On Best Start

Written By: - Date published: 10:06 pm, January 28th, 2014 - 95 comments
Categories: Left - Tags:

So Labour has launched the Best start policy and the criticism from National and its followers has been swift and well coordinated. And, like the bulk of National’s attacks on it opponents, it also has no basis in reality.

The criticism of Labour’s Best start policy is essentially falling into two categories.

The first is that it will encourage irresponsible parents to breed children just for the extra $60 per week.

There are many good reasons why this is a bogus argument but rather than wade into that it’s much faster to simply look at the evidence:

Australia has had a similar policy since 2002. The following graph (hattip to pete), of Australian fertility rates, demonstrates that this policy has had a negligible effect on the  population.

NZ Aus fert rates

The graph makes clear that those who claim that the Labour policy will create a tsunami of ‘bene breeders’ are talking complete and utter nonsense.

The other common criticism of the policy is that the cut-off limit ($150k) for the weekly $60 is too high. That it is rewarding those who already have enough money and don’t deserve assistance.

Of course the reality is that in low-wage NZ there will be relatively few families who are in this privileged position and that the vast majority of families that receive the $60 will be low to middle income families who really will find the extra money helpful during what is a very financially strained time.

The high cut-off limit also means that ‘Best start’ is, for all intents and purposes, a universal policy like NZ super. You wont hear the right calling for the end of super because a few millionaires get it. Seems their preference is for kicking poor kids over rich grannies, go figure…

geoff

95 comments on “On Best Start”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Thanks Geoff.

    The criticisms are starting to really annoy me and you have addressed their main criticisms.

    The third one, that Labour has not funded the proposal is also bollocks. Between CGTs and increased tax for the wealthy it and other policies can be funded.

    • karol 1.1

      Then there’s Gower’s beat up on TV3 tonight. As if it wasn’t very clear yesterday, on Labour’s FAQ Best Start page, that people getting PPL wouldn’t get the Best Start payment for new borns.

      • newsense 1.1.1

        That was on TVNZ as well. In a mostly good piece from Corin Dann the line was allowed that Cunliffe was deceiving New Zealanders or something like that and then Dann said that Cunliffe had allowed Key a line of attack, without assessing the validity of that line of attack.

        eh.

        Thick skin time!

        And the “Labour blindsided” from TV3 by National doing its own PPL. Surely that should read champagne corks off for the opposition as National forced to adopt a popular Labour policy in another successful campaign advanced by a Labour-sponsored private members bill.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.2

        “As if it wasn’t very clear yesterday, on Labour’s FAQ Best Start page”

        It might have been very clear on their FAQ. But it was NOT clear from Cunliffe’s speech.

        It would not have taken much to mention it: announce paid parental leave first, then add the $60 payment for those not receiving paid parental leave.

        Simple. But he didn’t do it.

        Yes, the media are way over-reacting, but the point is, Cunliffe gave them an opening.

  2. tricledrown 2

    The funny thing about the Australian baby bonus it was put in place by the right wing Howard govt which makes Nationals criticism Ironic.

    • McFlock 2.1

      … as well as moronic

    • chris73 2.2

      Even funnier it was the Labor party that ended it…

      • Tamati 2.2.1

        Exactly –what was the ALP’s justification for ditching it?

        I think the Aussies also did it better with the one off lump payment. Cunliffe can’t really say that he’s opposed to “nanny state vouchers” but doesn’t trust parents with a lump sum. It would probably be easier to administer than weekly payments too.

      • karol 2.2.2

        Actually, I don’t think it’s been axed (by the Labor government last year) so much as cut back in Aussie – there will be fewer families getting it. But that also gets Family Tax benefits.

        The thing called “Baby Bonus” has been axed, but some families will still be getting some money for their new born children.

        So it’s a more targeted system, with various kinds of benefits for specific groups of families.

        • Tamati 2.2.2.1

          From that article it seems that the Aussies have a lower threshold, despite a significantly higher wage economy.

          I still think a lump sum option would be more appropriate.

      • joe90 2.2.3

        Even funnier it was the Labor party that ended it…

        But not as funny as you being too fucking stupid to use google to find out that eligibility has been tightened but reduction in the bonus will be compensated for by an increase in the family tax credits for those who qualify.

        http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/excessive-baby-bonus-scrapped/story-fnhi8df6-1226642532079

        edit: now this is a baby bonus

        By having two children, a middle-income Singaporean household may receive various incentives which are equivalent to S$166,000.[9]:14 For third and subsequent child, the household will get an additional S$8,000 as Baby Bonus[10] and S$20,000 as Parenthood Tax Rebate

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_bonus#Singapore

        • jbc 2.2.3.1

          edit: now this is a baby bonus

          Don’t bring Singapore into this debate. The far right would love a scheme like theirs.

          Not available to illegitimate children (Singapore Govt’s terminology) unless the “natural parents become lawfully married before the child reaches 6 years old.” Also: absolutely no welfare and very low tax.

          edit: Colin Craig would love that.

          • Colonial Viper 2.2.3.1.1

            And lots of mistreated poorly paid immigrant workers who keep the place running. Nice little workers riot they had a month or two ago.

            • jbc 2.2.3.1.1.1

              Absolutely. Disneyland with the death penalty.

              I lived there for 10 years and can say that is more than enough to cure anyone of their right-leaning tendencies. Provided of course said person brings some sense of humanity / compassion with them.

              • KJT

                Not sure the right would like the Singapore Governments participation and regulation of business and the economy.

                The land rents, that allow them to charge low taxes otherwise, are worth thinking about.

    • Matt 2.3

      The baby bonus was then revoked when the costs grew to 1.1 billion. Where will the money come from for this policy?

  3. chris73 3

    You wont hear the right calling for the end of super because a few millionaires get it. Seems their preference is for kicking poor kids over rich grannies, go figure…

    – This one from the right thinks super should be means tested…

    • McFlock 3.1

      kids don’t vote. Pensioners do.

    • mac1 3.2

      Considering the amount of people who underdeclare their income to avoid taxation, means tested super would just give another justification for that dishonest and antisocial practice, and add to the bureaucracy for no real benefit.

    • KJT 3.3

      That is because tax fiddling right wingers still expect they will get it when it is means tested.

  4. joe90 4

    Meanwhile, over at the sewer the penguin conducts the mob.

  5. Tamati 5

    You can’t simply compare two time series graphs and claim that this proves a lack of causation. Chances are a few parents will choose to have additional children, because of the payment.

    What the graph does show is that any effect will be minimal.

    What’s wrong with having more children anyway? Someone needs to pay the taxes when we all retire.

    • geoff 5.1

      What the graph does show is that any effect will be minimal.

      Yep, that’s all it needs to do. I’m sure a baby bonus does cause a certain percentage of people to decide to have kids but, as the graph shows, that certain percentage is very small.

  6. Bill 6

    What was it with the b/s being carried on Radio NZ ‘news’ reports today essentially sanctioning peeps on +$150k to rort the whole thing? Anyone care to explain that hypocritical, non-sensical and illogical piece of misanthropy? Have people really internalised the null morality of corporate $$$ thought to such a degree?

  7. The graph makes clear that those who claim that the Labour policy will create a tsunami of ‘bene breeders’ are talking complete and utter nonsense.

    It doesn’t make that clear at all. If we assume the Aus baby bonus scheme was similar to Best Start (which I’m going to do because I can’t be arsed looking it up, and if they aren’t similar the graph would tell us nothing anyway), then what it does make clear is that the scheme had little or no effect on overall fertility at the population level. For all this graph tells us, the Aus baby bonus scheme may have had no effect on birth rates of people on benefits, may have made them fall, or may have made them rise. We don’t know because it’s population-level data, not beneficiary-specific data.

    • geoff 7.1

      Argh, not you again! I spent all day patiently trying to reason with you. Someone else please berate Psycho Milt, I need some sleep.

      • miravox 7.1.1

        “Someone else please berate Psycho Milt, I need some sleep.”

        Many have tried, and all have failed 😉

        I’m surprised there are people who have argued with venom over they years that the poor don’t take finances into consideration when they decide to have children and with this Best Start policy are at at the same time arguing that the poor will have more children because they can financially afford to do so for several years.

        I think – with just as much evidence as as those who think the poor will have more children – people will have the same number of children, but they will make the decision to have them earlier.

        The decision to have the first child is pretty much done and dusted, it’s just timing that is the issue – almost everyone has one (although childless choices are becoming more popular). Subsequent children are a result of lots of factors with the personal ability (physically and mentally) to manage the next one quite high on the list for women who have social, educational, cultural, financial and relationship freedoms to make that choice.

        Encouraging women to have children earlier (in the 20-30s) is a good thing, imo.

        • Matthew Hooton 7.1.1.1

          The Australian scheme appears to have increased the fertility rate from 1.7 to 2.0 between 2001 and 2008, with the biggest increase among women aged 35-39. For quick summary, see http://mccrindle.com.au/the-mccrindle-blog/the-baby-bonus-generation

          • mickysavage 7.1.1.1.1

            Where is your proof of causation Matthew?

            New Zealand had a similar increase during this time without the benefit of a package.

          • geoff 7.1.1.1.2

            Looked at your link, it’s just opinion without raw data to inspect.

            As the graph above in my post demonstrates, they have merely chosen convenient end points in the data for their analysis, ending it in 2008 and ignoring the decrease and flattening off in fertility rate after that point.

            Essentially they’re trying to say that the noise is the signal. It’s the same bogus trick as the climate-change deniers do.

            Nice try, Matthew.

          • miravox 7.1.1.1.3

            Without further evidence, I suggest the gradual increase in delayed motherhood is largely responsible for the higher birthrate in the 35-39 age group. It will be interesting to see if there was a dip in 20-35 age fertility in the decade previously. The article alludes to this also.

            The trend over the last decade has been increasing fertility rate amongst older women. Over the last decade, the fertility rate of women aged 35-39 has been greater than that of women in their early twenties. The fertility rate of a 32 year old woman is ten times greater than that of a 17 year old!

            otoh hand at least the article provides no evidence that teens used it to ‘breed’ for cash.

          • bad12 7.1.1.1.4

            Hooton, have you an opinion here, do you consider the 03% raise in the Australian fertility rate to be ‘breeding for money’…

            • BM 7.1.1.1.4.1

              The fertility rate rate between 2001 and 2008 increased by 17.5%

              That’s quite significant.

              • miravox

                “The fertility rate rate between 2001 and 2008 increased by 17.5%”

                Although there was an increase in fertility it doesn’t follow that this was a result of the baby bonus.

                For example – were there any other demographic trends that could account for the increase (e.g. increased immigration of women who would be of child-bearing age in 2001? ‘Catch up’ fertility of older women? (the tables suggest it might be), a previous ‘baby bump’ generation reaching adulthood?

                Were the fertility patterns any different to those in other similar countries? The graph on the post suggests some similarities between the NZ and Aust fertility rates, for example.

                • BM

                  Although there was an increase in fertility it doesn’t follow that this was a result of the baby bonus.

                  It does seem a bit of a coincidence that the fertility rate spiked after the start of the baby bonus scheme, but I get what your saying.

                  • felix

                    It might seem “a bit of a coincidence” if you were so dishonest that you didn’t consider any factors other than the ones you wanted to link (like Matthew, above) or if you were so thick you swallowed such an obvious line of bullshit unquestioningly (like you, always).

              • geoff

                17.5% of fuck all is still fuck all.

                So no, not significant at all.

                Just like the drop off after 2008 wasn’t significant.
                Just like the similar percentage increase in NZ around 2009 with no baby bonus wasn’t significant.

                Noise isn’t signal.

                Except in your brain, BM.

          • Chooky 7.1.1.1.5

            @ Possum Hooton …well women aged 35 to 39 will be more likely to be well educated women with careers who have been reluctant to have children because they will lose their economic independence…..if this is the case that some State money goes towards babies and their Mothers well-being then all the better! ….we need well educated financial feminist New Zealand Mothers to bring up future generations….for the sake of New Zealand….well educated Mothers bring up well educated children and young adults

            …..anyone who argues otherwise is a misogynist and a sexist

            …..and as well does not have the interests of children and New Zealand’s future at heart

          • Puddleglum 7.1.1.1.6

            Matthew,

            Have a look at New Zealand’s birthrate as compared to Australia’s and Iceland’s.

            Declining birth rates are widespread in developed economies since the 1960s. Financial incentives vary from country to country but the trend is the same. Something much, much more influential on birth rates is determining that trend.

            It’s hopeless reasoning to conclude that we should fear spikes in birth rates as a result of such a policy.

            Please read the downloadable pdf from this site on birth rates. It includes discussion of birth rates by age, region, etc.

        • geoff 7.1.1.2

          I’m surprised there are people who have argued with venom over they years that the poor don’t take finances into consideration when they decide to have children and with this Best Start policy are at the same time arguing that the poor will have more children because they can financially afford to do so for several years.

          this!

        • Psycho Milt 7.1.1.3

          I’m surprised there are people who have argued with venom over they years that the poor don’t take finances into consideration when they decide to have children and with this Best Start policy are at at the same time arguing that the poor will have more children because they can financially afford to do so for several years.

          I wouldn’t consider myself someone who argues with “venom,” but as the comment is addressed to me:

          The logical inconsistency is in your imagination. Consider:

          We have a proportion of people who are completely careless about or just don’t give a shit about whether they make babies, because taxpayers will pay for the children’s upbringing.

          Two things to note:
          1. It’s a fairly small proportion, because the taxpayer isn’t generous so to become someone who doesn’t care whether they make babies, you have to really have no prospects.

          2. Because the taxpayer isn’t generous, increasing numbers of children results in increasing financial difficulty, so it’s an even smaller proportion that doesn’t find it within themselves eventually to care about whether they make more babies.

          In light of those, what effect could we reasonably expect a sudden increase in generosity by the taxpayer to have? There’s plenty of room for argument over what level of increase in not giving a shit about making babies would result, but that there’d be an increase? No-brainer.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.1.1.3.1

            Ah, logic sophistry. So much more persuasive than facts

          • miravox 7.1.1.3.2

            “I wouldn’t consider myself someone who argues with “venom,” but as the comment is addressed to me:”

            The comment was addressed to Geoff and was a general observation. But anyways…

            From the perspective of a ex-teen mother, I do feel you argue with venom. I also feel I know a bit about the motivations (or lack of) for having children at a young age. Not ‘giving a shit’ is not one of them. Also, a lack of awareness of future prospects does not equal ‘no prospects’.

            We’ve argued this before, so lets agree to differ here, if that’s ok with you.

            Because I don’t agree with your number 1., your number 2. makes no sense at all to me.

            The Best Start package, from my point of view, would have very little to do with the decision-making process about how many babies a woman may bear (however young or unaware of future prospects they may be). There are far too many other factors that take precedence over $60 per week for 1 to 3 years. I do believe, however, that it may have an effect on the timing of pregnancies. That’s the no-brainer, imo.

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 7.1.1.3.3

            @ Psycho Milt

            We have a proportion of people who are completely careless about or just don’t give a shit about whether they make babies, because taxpayers will pay for the children’s upbringing.

            Alot of assumptions here Psycho Milt – how about applying some reason?

            The case may be that there are a) some men don’t give a shit about whether they make a woman pregnant or b) some women who don’t consider the consequences of falling pregnant or c) people who fall pregnant unexpectedly and yet there is certainly d) women that get pregnant under such circumstances do give a shit about babies and because of that will have them if they fall pregnant regardless of their circumstances -financial or otherwise.

            Should our economic/political system take reality into account? – or keep bumbling along based on notions on how those with their heads up their arse think people should be?

            I personally think all people should be honest and fair -if this was the case very few laws whatsoever would be needed – yet because I know not everyone is honest and fair I support laws that protect people from others’ dishonesty and poor intentions.

            A grasp on reality needs to be included here – one could outlaw having children if one falls under a certain income level – yet what about people who were in better circumstances – whom have children and whose circumstances degenerate? – and even if such an outrageous law existed there would still be babies born illegally. The problem isn’t solved by such a law. You have to address reality – not ‘the way things should be’.

            The reality, also of this situation is that no such law would ever be passed – because those people running the show here and abroad would know that people would quickly realise that there is something seriously wrong with an economic system that leaves 25%plus of the population not ‘allowed’ to have children.

            “…because taxpayers will pay for the children’s upbringing.”

            This is an assumption. I really believe you are incorrectly concluding causation where none exists . Where do you get this notion of people calculating such a thing? This is pretty pivotal to your argument – yet what evidence exists that there is a connection between a persons choice to have a child and welfare?

            An argument could in fact be made that if there was no welfare in this country – more people in poor/insecure circumstances might actively choose to have more children – there is historical and current evidence (other countries) for this argument – in such circumstances the more children one has the more chances one has of an income that covers living costs – child labour is usually involved with this option.

            Nowhere in this argument, either, is the notion presented that having children is a service to society and just because it isn’t a ‘profession’ it could be considered a most worthy activity

            • Psycho Milt 7.1.1.3.3.1

              Alot of assumptions here Psycho Milt – how about applying some reason? The case may be that there are a) some men don’t give a shit about whether they make a woman pregnant or b) some women who don’t consider the consequences of falling pregnant or c) people who fall pregnant unexpectedly and yet there is certainly d) women that get pregnant under such circumstances do give a shit about babies and because of that will have them if they fall pregnant regardless of their circumstances -financial or otherwise.

              Yes, let’s apply some reason. Reason tells us that the statement

              We have a proportion of people who are completely careless about or just don’t give a shit about whether they make babies…

              specifically allows for other proportions of the population who make a baby because accidents happen or for a range of other reasons, and doesn’t attempt to assess the sizes of the different proportions.

              I really believe you are incorrectly concluding causation where none exists . Where do you get this notion of people calculating such a thing? This is pretty pivotal to your argument – yet what evidence exists that there is a connection between a persons choice to have a child and welfare?

              What evidence indeed? Shit social scientists we have in this country, let me tell you. The evidence is anecdotal, but it could be reasonably inferred in any case from the fact that we now have something like 40% of Maori babies being raised on welfare within the year of their birth.

              An argument could in fact be made that if there was no welfare in this country…

              No doubt, but who’d argue that there should be no social welfare, apart from a few ACT and Libertarianz nutters? I don’t see any need to take them into account.

              • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                specifically allows for other proportions of the population who make a baby because accidents happen or for a range of other reasons, and doesn’t attempt to assess the sizes of the different proportions.

                I really don’t get what you are trying to say here at all.

                What evidence indeed? Shit social scientists we have in this country, let me tell you. The evidence is anecdotal, but it could be reasonably inferred in any case from the fact that we now have something like 40% of Maori babies being raised on welfare within the year of their birth.

                You have come some way in this paragraph to accepting that there is a certain proportion of children in poor circumstances – albeit with a racial slant.

                So, what do we do about it? Sterilize them? [exaggerated argument not to be taken seriously!] Or deal with the reality – ensure that these parents have a bit more to provide for these children so these children get more of a chance to grow up without a feeling of alienation – that they feel a welcome part of society this is important re alienation and then do we follow through with a better economy that actually encourages the creation of jobs and better wages & working conditions – things that Mr Cunliffe’s speech has mentioned is the intention.

                Or do we simply watch what is going on from our moral and idealistic high-ground wishing others weren’t ‘more like us’ (i.e. perfectly correct in everything we do and our lives are perfect – all due to our own marvellous characters and let us not forget to mention hard work) and berating those that come from different backgrounds and make different choices to those ‘we’ do (I mean, diversity isn’t a strength in the world – we really must all be exactly the same).

                We can create the world we wish for as long as we are realistic and can separate our ideals from reality enough to find the path toward making our ideals into reality – there is more chance for this occurring with what Labour have proposed than Key’s create-more-small-groups-of-highly-paid-bureaucrats-who-will-vote-Nat-and-create-a-self-perpetuating-already-failed-approach-to-politics proposal.

                No doubt, but who’d argue that there should be no social welfare, apart from a few ACT and Libertarianz nutters? I don’t see any need to take them into account.

                You have been arguing the point specifically against welfare – it appears you do not want the DPB to be raised –

                [Ask yourself what is the point of welfare that does not ensure that those on it with children are able to raise their children in a manner that puts their children in good stead to get the opportunities that everyone else has, rather it perpetuates a cycle of welfare dependency – due to the payment being too low.]

                • I really don’t get what you are trying to say here at all.

                  Then I’ll put it more simply: you seem to imagine I’m saying that all DPB (or whatever the fuck they’re calling it now) recipients are people who are careless about contraception or simply don’t give a shit; I’m not.

                  So, what do we do about it?

                  1. Give them more money. (Cunliffe seems to have figured this bit out.)
                  2. Take steps to discourage carelessness about contraception or just not giving a shit. There’s no end of options, varying in feasibility, usefulness, expense, compliance with basic human rights etc – I don’t recommend any particular one, but then I’m not running for office. (Cunliffe seems to have missed this one, which is a problem).

                  You have been arguing the point specifically against welfare…

                  Not so. A comprehensive social welfare system is an essential feature of a modern democracy, and I’d never argue we shouldn’t have one. I’ve spent a lot of time here arguing against inviting and encouraging the abuse of welfare, though.

                  • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                    @ Psycho Milt

                    O.k, I hadn’t realised that you were merely objecting to the strength of strategy being applied toward National’s fake-arguments. You could have made this a lot clearer.

                    This ends up being like shadow boxing, Milt – attempting to argue fallacious points with someone who when pushed doesn’t actually agree with the arguments – yet somehow argues these fallacious points anyway – yet believes the spin enough to not accept any of the arguments saying there is no causation between giving people $ 60 of welfare support with people choosing to have more babies – there are plenty of other factors that lead to people having babies and ending up on welfare that contribute to this outcome

                    How many times does someone have to be given free contraceptives to satisfy your particular concerns?

                    How many times does someone have to say that the problem with high levels welfare in this country is not due to the victims of it?

                    It is due to the policies that successive governments have been following which have had zero focus on 100% employment and all the focus on interest rates so that people already in debt don’t have to pay so much on the houses that they haven’t noticed they actually can’t afford because work conditions have got horribly bad – specifically wage rates – and this being because of governmental policies that only focus on interest rates and not a bigger picture [please go to start of paragraph if you wish to experience an infinite loop].

                    How many things did Mr Cunliffe say in that one speech alone that directly addresses your concerns – in reality – if you weren’t playing chase-the-Nat-created-delusions- and – shadows-of-distraction?

                    In that speech I heard raising wages, creating a job focussed economy, redistribution of wealth, and a move to curb price-raising speculation to name a few – all these things will discourage unemployment and poverty – i.e. welfare. All these policies will lead to less people being forced to lead lives dependant on government hand-outs – and to belabour a point this joblessness and ensuing welfare has been created by government approaches to our economy that omits to take into account the effects these have on peoples’ livelihoods and how missing this point effects society as a whole.

                    Is THAT enough to allay your Nat-spin-created-fears Psycho Milt? Or are you really like the right-wing spin creators and fearful that these policies of Labour might actually work?

                    • geoff

                      This ends up being like shadow boxing, Milt – attempting to argue fallacious points with someone who when pushed doesn’t actually agree with the arguments – yet somehow argues these fallacious points anyway – yet believes the spin enough to not accept any of the arguments saying

                      And you’ve come exactly to the place I got to with him, BL.

                    • It feels like shadow boxing for you because you’re starting from the principle that there’s no such thing as wasters, or people who don’t give a shit about contraception because it doesn’t matter if they make a baby. Given the non-existence of such people, arguments based on their existence seem bizarre and unreal to you, and arguments that increasing the payments made to such people is likely to increase their number just deranged gibberish. That’s OK, though – there are plenty of people out there who get the point.

      • McFlock 7.1.2

        According to the psychomilt-blatter beast of traal, if it refuses to look up and see if its assumptions match reality, then it’s nightmare of an outbreak of peonic reproduction might still be true.

      • Ross 7.1.3

        Actually Psycho is correct. There may have been a sharp increase in Aussie beneficiaries having kids after their baby bonus scheme, but maybe there are so few beneficiaries relative to the population that it doesn’t show up on the graph. The point is that the graph doesn’t tell us a lot.

        However I do agree that we’re unlikely to see a massive increase in the fertility rate if Labour’s policy is implemented. It costs about $250,000 to raise a kid to the age of 18. Labour’s policy will alleviate that cost by about $10,000. It’d be a dumb decision to spend $250K to get $10K.

    • Blue 7.2

      Why would you need beneficiary-specific data? The graph clearly shows that overall, there was little to no effect on fertility. Unless you have some reason to assume that rich people stopped having as many kids in response to the baby bonus, thus compensating for the imagined increase in poor people having kids.

      A much simpler explanation is that people who were going to have kids anyway had them, and those who weren’t, didn’t. The baby bonus had little to no effect on their decisions. As you would expect. Human reproduction isn’t about spreadsheets for most people.

      Even if you try to be a totally cynical asshole about it and assume that some people have kids solely and specifically to con money out of the state, the introduction of a baby bonus would not be expected to have much impact on their decision, because those people would be aiming to collect the DPB. The baby bonus would be nice for a few years, but that’s icing, not cake.

      The idea that a $60 per week payment for a maximum of three years of a child’s life is going to lead to a dramatic increase in the birth rate is totally illogical.

      • geoff 7.2.1

        Exactly.

      • Rosie 7.2.2

        “The idea that a $60 per week payment for a maximum of three years of a child’s life is going to lead to a dramatic increase in the birth rate is totally illogical.”

        Indeed Blue. The freak out line coming from the Right is head scratchingly inane in it’s assumption. I’m not sure how tard you have to be to think a parent would benefit beyond providing the basics out of $60 extra per week. Geez, the two of us can barely look after ourselves on one good income so I take my hat off to parents who must budget like fiends to make their children’s live’s healthy and happy. Children deserve more than the anger and jealousy that is being directed at them by the squawking “adults” that would deny them just a little more in life.

        As Cunliffe said “Paddy, no ones going to make a profit out of it”

    • If I’m reading Milt correctly – “then what it does make clear is that the scheme had little or no effect on overall fertility at the population level” – then he’s actually saying that Labour Best Start policy won’t encourage people to have more children. At least, not for the “princely” sum of $60 a week…

      Am I getting that right, Milt?

      • Psycho Milt 7.3.1

        I said nothing beyond the fairly obvious point that the author’s conclusion about what this graph demonstrates is unjustified. It does seem to provide evidence that paying people to have children didn’t significantly affect the overall population fertility rate in Australia, and I’d expect the same outcome here, as you say.

        However, that’s of little relevance to the policy’s weakness of being open to attack for the incentive effect on children being raised on benefits – it tells us nothing about that, contrary to the author’s claims.

        • geoff 7.3.1.1

          Why would the incentive to breed only effect the beneficiary population and not the rest of the population? Surely the incentive effect would have an equal effect on non-beneficiaries and we would see a rise in the overall population rate, which we do not.

          Why not just admit that you don’t like people who are on benefits? It would save us all a great deal of typing.

          This sort of policy is always going to come under spurious attack from bigotry on the right. That doesn’t mean the policy is flawed, it means the bigots are.

          • Lanthanide 7.3.1.1.1

            geoff, you can come up with whatever justifications you like for why the policy does or does not encourage specific segments of the population to have or not have babies, but the simple fact is, as Psycho Milt is pointing out, the data you are relying on is for the entire population, not any specific segment of the population.

            The graph simply does not support the claim you are making.

            You may still make that claim based on other evidence, logical deductions, suppositions, whatever you like, but the graph does not (by itself) support what you are saying.

            • geoff 7.3.1.1.1.1

              Be specific Lanth, which particular claim that I am making? That I said the graph shows the policy won’t create a tsunami of bene breeders?

              Perhaps I should have used less florid language, perhaps I should have not used the kind of rhetoric that the tories themselves are using in their attempts to smear this policy.

              Perhaps I should have instead said “The graph makes clear that those who claim that the Labour policy will create a significant increase in the fertility rate are talking complete and utter nonsense.”

              Would that have satisfied the pedant in you? 🙄

        • Frank Macskasy 7.3.1.2

          I agree; ” It does seem to provide evidence that paying people to have children didn’t significantly affect the overall population fertility rate in Australia, and I’d expect the same outcome here, as you say. “

          I think you’ve sussed that bit nicely.

          By the way, despite not agreeing with you on many issues, I unreservedly apologize for referring to you in the past as a Right Wing Nut Job. Your views are more diverse to merit such a simple label.

          We will have to debate each issue on it’s merits.

  8. Mr Tank 8

    5k a baby was the lump sum in Oz. Yes it did lead to some poor and/or too young people having babies, I know as I knew some of them. It was an example of the typically thick headed blunt instrument approach of the likes of John Howard. Labour’s $60 a week is a helping hand not an invitation to intergenerational stupidity. It’s a wonderful policy that will mean a lot to many of us. I look forward to more of Davo’s clever and compassionate policy making and politicking. Go hard comrade!

  9. Philj 9

    Xox
    I enjoy the rationality of some thought. We should have kids to pay taxes in the future! Hahaha

  10. vto 10

    Cut the superannuation to those on over 50k per year.

    Greedy wankers.

  11. Ad 11

    Oddly I don’t mind if there’s a bit of a lift in fertility, because of this policy. Most of New Zealand’s regions are depopulating.

  12. bad12 12

    i was more than happy with David Cunliffe’s announcement of ‘Best Start’, the breeding for money whine from the wing-nuts has been more than answered by the graph attached to this post,

    As a committed Socialist i had initial disquiet about how far up into the income levels ‘Best Start reached after all Socialism would demand that those with the least receive the most help,

    Such disquiet has been put to rest by the unveiling of the actual ‘nuts and bolts’ of the ‘Best Start’ program, the system of ‘claw-backs’ involved ensures that those with earnings below $50,000 annually will benefit the most,

    For a better explanation of how such ‘claw-backs’ will work the Herald online has an entirely innapropriately headlined article: ‘Labour’s baby bonus may produce less work, more babies:economist says’,

    In answer to such a piece of fatuous bullshit that ‘Best Start’ will produce less work, said to be the quote of an ‘economist’, if anyone moves from the work-force in order to have a baby and considering that She would have had to be producing something in a job of work that was ‘necessary’ then any reasoning person would have to assume that someone else previously not in employment would of necessity have to be hired albeit on a temporary basis to do that job of work,

    Considering the carefully targeted nature of ‘Best Start’ benefitting those with the least the most i have to give a round of applause to David Cunliffe and Labour for a great start to this election year…

  13. fisiani 13

    Labour will just try to bribe voters with a $60 baby bonus. Cash in hand. Not vouchers for baby food or baby shoes just cash in hand. A fair chunk of the $60 will obviously end up on the pokies, the booze, the fags and the the dope. Another typical Labour bribe. Throw my money and other peoples money at voters and expect them to tick Labour. How does that help a single child? The borrowed money puts up interest rates and that shoots up mortgage rates and rents.
    Notice how National do not fritter away public money. National are happy to target spending whilst Labour just throw money away.

    • felix 13.1

      “A fair chunk of the $60 will obviously end up on the pokies, the booze, the fags and the the dope.”

      “National are happy to target spending “

      Really? I’m relieved to learn that when National “targeted” 1.8 BILLION dollars of my money to the wealthiest people in the South Island, none of it was spent on gambling drinking smoking and drugs.

      Phew.

      🙄

    • Hayden 13.2

      A fair chunk of the $60 will obviously end up on the pokies, the booze, the fags and the the dope.

      Citation needed.

      • fisiani 13.2.1

        The sun rises in the East. The Pope is a Catholic. Citation needed?

        • Hayden 13.2.1.1

          So you don’t have one then? About how many new parents are currently splurging on “the pokies, the booze, the fags and the the (sic) dope”?

          Hardly surprising.

    • Chooky 13.3

      @fisiani re: “Notice how National do not fritter away public money. National are happy to target spending whilst Labour just throw money away.”…..This is bullshit !

      Labour should AXE the super toll motorways proposed by John Key ( no one wants them except John Key and his ‘ Chosen’ cronyist Capitalist mates….to line their pockets

      …eg from what I have heard at least one of these motorways is proposed to be constructed by an Australian company ….AXE them !

      …….. and and put the money into:

      1.) free university education for young New Zealanders up to and including PhD level ( these young people are NZ’s future!)

      2.)…..reinstating Continuing Education around the country( a great way for adults..from school leavers to 90 year olds….from Maori to Pakeha….from country to city….from new- comer immigrants to generational NZers to learn new skills and meet people…. and make life -long friends)

      ( John Key’s NACT axed Continuing Education!….. and gave the $90 million dollars directly to private schools… SHAME ON THEM!)

      3)…..Free polytech education, apprenticeships and internships ( we owe it to our young to look after them and help them into employment…before allowing in workers from overseas)

      ( Hear that Winston….no dirty deals with the Key NACT desperate Banksters…as John Armstrong suggests!)

      4) pour money into our starved STATE SCHOOLS ( better pay for All teachers not just John Key’s Ponzi few bullshit so called ‘excellent’ Principals)…Bring back the State School Inspectorate with very little extra cost ….Make all NZ schools genuinely run and funded by the State! ….not done on the cheap by unqualified, struggling and stressed parents

      ….Teaching is a Profession like Law and Medicine …..TREAT EDUCATION and TEACHERS with the RESPECT they deserve.!!!!!…this will raise education attainment levels to world class as in Finland)

      These policies would be a huge vote winner for Labour/Greens from young New Zealanders ( our future) and their parents….as well as every other New Zealander who values education and social cohesion.

      New Zealand has a proud record in Education which has been undermined by monetarism , Neo Liberal economics and John Key and his mates who would split it, undermine teachers and unions ……and privatise it a la USA charter school businesses and religious organisations…..This is not the New Zealand way! Hands off our New Zealand State Secular education system for ALL New Zealanders! ( the unions should be fighting for this)..

      • KJT 13.3.1

        “3)…..Free polytech education, apprenticeships and internships ( we owe it to our young to look after them and help them into employment…before allowing in workers from overseas)”

        Plus 10. About bloody time someone on here mentioned that tertiary education is not just learning 10000 new words and an arrogant attitude, at university.

    • miravox 13.4

      That’s the funniest bit of rubbish I’ve read all day, fisiani. I bow to your awesome evidence-free shill skills.

    • Chooky 13.5

      Note fisciani’s use of the words and concepts ‘TARGET’ and ‘WASTE’ when applying them to Labour or the Greens policies

      fisiani’s NACT friends TARGET :

      …. their own wallets ……and Trusts and Bank Balances and Property aquisitions, developments, speculations, companies …..and businesses (now they want to get into the education ‘business’)

      …..with New Zealanders hard earned cash and assets.

      ….They are spending our NZ birthright and bankrupting our New Zealand financially and morally

      for fisciani’s NACT friends WASTE :

      ……is spending any State money on New Zealand babies , children , youth, Mothers , families , the elderly …in education, health care, social welfare , employment and retirement

      In Government and NACT they are the weasels , stoats and ferrets …..without compassion, ruthless , determined and plundering…..they should be exposed and thrown out !

    • bad12 13.6

      fisiani, i refrain from calling most ‘wing-nuts’ that appear here on the Standard ‘Dick-Head’, but, your comment is just that, the words of a dickhead without a single shred of evidenc to back up such stupid assertions,

      National not frittering away public monies, that’s a pretty sad pathetic f**king joke with Slippery the Prime Minister being quoted in news reports today that 1 billion dollars of the proceeds of the sell off of State assets will be spent this year,

      National cannot yet say exactly how they intend to ‘blow’ that 1 billion dollars presumably because in the face of David Cunliffe and Labour’s ‘Best Start’ policy they only decided as early as last night to use the proceeds of the asset sales as,(in your words), an election bribe…

  14. Pete 14

    For a more in-depth analysis on the Austalian baby bonus and fertility rates, this article will help (pdf).

    The results from the logistic regression model (Table 2) show that the effect of the changes which coincided with the introduction of the Baby Bonus has almost certainly been very small: the coefficient is very small in magnitude and not significantly different from zero. (p.228)

    Parr, N., & Guest, R. (2011). The contribution of increases in family benefits to Australia’s early 21st-century fertility increase: An empirical analysis. Demographic Research, 25, 215-244. doi: 10.4054

    • miravox 14.1

      Thanks Pete, spot on.

      Quite a bit of talk about delayed fertility of educated, professional women and national economic prosperity in the conclusion. This seems to fit with international trends.

    • geoff 14.2

      Pete, you’re a fucking treasure.

      • Pete 14.2.1

        I aim to please 🙂

      • KJT 14.2.2

        Well, as you would expect, extra money for parents changes the timing of having children, not how many.

        I would have thought RWNJ’s would like “breeders” getting having children out the way, before, their “prime” earning/contributing to RWNJ’s fortunes, years.

  15. geoff 15

    And here’s a 2013 article from that old tory, John Howard, lamenting that the baby bonus was being reduced.

    http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/wheres-the-national-aspiration-howard-20130516-2jo0m.html

    As part of a response to a question about benefits to middle class in terms of the economy he said he was critical of the decision to reduce the baby bonus.

    Just shows how rabid the right are in NZ when they make John Howard look like a raving socialist in comparison.

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    23 hours ago
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