been well below the birth replacement rate since I was in my 20s (so long ago).

        When my sister was born in 1963 to make up a 3 kid family, it was considered to be a small family at the time.

        The only thing that sustains and increases our population has been the usual yearly trickle of immigration over the decades since 1970.

        Unfortunately National have changed that over recent years to cover their economic incompetence. To deal with the downturn in export prices, they have flooded in enough immigration to strain our infrastructure and resources. The return of overseas kiwis fleeing the economic after effects of the GFC just increased the problem.

        • Andre 3.1.2.1

          Yes, we’re there in terms of fertility rate and the vast majority of our population increase is immigration. Yet even if net migration for NZ were precisely zero, we would still have a rising population, because of rising longevity. Much like China still has a rising population even though their fertility rate has been well below replacement for quite a while.

          We’re also not there yet with regard to societal expectations. Women still get all kinds of pressure on them to sprogulate, even those who make it abundantly clear they really don’t want to.

          • marty mars 3.1.2.1.1

            What would you like to happen?

            • Andre 3.1.2.1.1.1

              I would like a shift in society’s mindset to recognise that we’ve already got too fkn many humans on this planet. So that it’s recognised that population growth is actually a bad thing. So that the fact that Japan and Italy and others have a falling population isn’t framed as a demographic disaster in the making, but rather they’re leading the way into a future that needs to happen.

              As part of that, I’d like to see young people that choose no kids or only one get recognised as making better choices for the future of the planet, rather than shamed for not contributing to the future workforce or not “continuing the line”. And yes, for the future of the planet, it would be really good if “large family shaming” became a thing, rather than large families being celebrated as happens now.

    • jcuknz 3.2

      Nobody is arguing agin sex .. just the consequences of it.

      • Kevin 3.2.1

        Except Paula Bennett, that is:

        “Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is “a big fan” of long acting contraception for solo mums but says her Government is “not quite” at the stage of making it compulsory.”

        And we know what phase two would be…

        • KJT 3.2.1.1

          Maybe it should have been compulsory for her parents?

          • McFlock 3.2.1.1.1

            or for her – doesn’t her life story involve the DPB? Minister Bennett is “not quite” at the point of forced contraception of futere Minister bennetts.

            • Kevin 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Two trips down DPB lane for Bennett as she found the stress of working a bit too much. Poor baby.

        • Johan 3.2.1.2

          For Paula it has always been do as I say not as I do.

  4. patricia bremner 4

    This is a slippery slope towards class war.
    All the poor have is family.
    We need to be talking about what to do for those already here, who are coping with bad attitudes.
    We do not need a conversation framed by that twisted party. Just listing past members says it all.
    The poor did not choose their fate, and do not have the levers of power.

    • tc 4.1

      There’s already a class war on.

      It started in 2008 and continued unabated right through to flogging state house, cutting funding to community organisations who assist the needy etc

  5. Cinny 5

    Peoples circumstances change, often it is beyond their control.

    No one plans to bring up their children in poverty.

    Is ACT offering free contraception? Are they going to sterilise men? Will they do anything to change the abortion laws?

    Yeah women are just going to get pregnant to get a few extra dollars, pregnancy and child birth is so easy on a womans body NOT.

    Maybe if there wasn’t a housing crisis there would not be so much poverty.

    TIP.. If you want to have many kids, why not become a politician? The tax payer will pay your entire salary and perks, it worked for Bill English.

    Blaming parents still does nothing to help the kids, it’s not their fault, will some kids now be thinking… I shouldn’t have been born it’s my fault that my family is poor.

    • Andre 5.1

      I think keeping a focus on supporting all kids and making sure opportunities are available to all regardless of family circumstances is a good approach.

      So i support ideas like free school breakfast and lunch (I’ve eaten plenty at school cafeterias in the US), free school clothing, free healthcare, anything that goes directly to the kids.

      However, there is at least a tiny grain of truth to the RW trope of breeding for a living. I’m personally aware of two examples that fit the description, although I really doubt it’s anywhere near as widespread as RWers think. But the fact that it exists at all makes me hesitant to support unconditional cash payments upon the arrival of another kid.

      • RedLogix 5.1.1

        I’m personally aware of two examples that fit the description, although I really doubt it’s anywhere near as widespread as RWers think.

        In my experience it happens because of a failure to form stable families. While I agree it’s not common, it’s still surprisingly easy for a woman to have 4-5 children by 3 or more fathers. It’s a tough position to land up in, and the children are vulnerable to all manner of bad statistics.

        And the failure to form a stable family almost always has its roots in low, unstable and insecure incomes.

        • Stunned Mullet 5.1.1.1

          Unintentional double entendres by the bucket load…

        • Sabine 5.1.1.2

          so you are complaining about women failing to form ‘stable relationships’ or also man?

          and the men who fathers children and then walks out on them to father some more children with another women, and then with another women – like you know fathering 4 – 5 children with 3 or more women is that also surprising or is that his god given right as a man?

          and are you saying that the failure to form stable families has never happened to families with very rich people? I remember this Hoskings dude who walked out on his wife shortly after she gave birth to twins? should she now not have the right to another ‘family’ and maybe even ‘ other’ children with her potenially new partner then?

      • KJT 5.1.2

        If you look at the statistics. Breeding for a living is not exactly common.

        The typical woman on the DPB is over 30, with a couple of kids, who has been abandoned, or left due to abuse, her husband or partner.

        In fact less common than when the DPB was non existent. Go figure.

        And. If it is a problem, surely the answer is to give young women more education, income, power and prospects. All proven methods of reducing birth rates.

        • RedLogix 5.1.2.1

          surely the answer is to give young women more education, income, power and prospects.

          And for most young people that means forming a stable family. I don’t care what form or shape that household takes; but doing it on your own is just tough. And fraught with poor outcomes.

          • Andre 5.1.2.1.1

            Sadly I have to agree for the moment.

            I’d really like to see society change to become much more accepting of people choosing solo and/or childless lives, and make it easier for them to do so. It really gets to me seeing the pressure young people get (women much more than men) to settle down, have kids, do the nice respectable family thing.

          • Matthew Whitehead 5.1.2.1.2

            As long as you’re not talking about “staying together for the kids,” as what happens there is the kids learn that people who don’t have feelings for each other anymore don’t make the greatest co-parents, and that a little distance might have been a good thing after all. (besides, couples can split and still co-parent, it just involves showing up for each other as friends and as support)

            Likewise, I’d actually like to see more of Ngati Pakeha taking on the idea of whanau and using their extended family more heavily in their parenting. (the best of us already do, but if we’re not learning from Māori, we’re not really being kiwi enough) “It takes a village” is a cliché for a reason.

      • Sabine 5.1.3

        If we want to have a discussion about people having children it means we have that discussion for all children and not just the one some disprove of.

        The question that i have, does ACT mean the 750 Fonterra workers that lost their jobs three years ago? Does it mean that the Cadbury workers in Dunedin that lost their jobs are irresponsible for having children while not being a. a polititian who will get paid irrespective of the shit show they pull, or b. Paula Bennett who never went of social welfare. Mike Hoskins wife, after he dumped her and his children, should she have had these children if he could not afford child support? and does Mike Hosins carry any responsability? Or do men just get to fuck about and around and thats it?

        As for ‘breeding’ for money, do you think Paula Bennett did just that? i mean she could have had an abortion, she could not have fucked around, she could have gotten herself a job to support herself and such. But hey, she did not?
        So she bred her child for money?

        • KJT 5.1.3.1

          I hope everyone noticed that, with todays rules neither Paula Bennett or Metiria Turei would have been able to go to uni. Lack of the TIA and the current rules that force young mums to take the first low paid, zero hours job offered when their child turns three, would have prevented it.

    • James 5.2

      “TIP.. If you want to have many kids, why not become a politician? The tax payer will pay your entire salary and perks, it worked for Bill English.”

      Not just a politician- but any reasonable job should do the trick.

      • reason 5.2.1

        reasonable jobs no longer cut it under National …… James

        Its the tax cheats and speculators who are rewarded under National … through Johnny Made-off, our ex-PM,,,,,, National have speculated those with reasonable jobs out of home owning in Auckland, Wellington and growing swathes of New Zealand.

        It’s been open season on honest workers doing reasonable jobs under National … http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/278318/housing-too-pricey-for-working-poor

        http://nzccss.org.nz/work/poverty/facts-about-poverty/fact-5-getting-a-job-doesnt-solve-the-poverty-problem/

        You’ve got more bullshit in you than a NZ river running through Dairy county … James

      • Cinny 5.2.2

        Kids need love, encouragement, and stability above everything else.

        There are many kids in wealthy families that go without those important things, which is really sad, because they are suffering too, emotionally suffering, the emptiness they must feel, the rejection, would be awful for any child.

        Speaking with Mum about it today, she told me that it is a right wing argument that has been going on for years, and right wingers usually pull it out at election time when they having nothing else to offer or when they have crap candidates. A bullshit argument which does nothing to ease any child that is suffering.

        I’d like to see a parenting channel on the TV, 24/7 parenting tips, advice etc etc, I reckon that would help so many out there, rich or poor.

        And on the parenting channel, put some reality tv episodes like teen parents and intervention, And how to get help in NZ etc etc etc

  6. Pete 6

    History shows that what some kids end up doing makes their being born something that might be regretted. I’m not sure that Seymour refers to that.

    Some might postulate that on a sliding scale of such a notion his parents should also have not given one particular birth.

    I accept any criticism of placing this sentiment. When leaders of our society, like the erstwhile member for Epsom, promulgate such ways of thinking though, surely that is the standard we are all entitled to.

  7. Defining and controlling who is and isn’t entitled to have children is a very slippery slope indeed.

    Figuring out ways to help clearly unfit parents to stop producing new abuse recipients every year or two isn’t “defining and controlling who is and isn’t entitled to have children,” it’s “trying to find ways to do something about a serious problem.”

    Seymour may be a cunt, but there’s a huge constituency out there of voters who get sick of hearing how people on no or very low incomes are having trouble paying for the six, eight, ten, you-name-it children they’ve produced. I don’t have any problem counting myself part of that constituency – the only additional assistance I’d like the government to provide those people with is an instructional video on where babies come from and a lifetime guarantee of free contraception.

    • KJT 7.1

      So. you use something that is , in reality, rare, to justify cutting support for all solo mothers.

      I hope you realise that Paula Bennett would not have been able to get a degree under current WINZ rules. She would have had to take the first low paid zero hours job offered, as soon as her child turned 3.

      • Psycho Milt 7.1.1

        So. you use something that is , in reality, rare, to justify cutting support for all solo mothers.

        In whatever fantasy you made up for yourself, maybe. Here in the world outside your skull, I haven’t suggested cutting support for anyone, let alone sole parents.

        I hope you realise that Paula Bennett would not have been able to get a degree under current WINZ rules.

        I do. Was the implication that I don’t intended to be relevant in some way?

        • KJT 7.1.1.1

          Why would you bother repeating the false meme about “myriads breeding for money”, if you didn’t want more draconian rules for solo mums.

          In fact it is the 2 to 8 children of those on high incomes who will grow up to use much more resources, cause more pollution, advocate antisocial distribution of wealth, and try and cut welfare to those less fortunate.

          Maybe they should not be allowed to breed.

          • Psycho Milt 7.1.1.1.1

            If you must reply to things you just made up, could you stop putting them under my comments? It’s misleading.

            • KJT 7.1.1.1.1.1

              “voters who get sick of hearing how people on no or very low incomes are having trouble paying for the six, eight, ten, you-name-it children they’ve produced. I don’t have any problem counting myself part of that constituency”–

              Dogwhistle false meme.

              Welfare recipients with 8 kids are as rare as underfed kids who become millionaires.

  8. mary_a 8

    Paua Bennett was dependent on state assistance when she had her daughter, who also later become a single parent herself. By NACT’s standards, neither would have been considered in a position to have children at the time!

    So who/what gives NACT the right to pass judgement on the poor or those reliant on the state to live? In many instances circumstances change, leaving families in situations beyond their control. I don’t believe poverty and hardship are personal choices.

    • Heather Grimwood 8.1

      to Mary at 8 : I agree entirely……..absolute hypocrisy, though I don’t say that in a venomous way but more as an observation. I just think they are immature.
      Reminds me of the old-time saying that there’s none so dogmatically judgmental than those who have changed set.
      Tragic though to think of the power they presently have.

  9. ianmac 9

    About 50+ years ago it was discovered that the Government in India had a bizarre birth control plan. Ticket booths for theatres in certain zones had radiation pointed outwards. So that as people fronted up to buy tickets a burst of radiation sterilised them.
    I cannot find any record on Googling but that is my recollection.

  10. Kevin 10

    I know it easy to label a politician’s utterances as hypocritical, but Bennett takes the fucking cake.

    Every time she opens her big fat pie hole on this topic it makes my blood boil. Not only was she a solo mother bring up a child on the DPB, but she was on it TWICE because going back to work was too stressful for the poor wee diddums.

    Peoples circumstances can change in the blink of an eye. People don’t choose to be poor. I know people who have had good, well paying jobs end up poor bringing up kids through circumstances beyond their control.

    • tc 10.1

      Hypocrisy is a mandatory requirement for a national MP.

      Her biggest achievement is pulling up the ladder she used so noone else can.

      All duely assisted by key, english and the lackeys they installed in the govt depts to execute their plans with a taxpayer holiday in the states as a reward.

  11. Guerilla Surgeon 11

    Oh, so we’re back to the concept of deserving and undeserving poor. How forward-looking/sarc.

  12. Psych nurse 12

    A man who has political intercourse with all and sundry should be aware that accidents happen, take the child who calls Epsom home for instance.

  13. Venezia 13

    How convenient that this eugenics policy should be pushed by NACTional at a time they are desperate to find ways to funnel more and more taxpayers funding to corporates, to their international tax haven mates, and to the wealthy. The policy needs to be publicised for what it is. Especially in election year.

  14. Karen 14

    I am one of 5 children born to poor parents. Luckily, we had a state house to live in, our education was free and food was not expensive in relation to my Dad’s working class wage. It was a struggle but nothing like the problems faced by poor families now.

    The problem is that we have allowed poverty to exist in a country where there should be none. The problem is the rich, not the poor. Let’s get rid of the rich.

    • Kevin 14.1

      Poverty is now so entrenched, it is considered the norm for a percentage of the population and for those persons to be deserving of others scorn.

      NZ is now one fucked up country.

    • KJT 14.2

      I was one of five bought up by low income parents. In their case by choice as they chose socially orientated rather than well paid work.

      Even so we all grew up to have good jobs, and pay millions in taxes.

    • Pedro 14.3

      Well done Karen, in your head you are still living in the 1970s. You can’t and shouldn’t breed 5 children and expect them to live prosperously these days without a very large income.

  15. mac1 15

    An issue which brings out the worst in some people’s attitudes and beliefs.

    This is part of the blame game that the heartless, well off, judgmental elements in our society use. Blame the poor for having children- not blame the rich and the well-off for sequestering the world’s resources.

    My solution to having too many children is to help everybody be well-off. The best contraceptive is a higher standard of living. I have two children, I was one of four children, my father one of six, my grandfather one of eight. Good catholic family, so no artificial contraception in the earlier generations. The numbers dropped as the family and society prospered.

    Who has actually done the research as to why couples have children in whatever numbers they do? I can think of several factors- religion, inability to afford reliable contraception, ignorance of good contraceptive practice, social expectations, family expectations. It used to be that having more children ensured survival of enough to fulfil the roles of children in a family- chores, work, income, care of the elderly parents and grand-parents, changes in personal and family circumstances.

    How much is to do with the modern practice of single parent families, people having multiple partners in life for shorter periods than a fifty year marriage, and the need to celebrate that union with a child or two?

    I don’t know the answers but I am sure that the research will have been done and that it’s little to do with “breeding for benefits” or irresponsibility.

  16. jcuknz 16

    I am a fan of the ‘responsible society’ which cares for its population BUT having numerous kids is not being responsible to either the country nor the world.
    If the individual cannot be responsible then either the state denies care* or takes action to enable the individual.
    Talk of changed circumstances is a red herring and does not apply. If circumstances change then the state should take responsibility … but not if it is caused by irresponsibility.
    Just as the market is distorted by multiple building ownership being tax free so also the concept of women irresponsibly having more kids which become a burden on the state.
    * Years ago the help was targeted towards the child but the ‘do gooders’ changed that to the current system with unintended consequences we face today which threaten the viability of the system.

  17. Reality 17

    As has been compared with Australia recently, the cost of food in NZ is very high especially with gst added to everything. Add high petrol and transport costs, education, rent, clothing, medical expenses etc, it is no wonder so many struggle even if working. Plus if the car needs fixing, or the washing machine breaks down, it is not surprising there are huge problems for families. NZ is not a cheap place to live in.

  18. Reality 18

    These comments were not agreeing with that cold mean looking woman above. Their children are all that some people have of value in their difficult daily struggles.

    • jcuknz 18.1

      My concern is for the children without proper food/clothing but aware from reading what an American woman wrote that while she knew she was doing wrong she needed the little bit of gratification to make life livable. She was writing about smoking but it applies to other aspects of life.

  19. mac1 19

    A cartoon in yesterday’s paper asked a very pertinent question.
    Little/Labour-“Has a plan to throw more money at struggling people who have kids.”
    English/national- “Has a plan to throw more money at struggling people who don’t have kids.”
    Unknown leader/party- “Has a plan to tackle the reasons people are struggling.”

    The question is who has the third plan?

    • Draco T Bastard 19.1

      The question is who has the third plan?

      Which party is promising to get rid of capitalism and legislate the rich out of existence?

      • Cemetery Jones 19.1.1

        Getting rid of capitalism hasn’t exactly had the best track record in tackling the reasons people are struggling though, has it?

        • Draco T Bastard 19.1.1.1

          Replacing private capitalism with state capitalism isn’t getting rid of capitalism.

          • Cemetery Jones 19.1.1.1.1

            Dancing on the head of a pin really. Central planning was a disaster when we measure its effect on inequality. The fact that some AKs and MiGs got exported for foreign exchange earnings remains simply window dressing. Social democracy is still unbeatable for getting rid of inequality.

            • Draco T Bastard 19.1.1.1.1.1

              Central planning was a disaster when we measure its effect on inequality.

              The central planning the NZ did worked quite well. Since we’ve dropped that things have gotten much worse.

              Social democracy is still unbeatable for getting rid of inequality.

              It’s the best that we’ve tried so far but it still failed because of it still being based upon capitalism.

              • Cemetery Jones

                Sure, we used a limited amount of central planning in the context of a mixed economy and mostly in areas where private enterprise isn’t required or won’t be socially responsible – power plants, rail network, etc. We don’t need them to be profit focused barring what it takes to maintain and improve the plant etc. But what, we need collectivised agriculture and state grocery stores? Consumer goods? I don’t see any reason to produce those by central planning. Regulation definitely, it’s vital that the state delineates food hygiene standards, labelling, safety and so on which capitalism won’t do unless we set those rules. But central planning doesn’t invent cool stuff (all due respect to Soviet military equipment and the fluke development of Tetris).

                Most of what we achieved with central planning was ultimately stuff which wasn’t invented under those conditions, and probably wouldn’t have been. How does a centrally planned economy turn that individual’s lightbulb moment into a product line? Social democracy with the right legal framework can stop Microsoft from exploiting people and make them pay their taxes. But a centrally planned economy will never produce the likes of Microsoft, only copy it once someone in a free system invents it.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  But what, we need collectivised agriculture and state grocery stores?

                  We already have those. The problem is that it’s only a few people in the collective and so the benefits aren’t properly distributed. In fact, the benefits pretty much just go to the bludgers known as shareholders.

                  A ‘farmer’ can own multiple farms and not work at any of them. Why shouldn’t the government do the same? Oh, wait, they do and they generally work better than the privately owned ones. You’ll note that there isn’t any government planning though.

                  Consumer goods? I don’t see any reason to produce those by central planning.

                  I do. It’s cheaper per person. What you don’t want is for them to be designed by central planning.

                  And, again, that’s pretty much how private enterprise works as well. They have multiple design teams and a centralised production. Hell, they may not even bother doing the production themselves like Apple.

                  How does a centrally planned economy turn that individual’s lightbulb moment into a product line?

                  By making it possible to have that light-bulb moment reach the production line. Something that capitalism is actually really bad at. In fact, it gets in the way of it because it can’t support competition.

                  But a centrally planned economy will never produce the likes of Microsoft, only copy it once someone in a free system invents it.

                  And that’s just ideological bollocks. What is needed is support for people to be entrepreneurial and capitalism fails badly at that as it removes support from the majority so as to make a few rich.

                  And, after all that, no one here is in favour of central planning. Least of all me.

                  Central planning is what capitalism is, that’s what it’s hierarchical systems always bring about. As we see here and here.

                  • Cemetery Jones

                    That’s such a fallacy. If you get to the point that you admit central planning only works so long as ‘design’ isn’t centrally planned, then you realise already that it’s an argument with feet of clay. Who decides who designs in such a system? You say this:

                    “What is needed is support for people to be entrepreneurial and capitalism fails badly at that as it removes support from the majority so as to make a few rich.”

                    Nobody I know who went into business for themselves needed “support” to get going. They needed skills, products, or services that people were willing to pay money for. They didn’t need to design something and then hand it over to the central planners for approval. The customer decided that for them, based on what they desired to spend their money on.

                    If you’re going to admit that design needs to take place outside of the central planning paradigm, they you already admit it can’t work on a systemic level. How are we to be entrepreneurial if we’ve been assigned to fulfil quotas at the copper wire plant? How do we proceed if we know our idea is good, but the central planners have declined to offer their ‘support’ and we can’t do anything about it ourselves because capitalism is illegal and central planners control the resources? It’s a control freak’s paradise at best. The idea that you’ll get less hierarchy from that system is breath taking. And seriously at odds with historic evidence.

                    EDIT: and while we were here, I’ve still seen nothing to show how ending capitalism will rid us of inequality, and nothing to suggest that there’s a better model than social democracy.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Who decides who designs in such a system?

                      The people who want to.

                      They didn’t need to design something and then hand it over to the central planners for approval.

                      I didn’t say that they hand it over to the central planners for approval. They would submit it to the factory to get it produced. No approval needed. If people see it on the market then they can buy it or not.

                      There’s less seeking approval than in a capitalist system because in a capitalists system you do need to get approval first usually by being an employee.

                      Nobody I know who went into business for themselves needed “support” to get going.

                      Every person who goes into business for themselves needed support from the community in one form or another. There are no self-made millionaires.

                      If you’re going to admit that design needs to take place outside of the central planning paradigm, they you already admit it can’t work on a systemic level.

                      What a load of bollocks. The state makes factories and resources available and then people submit designs to the factories to have them produced.

                      How are we to be entrepreneurial if we’ve been assigned to fulfil quotas at the copper wire plant?

                      Who said anything about assigning anybody anywhere? I sure as hell didn’t.

                      How do we proceed if we know our idea is good, but the central planners have declined to offer their ‘support’ and we can’t do anything about it ourselves because capitalism is illegal and central planners control the resources?

                      /facepalm

                      You seem to be ignoring everything I’ve said like the bit where I said there’d be no central planning.

                      State support through free education, freely available factories to use, a way to bring people with the same idea together and a UBI.

                      and while we were here, I’ve still seen nothing to show how ending capitalism will rid us of inequality

                      That’s because you’re not reading what I’m saying but having a knee-jerk reaction to the removal of capitalism and screaming Central Planning, Central Planning, Central Planning, Central Planning, Central Planning.

                    • Cemetery Jones

                      Well that’s because you’ve started out defending central planning, then changed tack and claimed that actually you’re not arguing for it, even …. though …. you’ve just spent several posts doing exactly that before belatedly introducing the claim that actually you’re talking about something else, it’s just that unlike central planning, that something else is something you’ve not mentioned or agued for in any level of proactive detail.

                    • Well that’s because you’ve started out defending central planning

                      [Citation Needed]

        • KJT 19.1.1.2

          Government shares of the economy over 60% has worked rather well. Including New Zealand in the past.

          • Cemetery Jones 19.1.1.2.1

            That’s not getting rid of capitalism though, it’s a sensible mixed economy.

            • KJT 19.1.1.2.1.1

              Capitalism works fine for market gardens, small building businesses and the corner store.

              For large scale infrastructure and innovation, not so much.

  20. Draco T Bastard 20

    One of the reasons we cannot afford the rich is:

    Modelling a range of different scenarios, Motesharrei and his colleagues conclude that under conditions “closely reflecting the reality of the world today… we find that collapse is difficult to avoid.” In the first of these scenarios, civilisation:

    “…. appears to be on a sustainable path for quite a long time, but even using an optimal depletion rate and starting with a very small number of Elites, the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society. It is important to note that this Type-L collapse is due to an inequality-induced famine that causes a loss of workers, rather than a collapse of Nature.”

    We’re now at the point where we have famine among Commoners and thus the working population can no longer support themselves resulting in an overall decline.

    Nat/ACT’s call for people to have less children will hasten that decline and they’re open gates policy for immigration won’t address the problem caused by the rich taking up all the resources.

  21. Lara 21

    The problem I have with this tired old trope being trotted out, is it usually quickly devolves into bashing women (metaphorically) and suggesting forced sterilisation. Of women. Somehow rarely men.

    The argument ignores three very important points:

    1. No one can see the future. Severe illness, economic recessions or depressions or death in the family can quickly and dramatically change financial circumstances. A couple may be comfortable when they conceive a child, and poor after that child’s birth.

    2. No method of contraception works 100% all the time. Sometimes contraception fails. Would ACT advocate forced abortion for poor women who get pregnant as a result of failed contraception? Or do they suggest poor women don’t get to have sexual lives?

    3. Not all pregnancies are the result of consensual sex. Conception can be the result of rape.

    From the reading and research I have done on this topic I have concluded that it’s down primarily to one factor, this reduction of birth rates.

      Respect.

    For women. Give us the tools (contraception, and yes, abortion), show us how they work, and leave it up to us to make our own decisions about our own bodies. When that happens, no matter what the GDP of the country, women choose less babies. The birth rate falls.

    And finally, the birth rate at 1.87 in NZ is already below replacement rate of 2.1. Actually no need to force anyone to do anything, our birth rate is low and dropping.

    • Andre 21.1

      I have no problem at all with the idea of compulsory vasectomies for the fathers of benefit-dependent children.

    • RRM 21.2

      Who’s talking about forced sterilization?

      Only the left, fantasizing that that’s what Act wants to do.

      (Never mind the whole history of the 20th century that suggests it is mainly communists who embark on wholesale campaigns of domesticgenocide… )

      • Lara 21.2.1

        ACT have suggested forced sterilisation.

        Pretty sure they’re right wing.

        And anyway, I made zero mention of left or right and I don’t give a f**k. I’ve seen this type of conversation devolve pretty quickly into suggestions of forced sterilisation from both sides. Or forced removal of babies from mothers, as Paula Bennet has suggested. Which IMO is just as bad.

  22. Stuart Munro 22

    If ACT’s grandiose economic projections had not been absolute and unmitigated piffle, our poor would be comfortably middle class. They ought to be after Bill – whose vast incompetence has not grown the real economy at all. But ACT’s principles go no deeper than sound bites; they never gave a deleted expletive about their country.

  23. Ethica 23

    Michael Laws used to spout this same hatred of poor people and children. Turns out his parenting skills weren’t always wonderful.

    • Pedro 23.1

      What ignorant nonsense. Michael looks after 3 young children without the support of their mother. They all seem to be turning out ok.

  24. AB 24

    To me the objectionable thing is that ACT ideology would submit even the deepest human needs and emotions to ‘market discipline’.
    Can’t afford children due to low wages, insecure work, inadequate housing? Then don’t have them. If you make a ‘poor choice’ and do have them, then the market will pass judgment on you.
    So I don’t see this as eugenicist in the classic sense – it’s not driven by a desire to control the racial make-up of society. Rather it is the outcome of taking a simple idea from the field of economics and elevating it to a universal principle that determines how everything works.
    A civilised community would approach it from the other end, and say that our goal was to create a society where everyone who wanted to start a family had the means and support to do so.

    Problem is though, the idea has just enough truth in it to be appealing – lots of people make exactly these economic calculations when deciding about a 3rd or 4th child and they are disdainful of other people who (on the surface) appear not to. So it’s a hard argument to win.

  25. Neil 25

    Next thing you know they will be wanting to sterilize all those that dont fit thier criteria for having children

    • RRM 25.1

      A lie.

      Act don’t want to sterilise anybody.

      They just want to stop working people from having to pay to subsidise the families of bludgers.

      • Sabine 25.1.1

        yei, i agree, lets cut working for families.

        that will learn those families to only have children that they can afford. Right?

  26. RRM 26

    You’ve got a RIGHT to have kids.

    Just bang them out.

    Somebody else will pay for you.

    • What kind of person believes kids are banged out?

      Oh, I see ^ ^ ^ ^

      • RRM 26.1.1

        Someone who’s got three, delivered two of them at home, and fully meets the financial needs of all of them. That’s who.

        I love how quickly you guys make it personal though.

        • Robert Guyton 26.1.1.1

          Were yours banged out?
          Sounds very industrial.

          • RRM 26.1.1.1.1

            Mrs RRM is a very competent mother. All I had to do was catch them.

            • Robert Guyton 26.1.1.1.1.1

              Well, RRM, should the construction industry take a downturn or you are injured on the job and Mrs RRM have to go out to work in order to support the family, I hope everything stays hunky-dory for you all.

              • RRM

                The construction industry eh?

                OMG you know everything about me!

                I guess it’s off to the Ministry of Love if your lot ever get back into power.

                You scary, scary big brother. :-/

  27. ianmac 27

    Looking at it in another way would be to wonder if a Mum with many kids and low income would be better able to manage the welfare of her kids should she have had fewer kids? Food. Clothing. Shelter. School.

    • jcuknz 27.1

      I would suggest that a Mum with eight or ten kids and eight or ten fathers sharing the job of bringing them up rather than eight or ten Uncles is a pretty good concept.
      But it is the low income of the fathers which makes it unattractive to the ‘fathers’ concerned.
      While it is grossly unfair to blame the women concerned … they have control of the situation and are the ones who need to accept the restrictions while enjoying the benefits of ‘the responsible society’
      After all the RS cannot exist without a responsible populace.

  28. Sabine 28

    @jcuknz
    I would suggest that a Father with eight or ten kids and eight to ten women sharing the job of bringing them up rather than eight or ten aunties is a pretty good concept.
    But it is the low income of the mothers which makes it unattractive to the ‘fathers’ concerned.
    While it is grossly unfair to blame the men concerned … they have control of the situation and are the ones who need to accept the restrictions while enjoying the benefits of ‘the responsible society’
    After all the RS cannot exist without a responsible populace.

    Ways for men to be responsible about their abililty to ‘breed’ children.

    a. don’t be a slut and fuck around – or else you end up all used up and no other godly girl would want to marry you. So sex only coupled with holy matrimony and only for procreation.

    b. don’t be a slut and fuck around making babies – use a condom

    c. don’t be a slut and fuck around making babies- get snipped

    d. don’t be a slut and fuck around making babies – be celibate

    e. don’t be a slut and fuck around making babies- masturbate
    these are the various ways men can not father children.

    • Cinny 28.1

      and if guys want to be a slut and fuck around… be smart about it, go pay for a hooker, they are legal and safer than any one night stand, and the best thing.. guaranteed sex, no strings attached.

      • Sabine 28.1.1

        but they would have to pay for the services and that could pose an issue, so rather fuck around maybe with someone who is equally slutty (cause some people really like sex) or someone under the influence who can then be shamed for having a child to some bloke she does not remember cause ‘pissed/drugged’.

        my point is not about having sex, being a sex positive person, my point is that men make children, they help ‘breed’ the child. The women literally is only the incubator, but without some Sperm from blokes nothing is happening.

        two women having sex, or two blokes having sex is not gonna result in a child. Its the hetero normative sex that leads to children and women don’t do it on their own. they still need the bloke.

    • jcuknz 28.2

      I had second thoughts following my ’27’ Sabine and agree with your points and personally ‘b’ and ‘e’ was my policy but academic now at my age so ‘a’ doesn’t apply.
      One of the sad tales my mother told me was her step father believed that sex was purely for procreation and her mother, widow of a navy man, was used to sex as entertainment with him, resulting in my Mother and older sister.

  29. rhinocrates 29

    I think that we all should remember that this is eugenics thinly disguised, with the implication that the greedy and predominantly white are ubermenschen.

    Pete Beige brought this up recently, suggesting that poor (implicitly brown, since that was the example he used) should be discouraged from having children, while ignoring benefit-scammer Billshit’s own inability to keep his dick in his pants or hands out of the till.

    • jcuknz 29.1

      As to what you call it is your choice but I call it responsibility in one’s life choices both for the parents and the children. eugenics is breeding for a given result in the outcome but while I agree this could be the case here I see it as responsible choice of benefit to parent and child that resources are put into rearing one child …. as I did and happily my son also. But of course knowing no different large families can be happy and meaningful ones when in a responsible society like NZ. But a woman without a steady man in the home cannot do a very good job on her own however much government assistance she gets. Children need both a mother and father working together … ‘uncles’ are a poor substitute.

  30. Sacha 30

    The nasty Act deputy just got her arse handed to her by Kim Hill on RNZ. Worth a listen for a clinical dissection of their beliefs.

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