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Polity: National rejects helping the most vulnerable kids

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, July 11th, 2014 - 48 comments
Categories: child welfare, Economy, equality, national, same old national, welfare - Tags:

polity_square_for_lynnReposted from Polity.

Here is Vernon Small this morning:

The Government rejected plans to include beneficiaries in a package to help families with newborn babies, despite official advice they were the most vulnerable.

Budget papers show that last November, Treasury, Inland Revenue and Social Development jointly considered ways to give more help to families after the birth of a baby, in particular those on low to middle incomes, including beneficiaries.

Options considered included an increase in the parental tax credit (PTC) – part of Working for Families, but not available to beneficiaries – and extra paid parental leave (PPL).

Documents do not show when things changed, but by February ministers had rejected the inclusion of beneficiaries and had limited it to those in paid work.

That prompted officials to note: “Such a package would be targeted solely at families in paid employment. The children most at risk are those from beneficiary families and this package would not provide additional assistance to them.”

Why on earth would you exclude the most vulnerable children, if not simply to enjoy poking them in the eye?

This move by National Ministers is so disgracefully mean-spirited. The cost of helping those kids – the most vulnerable kids – as well as others would not have been enormous. The world economy is rebounding. It was the moral thing to do.


 

lprent: Rob saved you from me writing about this. My commentary was going to be a whole lot more sulphurous and it isn’t just a moral things to do.

This is just outright stupid by this National government. There is nothing as economically and socially expensive to society as a child that grows up badly into their long long adulthood. There is no time that is more stressful and more vulnerable for their opportunities for the future and their parents as in those first crucial months. It is also one of the most expensive points in any parents life.

The idea of National deliberately trying to make it worse for a section of our society during that period because they don’t like them being poor beggars belief. 

Somewhere in this article they talk about creating jobs to get “working” parents. Of course the “creation” of jobs by this pack of ministers has meant that they still have a level of household unemployment that is not decreasing and with increasing numbers of long term unemployment. This is exactly the same as the result that they produced in the 1990s, so you’d have to assume that it is deliberate. But then National talks blithely about trying to have equality of opportunity while hamstringing their kids? WTF!

While Labour did stick this particular assistance in WWF, at least they made the attempt to get people into work rather than just kicking them off benefits like National does.

Somehow babies are meant to suffer a lack of future opportunities for National’s incompetence because National has moral quibbles about people managing to be poor when that is where they put them?  National – a party only for the completely insane selfish hypocrites.

Damn. Looks like I wrote my post anyway.

48 comments on “Polity: National rejects helping the most vulnerable kids ”

  1. dimebag russell 1

    governments lose elections and this government is about to lose this one.
    and good riddance to them.

  2. karol 2

    lynn: Rob saved you from me writing about this.

    Yep. Ditto. especially when I have some pressing work issues on my mind.

    And this quote from Metiria Turei from the article is worth repeating:

    Greens co-leader Metiria Turei yesterday said the Government’s move “is one of the most astonishing examples of Government punishing children simply for being poor that I’ve ever seen”.

    • ‘the rich get richer..

      ..and it’s the poor wot gets the blame..’

      ..and yes..this really shows what uncaring shits national are..like little else..

      ..but y’know..!..you’d have to have amnesia to forget the clark govt excluded the children of benificiaries..in working for (some) families..

      ..and i see little difference there..

      ..and so labour have nothing to hold their heads high for/about..

      ..yet..

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    This is exactly the same as the result that they produced in the 1990s, so you’d have to assume that it is deliberate.

    It is deliberate. Having a lot of poor people keeps wages down and if it’s always the same people then they can blame the poor rather than their policies. And it also allows them to view themselves as special and thus worth the excess income and wealth that they have as a result of their policies.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Well, at least the auto-duplication of that comment got caught and deleted by the system 😈

      • framu 3.1.1

        hmm – i must be getting yours then – first time comments are being flagged as duplicates today

        • karol 3.1.1.1

          My comments are getting a “no data” page on submission. If I flick back and re-submit, I get a notice that I’ve already said that – and, indeed, I find the comment did post successfully.

          • framu 3.1.1.1.1

            oddly enough – when i posted the comment above i got the duplicate comment message so just went to a whole new browser page – yet theres the comment that the system told me wasnt posted

          • David H 3.1.1.1.2

            That’s just happened to me on my posting below.

  4. What low scum these gnats are – they attack the most vulnerable, those who need help the most and then they laugh over their slobbering chins when those people suffer – a reckoning is coming.

  5. What low scum these gnats are – they attack the most vulnerable, those who need help the most and then they laugh over their slobbering chins when those people suffer – a reckoning is coming.

  6. emergency mike 6

    National has gone full retard.

    “But a spokeswoman for Finance Minister Bill English said the decision was “consistent with the Government’s belief that paid employment was the best way to lift the most vulnerable families”.”

    This is straight out of The Civilian Party’s ‘tax the poor’ policy. Looks like Bill English didn’t realise it was a joke and thought it was a good idea. Punish beneficiaries with kids into crap jobs. Welcome to your brighter future.

  7. Macro 7

    I’ll bet the line is this “It’s to encourage them all back into work”. They are so out of touch with reality these people that they are prepared to kick anyone who is down. In the end a society is judged on how well it treats its most vulnerable. National has no conception of social justice – never has and never will. The sooner they are out on their ear and cast into the dustbin of history the better.

    • lprent 7.1

      When they have just had a kid?

      Getting a good nights sleep is usually most parents fervent dream after they have a kid.

      • David H 7.1.1

        Our little Boy is now just over 3 and we are still having broken sleep from Illness to nightmares the list goes on, the Latest is Croup,
        But what have I and my family done to be treated like second class citizens? It’s not my fault that I have nerve damage from car accidents had whilst working, (ACC dumped me onto WINZ) and it’s not my fault that my Job vanished when the NATS shrank the economy, and literally wiped out any and all discretionary spending. And it’s not my fault that NO ONE bothers to even acknowledge that they have received my application letter/E-Mail for what ever crap job that’s being advertised.

        But on the plus side I have had 3 wonderful years watching my son grow. And I have not missed any of his milestones, And now the millions of questions are just starting. Maybe I should post some, for some politically correct answers lol. or just to keep the T s busy

        1: Why is the sky blue and the grass green

  8. blue leopard 8

    To those cynics who keep pushing the ‘Labour and National are just the same’ – this is an area where it is clear that there would be a huge difference between a Labour government getting in and a National one.

    I would also like to see the issue of those on welfare working part-time being charged secondary tax being addressed.
    I would also like to see the issue of those in relationships being assisted substantially less than single people on welfare being addressed.

    Labour?
    Green?
    Mana?
    Internet Party?

    Any aims to address these problems?

    • Bearded Git 8.1

      Agreed blue leopard. Someone needs to tabulate the differences on key policies between National and Labour.

      • greywarbler 8.1.1

        @ blue leopard
        Yes to secondary tax being booted. The situation it was supposed to be serving is long gone and now it is just a way of yanking more money out of struggling people’s pockets.

        If you do get anywhere above minimum survival on benefits or low wages, the government try to take it off you. On benefits you can’t hold income for future needs even if known in advance, so if in present need you have to use up all money. If earning the the combination of rising prices, increasing fines, loss of early payment discounts, more government costs for licences, permits, passports, birth certificates, higher GST, etc all can strip you of any increase. Trying to do everything right to suit the demands of the grinding government can mean that you trip up and incur some extra cost.

        This is the real way that tax is theft – not that whiny phrase coming out of ACT accountants and The NZ Initiative economists. (The New Zealand Initiative is a public policy think tank based in Wellington. It is supported by chief executives and chairmen of New Zealand companies.) The initiative is how they can get wealthier and you get poorer and yet keep the economy apparently kicking over so they can keep the moolah flowing in.

        • Anthony B'stard 8.1.1.1

          Secondary tax doesn’t end up in the government keeping more of someone’s money. At the end of the year, they would pay the same tax as anyone earning else who grossed the same as them.

    • karol 8.2

      Both Mana and The Greens have policies to change the benefit systems:

      <a href=’https://www.greens.org.nz/policysummary/income-support-policy-summary>The Greens:

      Replace the current Social Security Act 1964 with a simple two-tier benefit system consisting of a universal base rate that is enough to live on, with add-ons for specific circumstances, such as dependants, disability or chronic illness.

      A Universal Child Benefit with the ability to capitalise it towards a home deposit.

      Abolish stand-down periods, treat people aged 18 and over as adults for benefit purposes; no forced work for the dole.

      Support urgent Government action to address the problem of benefit abatement for those moving into employment, and the removal of the poverty trap created by high marginal tax rates that exist for people on low incomes.

      Introduce a tax-free zone at the bottom end of the income scale.

      DPB to be protected; no compulsory work-testing.

      Appropriate training, vocational advice and support for sole parents.

      Remove discrimination from tax credit regimes such as the In Work Payment component of Working for Families.

      Mana:

      Work towards implementing a Universal Tax Credit/Universal Basic Income where everyone in Aotearoa aged 18 and over would receive a minimum, liveable, tax free income after which progressive tax would kick in. This would eliminate the huge costs involved in administering the current shame and blame Work & Income system, end poverty traps, and assist in creating a far more equal society.
      […]
      Extend the In Work tax credit to the children of beneficiary parents. This would immediately lift incomes for beneficiary families.
      […]
      Throw out the current social security law which is complex and out of date, and write new law based on making the welfare system simple and fair, based on the principles of manaakitanga.

      I have found nothing that addresses welfare or social security in Labour and the IP online policies.

      • BM 8.2.1

        This maybe of interest Karol.
        Stuff that maybe of interest to Karol

        • Anne 8.2.1.1

          This, from “Karol” a long-time The Standard regular with deep links into the Green Party

          Did you know you had deep links into the Green Party karol?

          It must come as a delightful surprise to you that your talents as a writer of excellent and well thought through posts have Whaleoil and his equally afflicted nut-job elves feeling somewhat threatened.

          Edit: oh the ignominy! Not once did the chief nut-job mention the victim of the whole sorry mess. She doesn’t even count. And this is what we all have been noting for two weeks now.

          Thankyou blubber boy for providing the evidence. 🙂

        • David H 8.2.1.2

          Where’s the warning that your link went to Wailoil???

      • phillip ure 8.2.2

        good on greens/mana..!

    • David H 8.3

      “I would also like to see the issue of those on welfare working part-time being charged secondary tax being addressed.”

      And the other part of the equation the ‘tax’ of 80% after you have earned $80.00 as well. I read somewhere that people (after all the Taxing that the Anti social Warfare Dept do to working beneficiaries) can leave them with less than $3.00 per hour.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    Tory sadism continues.

    At several times in recent history government and treasury have assessed what amount of benefit is required to live on and studiously cut benefits in 1991 and revised them since to consistently be below that level.

    Technically top up assistance has been available to some over that period through various twists and turns. The reality of dealing with the Kafkaesque obstacle course that is WINZ, ACC, IRD, Ruthenasia’s legacy, Labour’s Jobs Jolt backwash and the two Paulas ‘war on the poor’ has seen the numbers unemployed rise well above those actually receiving a benefit.

    In the NZ neo liberal punishment chamber the needy are trampled on and the better off assisted.

  10. pollyt 10

    I always thought paid parental leave was for people who had been working and were leaving work to take care of their newborn. Therefore, they would not have a stable income to support their child. PPL was implemented to help working class/middle class families. So, I do not see an issue with not extending PPL to beneficiaries.

    I think the underlying issue is the general lack of help for beneficiaries with children. The only meaningful payments are Sole Parent Support, Young Parent Payment, and WFF tax credits which do not always apply to everyone – there is nothing for new parents/caregivers who are beneficiaries that I can see on their website.

    Obviously, I agree, more financial help is needed but there needs to be a specific system/program implemented to target and help beneficiaries with newborn children – a program that includes things such as extra payments (obviously), parenting books/classes, nurses to come visit the child at home, free doctors’ visits for pregnant mothers etc.

    We cannot give these children PPL which has been designed for families from a different socio-economic backgrounds to their parents. They need a program designed specifically to help them.

    • greywarbler 10.1

      @pollyt10
      I think you make a good point. I would like to see government get beside parents helping them with their needs, offering group courses with creches next door, and hints on cooking, best way to manage temperature control without big electricity bills etc,, with medical visits for necessary checks or immunisation shots etc. And social life, and some chat and laughs, and cooking demonstrations, and shared meals, and transport with a van picking up a group from the neighbourhood and taking them home so it isn’t a financial and organisational hassle with small children. They could have a half hour at the supermarket to get the basics of their heavy vegetable and tinned goods shopping as well.

      I also have the idea that each year parents should attend a refresher course on the things they need to know for managing their children at the age levels they are bringing up. And having attended that and talked in a group and to someone individual if they wanted private counsel, they would receive a year’s family support of at least $20 a week. (This would give them connections to helpful people they could keep in contact with throughout the year, and benchmarks they could aspire to attain, and expectations that were reasonable as to their children’s behaviour)

      Some parents think babies are being naughty and malicious when they cry for instance. They believe children can think like adults Also parents need to be told that they are doing a difficult but important job and will get tired and stressed and know how to cope and look after their own health and wellbeing.

      How intelligent helpful and investing in our parents and children that would be.

  11. Jack 11

    Society should be measured on how well the lower socio-economic sectors of our society are doing.

    If there were actually jobs available out in the economy I believe alot of unemployed people would actually be working.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      If 50,000 full time, minimum wage jobs were offered by the government on Monday, they would all be snapped up by Friday.

  12. aerobubble 12

    As we’ve see recently the SCOTUS is happy for companies to pay for male fertility but not for female infertility treatments, reflecting once again the male religious judicial biases in society.
    Kids matter more to women, and healthy educated kids are a secular social benefit to all of us, not an issue for male religious neo-liberals. Women invest huge amounts of time in their kids, men do not. Religion is historically politics and so male needs are addressed and women’s ignored.

    What a surprise National male dominated party is desperate to save money for its wealthier (and male) backers to attack child funding, etc.

  13. Mike the Savage One 13

    I would not have expected anything else from this government, so it does not surprise or even enrage me anymore.

    What I would like to do is, to INVITE LABOUR, to present policies that benefit not just sole parents or couples with young children on benefits, but ALL on benefits.

    There are a fair few issues that were raised re the recent welfare reforms, also affecting many single people on benefits, and those sick and with disability. It would help and generate more trust in Labour, should they finally see the light, and decide and commit to it, to reverse at least the worst parts of the draconian reforms that Bennett and her lot brought in last year.

    Surely, people need support and encouragement, and constructive measures and incentives are needed, not endless sanctions, threats and pressures, that now even forces some with mental illness, to go looking for work, even where the family doctor says the opposite, but where a WINZ paid doctor overrules a client’s own doctor.

    So let us wait and see, whether Labour are not just caring about what they usually talk about, but that they do actually care for ALL that are less fortunate.

  14. Mike the Savage One 14

    As for the government’s approach, jobs, yes, what jobs? Jobs do not suddenly come up at will, when needed, that is a fact also.

    Employment is a good solution for many, provided it is secure, and pays enough to live from. I have neighbours, who are both working. They are Pasifika, and they seem to “manage” but just, as both work in low paid employment, are of course renting, are not really wasting much money, as they are church goes, do not drink, smoke or whatever else there may be as a “vice”.

    Training and employment are important, and must be encouraged, but to simply say, hey, you must get a job and then you can look after your newborn better, that is a simplistic, stupid view.

    My neighbours have a little child, and she works night shifts at a burger restaurant, he works early mornings into afternoons as a labourer. They are driving a very old, fault prone care, do not spend up on luxuries and just barely get by, having just paid off some debt in rent, which is not that high, really.

    John Key, Bill English and Paula Bennett have lost touch with reality, certainly with people living in Auckland and Christchurch, where life is damned expensive, and many live on the brink of poverty, or in poverty, and where it is more expensive than in many cities in Europe or North America, believe it or not.

    So voters, do not fall for the Nats preaching, do not fall for this election bribe of a little bit extra in parental leave and tax credits, do not fall for the free doctor’s visits for up to 13 year olds. That will not solve all that needs solving, the problems go much further and deeper.

    Labour are lacking, somewhere, but overall, they are delivering more than National in this. Perhaps in coalition with the Greens, we may get some decent solutions from them after all?

    • Anthony B'stard 14.1

      I bet you they are ‘wasting’ a lot of their income with donations to their church.

  15. RedBaronCV 15

    Since when did bringing up children get classed as “not work”. Anyone who has done both will almost certainly tell you that the paid work is the easy stuff. But hey these policies preserve economic benefit for males – Nact only see women as objects for the benefit of freeloaders.

  16. Lloyd 16

    Giving money to poor, recent parents will be putting money straight into the economy. Those parents will spend money at doctors, they will buy food at Pak n Save, they will buy clothes at T & T and The Warehouse, and they will pay their landlord their rent. All the recipients of their spending will be better off. The government will get back GST on every transaction. Everyone in the country will receive some sort of short term financial benefit. Making things tougher for poor parents is financial idiocy and that is all before the benefits to the long term outcome of raising children in a financially stable family environment are considered. Such things as stability of schooling because your family doesn’t have to keep moving because of rent problems for example,

    Any twelve year old will be able to make a judgement on the present government’s financial abilities if the basic facts of economics are presented to them fairly. So would every citizen of this country if the media weren’t biased against a fair examination of what the government has done and continues to do to the future of everyone in this country.

    Sadly the vast majority of National voters support a political party that does not have their best interests at heart. I am sure you will be able to find a few destitute new parents that will happily vote for that nice Mr Keys.

  17. Jan 17

    A beautiful slip of the tongue just know – Paula Bennett on The Nation trying in her usual glib, insincere manner to defend what they have done and the reporter finished the interview by saying “Thank you Paula Benefit” – she laughed, but her eyes didn’t !

  18. greywarbler 18

    I don’t know if someone has brought this Brian Easton piece on economics forward.
    As usual he has something worthwhile and factual and explains it well. This is about a mother and child in poor health, a poor quality State house and with below poverty income and few possibilities to improve their situation.
    http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/2014/05/has-stacey-a-chance/

    Perhaps I should mention that the two are Pakeha – it is too common to think the poor are primarily Maori and Pasifika; there are actually more Pakeha who are poor (because there are more Pakeha). You might also need to know that Meg has a chronic health condition which rules out paid employment; she has tried though.

    I was shown a financial statement prepared by a budget advisory service for Meg and Stacey. The budget recorded the family’s 2012 weekly income as $484 and set out a spending program for food, housing, household energy, medical and educational expenditure, transport and phone.

    All up, the recommended spending on these items came to $465 which left just $19 a week for everything else including clothing and footwear, entertainment, recreation, OTC medicines and personal care, household cleaners and the like, dental care, consumer durables, insurance and a variety of things you probably think of as normal – haircuts, presents, school trips and pets. Certainly there was no provision for alcohol or tobacco, or even buying a lotto ticket.

    • Mike the Savage One 18.1

      The services of BUDGET ADVISORS are largely abused by WINZ under this government, as they are expected to show the affected poor to live off insufficient benefits, or on low pay, that it is in many cases impossible to survive on. As the budget advisors are paid by the Ministry of Social Development, they have contracts that dictate to them, what they must do, and what they are not allowed to do.

      Only some budget advisors that may not depend primarily on MSD funding, do at times speak out.

      Under this government advocacy services have been getting a hammering, as they got funding cut or capped, as they are told to do what MSD and Work and Income expect, and if they step out of line, they are likely to get funding cut.

      That explains the example you have given, which Brian Easton has presented. It also explains that there are few services left out there, that inform, represent and fight for the least fortunate.

      Paula Bennett was on The Nation, as a commenter above mentioned, with lipstick to thick on her lips, it instantly reminded me of pigs with lipstick on their snouts. No matter how much you put on it, behind it still is a pig.

      And she arrogantly said towards the end, that she and her government do not believe in increasing benefits, and they do not believe in making it a “lifestyle choice”! Bennett sticks to their guns, denying poverty figures, denying their policies are failing too many, and continues to push the drive that was behind the drastic “reforms” brought in over the last few years.

      So what are our Labour friends offering to show a marked difference to this government’s policies, apart from Best Start?

      • greywarbler 18.1.1

        @Mikey The One
        Yes depressing stuff I’m hearing too. I want Labour to win as I don’t like the rumours going round of NACT further razor gangs. I put up a piece covering the new three benefit regime – call them the Triad! And they are mean and nasty.

  19. #Dumpkey 19

    Why is anyone surprised that National are ignoring evidence based advice to help the poor? There are no votes in it so they won’t do a thing.

    Now, if tomorrow there was a poll out that said helping poor people would get a party an extra 20% in the polls you would see National dishing out billions to help. Unless there is something in it for them, they do not care one jot.

  20. anyone wondering just how determined national are to do nothing to end poverty..

    ..should go to the nation online..and watch the interview with bennett..(if you can stomach it..)

    ..she/they just don’t fucken care about those one in four children living in poverty..

    ..and one other thing is clear..

    ..that anyone wanting to change this should not waste their vote on labour…

    ..but should vote either internet/mana or greens…

    ..as the more powerful those two parties are..

    ..the more the chance of new zealand going back to where we used to be..

    ..before those rand-ite/neo-lib bastards had their rightwing-revolution..

    ..and fucked the place up..

    ..in so so many ways..

    ..and labour have no specific policies anywhere near where internet/mana and the greens are..

    ..with labour we will just get more of that clark-era same-same..

    ..my ideal election outcome wd be labour vote collapsing to internet/mana and greens..

    ,.to end up with roughly a third each..

    ..(that isn’t a prediction..it’s a dream..)

    • blue leopard 20.1

      Whilst the Green’s policy re addressing poverty and welfare sounds more ready to go and the Greens are more likely to have influence on the next government – I can’t help thinking if I wanted to send a message of prioritizing having this issue addressed it would be best to vote Mana.

      What do you, Phil, (or anyone else) reckon?

      [ I guess it might be a matter of waiting to see what each party places emphasis on. ]

      • Colonial Viper 20.1.1

        A vote for IMP is a vote for directly empowering and enfranchising the underclass.

        A vote for Greens is a vote for a socially aware middle class who take the needs of and pressures on the underclass seriously.

        Pick which suits.

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