Should the sins of the father be visited upon the children?

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, August 13th, 2008 - 90 comments
Categories: benefits, national - Tags: ,

When the DPB was first proposed it had a very simple purpose, to allow mothers to leave abusive relationships, to allow them to protect their children from beatings, alcoholism and psychological abuse. It was intended to ensure that those children would have a real chance at a healthy and happy life. It did not, and could not, provide true equality to children raised in single parent households, but it could try. 
Since then the DPB has changed, it is not exclusively for the children of solo mums, or exclusively for the children of an abusive parent. It remains true, however, to its original goal: ensuring that children in single parent households have a real chance, that their disadvantage is minimised.

Children in households dependent on the DPB have three key sources of disadvantage: financial (the DPB is well below the average income of a household with children), parenting (two loving parents can provide more than one in many ways), and acceptance (many people will negatively judge a child of a home “on welfare”). The parents in these homes, by and large, try their level best to give their children the opportunities that most other kids have.
One of the options for children in two parent homes is a stay-at-home parent: a parent who focusses their energy on creating a supportive, stimulating, warm and loving home. Many families scrimp and save to achieve this, and many make other choices with both parents working to gain other advantages for their children. But two parent homes have that choice, their children of two parent homes have that option.
With a change in the DPB forcing the solo parent to work that option has been taken away from the children. One of the precious pieces of equality will be taken from some of our most vulnerable children.
The DPB, as it was first created and as it continues today, is decidedly New Testament where a child should not be punished for the sin of the parents. No child should be disadvantaged because one of their parents was violent, or left the other. No child should be disadvantaged by the breakdown of their parents’ relationship.
The changes proposed by National are decidedly Old Testament; the sins of the father will be visited upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
Anita.

90 comments on “Should the sins of the father be visited upon the children?”

  1. randal 1

    if the first paragraph is correct then what does it say about kiwi’s in general?

  2. infused 2

    Indeed… talk about fixing the problem at the wrong end.

    When my mother was on the DBP she had to work anyway, the money was not enough. I think it’s pathetic everyone’s crying foul over this.

  3. Matthew Pilott 3

    Of course you’re right infused, every mother is in the exact same situation. Let’s make policy based upon infused’s mother’s experience.

  4. Anita 4

    randal,

    I think it says a lot about NZ in the 1970s. Way back then very little was done about domestic violence, it was legal for a husband to rape his wife, few women worked and it was legal to discriminate against them in the workforce.

    A man could easily leave his wife and children – and she would have to take him to court to get any financial support for the children.

    Most women couldn’t financially afford to leave abusive relationships, and those would could often had to leave the children behind.

    The first Women’s Refuge was established in 1973 to address the immediate needs of women and children leaving abusive relationships.

    In 1974 the DPB was established to support their medium-long term survival.

    It does indeed say a lot about our society at the time that we tried to address this situation by supporting women leaving, rather than by dealing with domestic violence and rape.

  5. Disengaged 5

    How does a single parent either working or studying for 3 hours a day while the child is at school prevent that parent from providing a loving home for when the child returns?

  6. monkey-boy 6

    It is relevant that you have focussed on the worst behaviour of the small number of abusive men taht caused this laudable syteme to be established. But what of the freedom it provides for the worst behaviour of a small number of women who choose to rather have more children than face the prospect of getting back into the workplace. This can be achieved by variuous methods, but often is the result of a relationship that just didn’t owork out.
    Those examples raise their kids out of choice as single parents, but do not provide particualrly ‘nurturing’ environments as I might understand it.
    You might equally ask ‘Should the sins of the mother be visited upon their children’
    My first repsonse ot Key’s proposals on DPB was that it would simply lead to a ‘blip’ of new accidental pregnancys from those who definitely choose motherhood over otehr paid employment. However, it may be that a new system can be produced to provide better facilities and education for mothers wishing to return to work. You see beneficiary-bashing. I see alternative mind-set. You might not agree, but it is worthshile exploring it, all the same.

  7. Any parent who has self respect, would be jumping at the change to get back into the workforce, once their child has started school.

  8. Scribe 8

    I saw the title of this post and thought it might be about the evils of abortion.

    But no.

  9. Anita 9

    Disengaged,

    How does a single parent either working or studying for 3 hours a day while the child is at school prevent that parent from providing a loving home for when the child returns?

    There are three parts to the answer

    1) In households where one parent stays home while their children are in school that parent is usually really busy. Lots of fundamental household chores (cleaning, shopping, maintenance, cooking) so that they can focus on the kids once they come home. This is even more important in a single parent household as there’s no ability to share the chores between parents.

    Those parents are also often involved in the schools, helping with activities, supervising trips, and so on. All of huge benefit to their children, and something a child of a single parent household should expect and equal right to.

    I am somewhat disturbed by your implicit devaluing of the awesome value of the work of stay at home parents.

    2) You’re talking about the school term and perfectly healthy children. What do you expect to happen in the school holidays or when one of the children is sick?

    3) The policy is not 15 hours during school hours. It’s compelling 15 hours a week – if the only work available is supermarket checkout from 3-6 Mon-Fri, or 10-6:30 Saturday and Sunday what is supposed to happen to the children?

  10. Anita 10

    monkey-boy,

    I’ve never seen any evidence of women choosing to have more children so they can stay on the DPB but even if there was, this policy wouldn’t prevent it and it would disadvantage the children of other solo parents.

    I’m not arguing it’s beneficiary bashing (although that’s an easy argument to make), I’m arguing that it further disadvantages some of our most disadvantaged children.

  11. r0b 11

    Any parent who has self respect, would be jumping at the change to get back into the workforce, once their child has started school.

    If they anchor their concept of “self respect” in the need to work perhaps they would, but if they anchor their concept of “self respect” in the need to provide the best environment for their children, perhaps not.

    Read the third and fourth paragraphs of the post again. The proposal takes away choice and adds compulsion. How often do we hear the mantra that – “National is not a party of compulsion” – it’s a lie.

    Some DPB parents will choose to return to work as soon as possible, good for them. Some will delay it for their children, and perhaps go on to very productive careers later, good for them. Some perhaps will play the system to be lazy, but in my opinion the costs of trying to “fix” that small problem are too high, they break the system for everyone else.

    So once again, in short, National’s proposal takes away choice in a way that will punish some children. And for what, exactly?

  12. Greg 12

    Its not about punishing children. Its about ensuring tax payers money goes to people that deserve it. You seem to be saying that the policy would be fine – except for the possibility of a negative effect upon children (quite a valid notion). But yet again this is a case of the ‘abulance at the bottom of the cliff’ scenario, which seems to have become typical of left wing politics. You don’t look to fix the root of the problem, but the symptoms of it.

    Any parent that makes their children worse off if they have to work 15 hours a week is a bad parent. Giving them tax payers money does not change that. I’m not saying it would be easy, but why should single parents who work full time have to watch the counterparts, sitting on the benefit? To fix this problem we need to fix the problem of bad parents – not just put them on the DPB.

  13. monkey-boy 13

    I’ve never seen any evidence of women choosing to have more children so they can stay on the DPB but even if there was, this policy wouldn’t prevent it and it would disadvantage the children of other solo parents.

    Well I have, Anita, and thank you for agreeing with me about this process not preventing it. Where I differe perhaps is that I have worked in the UK under similar schemes (brought in by Labour UK) and as an adult educator, I found it realistically increased options for training in preparation for work.
    We are not barbarians, in NZ, abd there are no ‘barbarians at the gate’ waiting to take us back to some mythical hell-on-earth that must have existed before Labour got into power.
    The idea of promoting work to DPB mums can only work if it is enacted witihn the cultural mores of this society. I suggest it is a workable proposal, and instead of jumping up and down about the evils of the idea, ‘the left’ should be looking for ways to facilitate what could be a great opportunity to assist those who want, to advance themselves.
    Still no creches available? What a great premise upon which to promote them!
    Fell thorugh the cracks educationally?
    Great opposrtunity to advance qdult ed/literacy!
    legislation needed to protect part-timers?
    Well now it can be promoted under their system!
    You may not have staed ‘beneficiary bashing’ Anita, but with language like
    ” … DPB was first proposed it had a very simple purpose, to allow mothers to leave abusive relationships, to allow them to protect their children from beatings, alcoholism and psychological abuse.”
    I have to suggest it was you taht brought up the imagery first…

  14. Tim 14

    I disagree with National’s policy and I get tired of the vitriol hurled at “solo parents”, as if they are inferior to “dual parents”. I think there is something inherently sexist in that viewpoint too.

    The policy is aimed at solo parents. I am guessing most solo parents are women. Frequently women are solo parents because the father of the child will not support the child. Does National say anything about the fathers? No.

    All these ‘work for the dole’ schemes are designed to do is to create more competition for jobs, which drives down wages. The work available for many women is low paid and insecure. So now women will be forced to compete for poverty wage jobs.

    I would much rather be raised by a solo parent than a nuclear family of rednecks, Family First members or Christine Rankin worshippers. There will always be people who are shit parents, whether they’re on the DPB or not, but that isn’t a reason for discriminating against people on the DPB and shafting them and their children.

  15. nommopilot 15

    ” Any parent who has self respect, would be jumping at the change to get back into the workforce, once their child has started school.”

    besides which, there’s nothing in the current system to prevent a mother returning to work when her children reach school. Judith Collins has been very careful to try and say national are ‘encouraging’ mother’s to work but in fact their proposal includes no incentives, only compulsion.

    “However, it may be that a new system can be produced to provide better facilities and education for mothers wishing to return to work.”

    it may be, but it is difficult to see how national can achieve this without spending more money and employing a whole lot more bureaucrats.

  16. Anita 16

    monkey-boy,

    I totally agree we should be supporting solo parents who want to getting meaningful jobs. I totally agree about adult education, protection for part-time workers and so on.

    We could do all those things without forcing solo parents to work. We could set it up so those who want to can, and those who want to stay home to look after their children can do that, just as their equivalents in two parent households can.

    That would be an equitable solution, and probably a healthier and more effective one too.

  17. r0b 17

    Any parent that makes their children worse off if they have to work 15 hours a week is a bad parent.

    My nomination for the most arrogant and asinine statement on any NZ blog this week.

  18. Bill 18

    Since bringing up children is often a 24/7, on call, line of work, shouldn’t single parents get paid a wage? Comparative to market rates for jobs with similar conditions?

    Or does our society value a fast serving of McD’s more than it does the raising of children?

    Hmm. Far be it for me to suggest that the profit motive has determined that the work behind a burger is elevated above the work behind child rearing in our value system.

    Strange world. I’d have thought nothing could compare in terms of meaning to raising a child. I’m wrong?

    BTW. Divorce is not predicated on abuse. With no independent means available, many mothers were consigned to live their lives in loveless relationships. The DPB allowed for divorce to be an option. Full stop.

  19. Quoth the Raven 19

    How does a single parent either working or studying for 3 hours a day while the child is at school prevent that parent from providing a loving home for when the child returns?

    How many jobs are out there where you can work 3 hours a day during school hours?

  20. monkey-boy 20

    “We could do all those things without forcing solo parents to work. We could set it up so those who want to can, and those who want to stay home to look after their children can do that, just as their equivalents in two parent households can.”

    Now we get to the nub off the matter. It is no doubt a populist appeal that Key has used. But we have to explore what has made this such fertile ground for him to be able to do so.

    How do you envisage the ‘forcing’ to be enacted? Do you honestly think anyone is going to starve them and their children into submission?
    A platform of incentives and some kind of framework under which better accountability is seen as necessary by Key and co.
    The whole point of the election is after all to debate it. But if (and here’s the big one) the ‘majority agree, it is then a matter of working out the best way forward.

  21. Anita 21

    Greg,

    why should single parents who work full time have to watch the counterparts, sitting on the benefit?

    Why should I, working a long well paid week day have to watch people who earn minimum watch stocking supermarket shelves at night swan about in the afternoon sun?

    If a single parent who is working full time believes their children would be better off if they became a full time caregiver living on the smell of an oily rag they can go on the DPB. That is the point of the DPB, it gives single parents the chance to provide that level of care for children. It gives our most vulnerable children the chance of full time parental support if it’s right for them – which, IMHO, is a right not a luxury.

  22. relic 22

    Some of you want the state kept out of your lives but are quite happy for state intervention in other peoples. “Others’ inevitably less powerful and more vulnerable than your moralistic selves.

    Remember National’s “Dob in a dole bludger’ 90s TV ads, where curtain twitching informants were encouraged in every street? The Nats were not quite so keen on informants when it happened to them at a recent happy hour it seems.

    Let single parents get on with their lives for goodness sake.

  23. burt 23

    Anita

    No child should be disadvantaged by the breakdown of their parents’ relationship.

    It takes a village to raise a child. Giving solo parents sufficient resources to allow them to go it alone removes the incentive for finding alternate good role models and community/extended family support. Children raised in isolation, all be it with welfare assistance, are not necessarily better off.

    I was raised in a solo parent family, abuse father (who is dead now so I can talk freely about his ways) and I agree that without the DPB life would have been harder. But even in the 60’s & 70’s my mother worked 2-3 jobs and we struggled. Back then extended family ties were stronger because welfare was not so generous. Is allowing solo parents to stand more on their own two feet by providing more welfare a good or a bad thing for children?

  24. Disengaged 24

    Anita I am in no way devaluing the contribution that parents make. I am also aware of the challenges that single parents face as I was raised by one. However, I don’t see how encouraging people to study, or work, for three hours a day is going to be as disruptive as it is being painted. How do currently working single parents cope with a sick child or school holidays? They work around them or take time off. Job-sharing and family friendly work practices are also making thata lot easier to acheive.

    However, if working is simply not an option due to their circumstances what is to stop them from doing an Open Polytechnic course, or other distance learning study, for 15 hours a week? Their study can be fitted in around what time they have available and they can learn new skills which will help them find better employment when the time comes. Plus the child gets to see that studying and improving your self is rewarding.

    Granted it is not going to work in every case as in some circumstances the child is going to need more intensive monitoring, but that is why the MSD staff have discretion.

  25. Disengaged 25

    QTR: “How many jobs are out there where you can work 3 hours a day during school hours?”

    Relief receptionist, retail support, cleaning and office support to name a few.

  26. Matthew Pilott 26

    Al lot of comments seem to be saying that it is good for a parent to work if they can, so as not to rely on the state, contribute to the workforce, stand independently, and so on.

    It’s also mentioned that there are circumstances where this is not possible, or would be detrimental to the child.

    As it stands, a parent is able to work, if their circumstances allow it. WINZ do help people get into work, so there’s no problem there.

    What I see this being about, the crux of the issue, is whether there should be a compulsion, as National proposes. There would be two outcomes.

    One: some solo parents go into work when perhaps they would not have done so without compulsion (the free-riders).

    Two: some solo parents will go into work when they definitely would not have, because they genuinely can’t do so without it being to their child’s detriment.

    Irrespective of National’s plans, those parents who wish to work when they can, would do so, as they do at present.

    So: does the benefit from ‘one’ outweight the loss from ‘two’?

    I suggest no, it’s not worth it. Do others out there disagree, or think that those two outcomes aren’t a good explanation of the outcomes?

  27. Bill 27

    Given the amount of beneficiary bashing that has gone on under Labour; means testing for benefits (work diaries are still used in some offices); excluding the unemployed from wff; their intention to bring in ‘core benefits’; the removal of special benefit; an expectation imposed on DPB that they seek employment when their children reach a given age….I’m surprised there is much room left to manoeuvre for National.

    Wasn’t that a nice wee shot of Helen cutting the ribbon at ‘the home of the welfare state’? Anyone would think she thought the welfare system was an honourable institution to have in a civilised society.

    Unfortunately, Labour’s actions have displayed a mentality at odds with the above photo op.

  28. burt 28

    What do grandparents on GRI buy their grandkids for xmas when WFF has already given them iPods and cellphones worth hundreds of dollars.

  29. Matthew Pilott 29

    Sweaters and socks, mostly.

  30. burt 30

    Mathew

    Makes it hard for grandparents to stay relavent in childrens lives (which is very important as they often have such wisdom and insight) when they can’t compete on a ‘consumer’ level because of generous welfare.

    Pay WFF to the grandparents – let them spend it on the best interets of the children – Tertiary education funding etc. This would stop the disentigration of the extended family that generous welfare causes.

    BTW: How were the Tararuas ? I wend to Ruapehu instead and wow – talk about stunning weather.

  31. Ben R 31

    “It was intended to ensure that those children would have a real chance at a healthy and happy life.”

    The trouble is where the person has poor parenting skills, gambling issues or drug and alcohol issues.

    Rather than giving cash, shouldn’t vouchers be provided for essential items such as food and baby care items?

  32. Matthew Pilott 32

    I think things will get interesting if the govt tried to give authority to grandparents over parents…!

    They were great – didn’t get much above 1100m, and there was a whole lot of snow. Coldest night I’ve had in a while. Turns out it might not have been the best weekend to be there (or the best, depending on what you’re after)… Central plateau must be well covered as well.

  33. r0b 33

    Makes it hard for grandparents to stay relavent in childrens lives (which is very important as they often have such wisdom and insight) when they can’t compete on a ‘consumer’ level because of generous welfare.

    What a strange, strange world you live in Burt.

  34. Peter 34

    Okay, let’s get real here:

    There are few or no jobs that allow you to work 3 hours a day, five days a week during school hours. I’m sorry, but that’s just a fact. And even if there were, if you look at travel cost and time it’s not worth it for $36 less tax (thank god at least for the rise in minimum eage or it would be even worse).

    Combine this system with the fabulous ‘3 months and you’re fired if you try to stick up for your rights/refuse to do overtime/refuse to come in on short notice/just ’cause we feel like it’ policy then it’s plain there’ll be one group that will suffer on this policy – the children. WTF do you think will beresults of unsupervised children in low income neighbourhoods with no parental guidance??? Oh well, I guess we can just contract out another company to build another prison (at least sometone gains from it all).

    Oh, but its not about the children is it? It’s about creating a cheap labour market and trying to look ‘tough on lazy scumbags’.

    So I guess if that’s the goal, the policy succeeds.

    What’s really odd is the never ending stream of embittered asses which are willing to jump through hoops and perform logical backflips to justify this as somehow positive for these people.

    I honestly don’t understand their motivation. Except I guess general bitterness and scape goating.

  35. r0b 35

    Peter has written what I would have liked to write, had I but more time today! Welcome aboard Hobbes Peter.

  36. burt 36

    rOb

    What a strange, strange world you live in Burt.

    No rOb, not strange just not locked into a “status quo good’ mentality like some Labour apologist muppets.

  37. Greg 37

    r0b – Maybe I can make my point in a different manner. A solo mother on the benefit is hardly the ideal situation for any child. The only way to change this, to increase the family income and therefore lift that childs prospects if for that mother to get a job (and hopefully a career). National is providing incentives (quite strong too) for this to happen.

  38. randal 38

    any mother who is alone with a dependent child obviously needs as much support as they can get. low grade threats from national about making people work when patently there is no work is typical rightwing whinge politics to make some sections of the middle class justified in their righteous wrath and anger…pooh pooh pooh. I must say I feel justified in using faux teen slang and say get a life and let other people get on with theirs. society provides plenty of incentives and peer group pressures without tory stickybeaks getting involved.

  39. r0b 39

    Burt: No rOb, not strange just not locked into a “status quo good’ mentality like some Labour apologist muppets.

    I’ve missed you too buddy!

    Greg: Maybe I can make my point in a different manner.

    You mean without stigmatising those that can’t achieve the impossible as “bad parents”? I think that would be an excellent idea.

    A solo mother on the benefit is hardly the ideal situation for any child.

    In terms of family income it may not be ideal. In terms of family structure (e.g. escaping an abusive partner) it may be by far the best option.

    The only way to change this, to increase the family income and therefore lift that childs prospects if for that mother to get a job (and hopefully a career).

    Nope, you’ve missed another way, a way that would raise the family income and let the mother/parent be a full time care giver. I wonder if you can work out what that other way is Greg?

  40. higherstandard 40

    Are you advocating income splitting for couples rOb

  41. r0b 41

    Are you advocating income splitting for couples rOb

    You might want to read the thread HS.

  42. higherstandard 42

    So how do you propose raising the family income and letting the mother/parent be a full time care giver.

    Is it the throw more money at welfare theory which has worked so well over the last thirty years or are you advocating something different?

  43. r0b 43

    Is it the throw more money at welfare theory which has worked so well over the last thirty years

    Yup, that one! Bravo HS, gold star for you. If the issue is increasing family incomes for the DPB well let’s increase the benefit rate. And work well it has too, who knows how many children raised with a decent chance at life, and over the last 9 years with benefit rates declining naturally.

    The only reason to force people into work (that will almost certainly damage their solo caregiving role) is some kind of punitive puritan moralistic nanny statism. If that’s your kick well fine good for you, but don’t try and window dress it as raising incomes. Be brave enough to call a spade a spade.

  44. higherstandard 44

    I thought the Nats were advocating the linking of the benefit to inflation ?

  45. r0b 45

    I don’t know, perhaps they are. If so good for them, but I’d like to see the base level raised as well. I think Labour has been far too timid in this area.

  46. yl 46

    I agree with the comment about the National Party being a party of choice.. this policy takes away choice.

    This policy is not about making bene’s give back for what they are receiving from the government. It is about a mother having to work 15 hours a week because she should be able to handle this because the children are at school. That is a load of bs… where are all of the employers lining up to higher mothers from 9-3, they do not exist, particularly for families in the country.

    By this same logic, a two parent family with a stay home mother, she should be out doing her 15 hours as well.

    We shouldnt be punishing our peers in society for falling on hard times. I reject this idea of someone going out of their way to have babies just to stay on a DPB. some provide some proof to prove me wrong please…

  47. higherstandard 47

    Once all the electioneering is out of the way I’d like all parties to get together on the best way to move forward with welfare.

    I think everyone supports (apart from nutters) welfare for those in need but I’m mindful of the comments of Pita Sharples and the like who think that welfare has had a negative effect on Maori overall.

    Personally I think there must be some way to balance giving those in genuine need more and helping people out of and away from welfare.

    Sadly I think there will be little change with either National or Labour in control of this area.

  48. r0b 48

    A comment I can agree with almost completely HS.

    With one minor point – “I think there will be little change with either National or Labour in control of this area” – as long as National keeps dog whistling red neck beneficiary bashing and making it politically difficult to move on the issue. If there was bipartisan agreement I hope and expect there would be quick progress on this.

  49. Anita 49

    burt,

    Makes it hard for grandparents to stay relavent in childrens lives (which is very important as they often have such wisdom and insight) when they can’t compete on a ‘consumer’ level because of generous welfare.

    Pay WFF to the grandparents

    I think that here, and earlier in the comments, you’re advocating reducing assistance to families to increase child poverty to make it easier for grandparents to buy love.

    I am pretty weirded out!

  50. Ben R 50

    “as long as National keeps dog whistling red neck beneficiary bashing and making it politically difficult to move on the issue.”

    Isn’t another point that some people seem to react with outrage and calls of ‘beneficiary bashing’ whenever this issue gets raised?

  51. burt 51

    Anita

    No that is not what I’m saying at all. Did you notice the comment about Tertiary education funds????

    The issue is the wise use of tax payers money in the best interest of the children. Not the day to day purchase of consumer goods as advocated by WFF advertising. Welfare should be about maintaining a minimum living standard – not providing an alternative to work. I appreciate work can be inconvienant for solo parents.

    I know all about child poverty and solo parenting hardship. I agree with the principles of the DPB. But the principles and the application and the way it’s used as a political poll device is shocking and wrong.

    Somebody mentioned earlier that we need to be sure the money gets to where it is needed, sometimes the parents are not the best people to decide that. Particularly if they do not always have the best interests of their children ahead of their own day to day desires such as alcohol, gambling or big screen TV’s.

  52. Anita 52

    hs,

    So how do you propose raising the family income and letting the mother/parent be a full time care giver.

    Well I would advocate valuing caring for dependant children (and other family members) and paying a real wage for it. This doesn’t just mean stay at home parents, it also means grandparents caring for grandchildren, people looking after disabled siblings, and children looking after elderly dependant parents – the whole works. So we value it, we recognise it as a vital activity, we pay for it.

    But that’s probably too radical for many people 🙂

    A far less radical solution is to provide significant tax relief to families (WFF anyone?), and raise the DPB to a level which is at least equivalent to that of a low wage one earner household. Plus ensure that the DPB is a right for all sole non-earning caregivers (grandparents looking after grandchildren and so on too).

    On top of that we should make sure that when the right solution for the family is for the parents to work that there is family friendly work for them. The choices to work full-time, or part-time, or not at all should be equally valued as they are all valid choices for a family raising children.

  53. Anita 53

    burt,

    You want to withhold WFF from families with immediate financial needs and give it to the grandparents. The grandparents might then hang on to it for later (e.g. tertiary education) or give use it immediately.

    But either way you don’t want the WFF money used for cellphones and things like that because that makes it harder for grandparents to stay relevant because they can’t compete when buying christmas presents.

    That really (really!) seems to be what you said.

  54. burt 54

    Anita

    Call it compete if you want to cast it that way, I think it’s more a mater of be involved, contribute and be active in the role of the extended family. I can see how you might want to read what I said that way – ignoring my comment that it was not what I was saying.

    Kids don’t place a lot of value on the time grandparents contribute to the family and on GRI grandparents have precious little else to give. Meanwhile parents get welfare to provide a lifestyle that is not essential, rather it’s feel good stuff.

    iPods are not an essential part of growing up, neither are big screen TV’s. Grandparents with sufficient funds to afford travel/incidental costs associated with spending time with grand kids is a lot more important that throwing cash at families so they vote for XYZ political party.

    It always stuns me how many beneficiaries can afford a big screen TV but can’t afford to pay for activities such as kids swimming lessons, bikes and stuff that is good for them rather than stuff that helps them fell that they are keeping up with their mates.

    Peoples expectations for lifestyle are loosly based on how they percieve others. If my neighbour has a big screen TV and Sky then why don’t I… The answer might be as simple as your neighbour works and you don’t – but that answer is pretty unpopular so in the interests of good polling we talk up welfare spending. Sad how easily people are bough by instant gratification.

    Oh, I’m not a grandparent either.

  55. burt 55

    Anita

    This doesn’t just mean stay at home parents, it also means grandparents caring for grandchildren, people looking after disabled siblings, and children looking after elderly dependant parents – the whole works. So we value it, we recognise it as a vital activity, we pay for it.

    But that’s probably too radical for many people

    That is more along the lines I was heading with pay WFF to grandparents – IE: Here is some money spend it on your grandchildren. The result being that grandparents are involved in the raising of the children and are funded to do so. Back to the idea I started with that it takes a village to raise a child.

  56. Anita 56

    burt,

    Call it compete if you want to cast it that way

    You said compete, I think that’s the point at which my jaw dropped and I thought you’d fallen off the rails 🙂

    Kids don’t place a lot of value on the time grandparents contribute to the family and on GRI grandparents have precious little else to give.

    That’s not true in all families or of all kids (I say defensively 🙂 )

    I reckon that the solution to it, where it does exist, is not to decreased the family income, or increase the size of the bribes that grandparents can afford. It’s to address the breakdown of the extended family, address the lack of value our society places on the elderly, and try to unravel some of the damage done to children by a consumerist society which values stuff before people.

  57. Rob 57

    I believe this is correct and if you sin and lie and try to deceive you will surely be caught out.

    In today’s paper Ruth Dyson claims she knows nothing about her Social Engineering speech, or where it came from. But on Monday her office said she rejected the speech and refused to deliver it.

    Both cannot be true.

    Either she knew nothing about it, or she rejected it. What will tomorrow’s “clarification’ have us believe?

    [lprent links? Don’t be so damn lazy!]

  58. Anita 58

    Rob,

    In today’s paper Ruth Dyson claims she knows nothing about her Social Engineering speech

    Reference?

  59. Ruth’s problem with the bottle is evident if you meet with her in her electorate office first thing on a Saturday morning.Ruth was such a laugh when she lived with all the other stamp lickers in Millerton on the West Coast.Ouch !!

    Feminists have destroyed the family unit and are responsible for the breakdown of the traditional family with their insidious social engineering policy.

  60. Rob 60

    Anita

    Dyson said yesterday that she did not deliver the speech and had “no idea” what the term “triples” referred to.
    Anita

    Just for you
    The speech should never have been posted on the Government’s website, she said.

    “It’s entirely my responsibility what goes out under my name, so it’s my fault that I didn’t know that a speech that I hadn’t given had been put on the website,” Dyson said.

    “I get speeches a lot that I don’t give. I don’t want to be too critical of people who draft my speeches, but I get a lot of speeches, in draft, that I never use. They have no relationship with what I say.”

    She “didn’t have a clue” what the speech notes meant nor what they were referring to.

    “I haven’t bothered asking because I’m not interested in it,” she said.

    Everyone went yeaa right we beileve you Ruth!!

    [lprent: Put a link in as well. Quotes (even if accurate) are often meaningless when partially quoted. The best way is to have the link to as close to the source as possible.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4651706a6479.html
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4653465a11.html
    That took 3 minutes to do. Personally I find people that don’t post links are usually trying to hide something, if only the minuscule skills. ]

  61. Ruth hasn’t a clue about parenting. She thinks a triple three shots of vodka and a song and dance will make all her past go away.

    Just look at CYFS who are nothing more than hard core feminists destroying children at random.Oh, by the way Ruth young Jadin tried to commit suicide last night !!!Remember him? I asked you to assist him months ago.

    [lprent: I seem to remember that she was a solo mother – sounds like parenting to me. ]

  62. Anita 62

    Rob,

    Yep, that’s what I’d read, which means your comment is completely wrong.

    She didn’t say she knew nothing about the speech; she said didn’t know what was meant by “triples” or about who wrote it.

    So it is entirely consistent that she rejected it.

    Why are you so consistently wildly inaccurate?

  63. Anita 63

    burt,

    That is more along the lines I was heading with pay WFF to grandparents – IE: Here is some money spend it on your grandchildren. The result being that grandparents are involved in the raising of the children and are funded to do so.

    Do you think we should just generally raise the GRI rate? Most elderly people, whether they’re directly grandparents or not, are involved in the raising of younger people. If the current rate prevents them participating in this important activity it sounds sensible to raise the rate.

    We should also, separately, provide reasonable assistance to grandparents who take on the primary care of their grandkids. The UCB really isn’t flexible enough right now.

  64. Tane 64

    Coming to this discussion late I can only reiterate what Bill said – raising a child is work. It requires labour, it fulfils a social function.

    That many seem to think work is only those things that people who own factories are willing to pay for doesn’t make it any less true.

    Ps. Matt – that sweaters and socks comment was the best I’ve seen in a while.

  65. burt 65

    Anita

    Firstly, I checked back and I did say ‘compete’ in the context of ‘consumer’. That word was badly chosen and the phrase was sloppy. It was a poorly worded way to make a point. I’ll try again.

    In my situation. If I send my children to my mothers place for a few days they are too expensive for her to ‘maintain’. They eat sh1t loads and they want to do stuff that costs money. My solution to that (as is the solution to my mother not having much money come birthdays and xmas) is to provide the cash required in these situations. I can do that and that’s cool. Grandmother gets to do what she wants to do without having the power disconnected, kids are (mostly) enriched by her influence and experience. Great.

    Low income families cannot afford to do that. So what happens is the role of the grandparents diminishes, particularly when they do not live in the immediate neighbourhood. This is what I was referring to with the word ‘relevant’. The kids want to stay home and watch the big screen TV rather than go to grand parents place and watch the 21″ 18 year old TV with no play station and only 4 channels. This is consumerism and where the concept of ‘compete’ was coming from.

    You cover this with.

    address the lack of value our society places on the elderly, and try to unravel some of the damage done to children by a consumerist society which values stuff before people.

    Do I think we should lift the GRI. Most definitely. People on GRI today were sold the ‘cradle to the grave’ deal that paying higher taxes now for current spending will be rewarded by them being supported to a reasonable standard in retirement. They are not, they are at best ‘getting by’. People who have accumulated assets over their life time have them to fall back on, to liquidate rather than pass on to their family when they die. This is not how it should be given the successive Labour govt’s that sold the cradle to the grave concept and given we have had a Labour govt for almost 9 years.

  66. r0b 66

    Firstly, I checked back and I did say ‘compete’ in the context of ‘consumer’. That word was badly chosen and the phrase was sloppy. It was a poorly worded way to make a point. I’ll try again.

    I flagged exactly the same concern as Anita (albeit much more briefly) in my comment of 1:35pm.

    You might want to actually think about such replies to your comments Burt, instead of reflexively writing them off (as you did on this occasion, Mr Grumpy Pants) as the rantings of Labour muppets.

  67. r0b 67

    Hmmm – tonight I’ve had two comments that contain no links at all that have been caught in moderation. I don’t think my IP address has been being naughty either. The moderation tools seem to be in overdrive!

    Anyway, time to head home (just another lazy socialist!) and get some dinner.

  68. burt 68

    Tane

    raising a child is work. It requires labour, it fulfils a social function.

    That is true. But who’s responsibility is it to fund that work? Who said the state should be the funder in this situation. The state should be the last resort unless we have totally adopted an approach where the best interests of the children are placed in the hands of the state, with the parents (or state nominated guardians) being the current service providers.

    I don’t see how we can expect any other outcome than rampant welfare abuse if the state acknowledges the effort of parenting as financially rewardable labour.

  69. burt 69

    rOb

    If you have used the word ‘ m – u – p – p – e – t’ that seems to get captured by the moderation trap.

  70. r0b 70

    Hey – good guess Burt! Thanks. Here is the moderated post, and I really am off now:

    Firstly, I checked back and I did say ‘compete’ in the context of ‘consumer’. That word was badly chosen and the phrase was sloppy. It was a poorly worded way to make a point. I’ll try again.

    I flagged exactly the same concern as Anita (albeit much more briefly) in my comment of 1:35pm.

    You might want to actually think about such replies to your comments Burt, instead of reflexively writing them off (as you did on this occasion, Mr Grumpy Pants) as the rantings of Labour m*u*ppets.

  71. burt 71

    rOb

    Anita made her own points to justify her reaction to what I wrote. You might have noticed as a result of that there was dialogue and I think both of us have made some interesting points.

    You didn’t do that, or even clarify what you were meaning by strange. However all that aside, I’ll think about it next time and also leave that offensive ‘M’ word out. The comment you refer to had that word and was also moderated.

  72. r0b 72

    You didn’t do that, or even clarify what you were meaning by strange.

    Sorry B, I was and am a bit short of time today, I shouldn’t have been commenting at all let alone writing epics!

  73. Anita 73

    burt,

    But who’s responsibility is it to fund that work? Who said the state should be the funder in this situation.

    In a society with relative equality of income distribution then leaving the funding up to the family would be mostly equitable.

    But in our society, with its wide division between haves and have nots, if we leave the financial obligation with the family then there is massive inequity – some children start off with a pretty huge disadvantage.

    So yes, I’m not entirely comfortable with entangling the state in the purses of our families, but it seems fairer than setting up some children to fail.

    To come back, for a moment, to the quote from Exodus I used in my post: is it fair that the disadvantage of poverty of a father should be inflicted on his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren?

  74. Anita, the Israelities in Exodus, with their strong solidarity, knew that good and evil affected whole families, not just individuals.

  75. burt 75

    Anita

    Is it fair – that’s an interesting question.

    Looking around us, the low level of GRI that is paid is making elderly people sell their assets (reverse mortgages etc) so wealth is not accumulated over generations. So current govt policies are saying that it’s OK and the way it should be.

    Are you asking in the wider sense? – because in a completely broad all encompassing context NO, It’s not fair. It’s also not a certainty that it will happen. There are many examples of people who have made significant economic progress in either direction. Starting from poverty and ending with wealth and vise a versa. So I don’t quiet see how DPB can be presented as one of the significant mitigations to stop poverty being perpetuated. I think there is an equally valid position that welfare creates an economic outpatient mentality where there is a livable safety net so why strive for more. But your position and the contra position are hopelessly generalised and pretty much just partisan talking points.

    The real issue is how people spend their money, what priorities they have, what values they have and how those priorities and values are supported or diminished by whatever mechanism we actually use.

  76. burt 76

    Anita

    So yes, I’m not entirely comfortable with entangling the state in the purses of our families, but it seems fairer than setting up some children to fail.

    Setting children up to fail – I don’t get that bit.

    Parents that don’t want the best for their children are few and far between. These people put their own interest before the children to the extent that that can murder their own. I don’t understand these people so I’ll exclude them in the context of what I’m saying. Poor parents don’t fail their children, a system that allows the same mistakes to be perpetuated fails the children. Student loans have possibly done more to break the low income poverty cycle than any other policy. Interest free loans (excluding the logical consequence of people borrowing to invest) is also possibly a big mitigation of the poverty trap.

    Entangling the state in the purses of families can only increase the likelihood of failure. Convenience of administration always diminishes flexibility. We simply cannot have a welfare value inspector checking every spending decision unless we provide some high tech voucher/card system with extensive audits. The only option we have is to carry the dead weight of welfare abuse. People will always work the system so targeted or means tested benefits provide a quagmire of bureaucracy and wastage, as we see today. Everybody gets less so that some people can profit from dishonesty.

    However I would support a universal allowance paid to every NZ citisen over the high school leaving age. With a universal child allowance paid to parents while children are under school leaving age. If everybody gets it then it’s not a political point scoring device come election time.

    Now what add ons would you sell me?

  77. Savage 77

    dad4justice
    August 13, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    “Anita, the Israelities in Exodus, with their strong solidarity, knew that good and evil affected whole families, not just individuals.”

    Whoa dude.

    Not that I have many prejudices but… I consider anyone who states that they are ‘pro-family’ is actually saying they are anti-gay, pro-life, gun-collecting, bible-bashing, ultra right, rabid and logic-free individuals.

    On the same note I really despise Christine Rankin. Sorry to go off topic but she sure is one power dressing haircut with an opinion and over-sized earrings to boot.

  78. Savage nutbar – book yourself in for a standard lobotomy.

    [lprent: Please restrain yourself – too many grumpy people around this morning. ]

  79. higherstandard 79

    Savage

    Whoa dude I don’t have many prejudices but I consider anyone who thinks that being pro-family is actually saying that they are anti-gay, pro-life, gun-collecting, bible-bashing, ultra right, rabid and logic-free – Is actually an anti-heterosexual, pro-abortion, religion hating, ultra left, tree hugging nutbar.

    Oh and apparently you are a misogynist to boot …

  80. “Ruth hasn’t a clue about parenting?” – dad4justice

    Am I not the only one who takes issue with that comment?

    [lprent: I was a bit flummoxed when I saw it. Ruth was a solo mother from what I remember. You usually have to be a parent and do parenting to raise kids?]

  81. Rob 81

    Anita

    You must be on magic Mushrooms or seriously politically deluded if you think a speech writer for Ruth Dyson would write that speech without knowing the current direction in which she wants to take her Social Engineering plans.

    Why is it you are prepared to accept barefaced lies from Helen & Heather Simpson if National did something like this and pulled it off their website within 2 hours of being questioned about it you would be all over it.

    The shame is they are fooling no one everyone can see through it for the lie that it is. Just look around some other blogs and listen to the Radio it has damaged Labour people dont like their Social Engineering and legalising their perversions for their mates

    [lprent: Anita has been asking you to provide references – ie links. Quotes (even if accurate) are often meaningless when partially quoted. The best way is to have the link to as close to the source as possible. The press releases like the ones you have been quoting from are almost always up in seek.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4651706a6479.html
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4653465a11.html
    That took 3 minutes to do.

    Personally I find people that don’t post links are usually trying to hide something, if only the minuscule skills. You could and should have done that many comments ago.

    I read both press releases and they are reasonably clear. They do not support your opinion. Speech writers do not make policy and often seem to only vaguely to be aware of it. If Dyson had actually said it, then it might have been interesting.

    Don’t insult other people as you did above just because you cannot support your own argument. ]

  82. cha 82

    And the Tories stay true to form with this policy

  83. Felix 83

    hs:

    There is a subtle but crucial difference between what Savage wrote (“anyone who states that they are ‘pro-family’ “) and what you responded to (“being pro-family”).

    I think Savage was referring to ProFamily™ which is a phrase that is often used to disguise the type of hatred and bigotry described.

    A bit like HardworkingKiwi™ or MainstreamNZ™ – they’re largely meaningless terms which could, if used literally, be applied to almost anyone. However they’re almost never actually used literally. They are used to exclude a secondary group from the definition, not to describe the primary group.

  84. Anita 84

    Rob,

    You must be on magic Mushrooms or seriously politically deluded if you think a speech writer for Ruth Dyson would write that speech without knowing the current direction in which she wants to take her Social Engineering plans.

    Firstly, as someone who has worked in the public Service, I am absolutely sure it is possible for a public servant to write a speech without knowing what the Minister thinks.

    Secondly, the point I made was that your comment was inaccurate (again). I made no comment on Dyson or the speech.

    Thirdly, the insult is unnecessary IMHO – I play a pretty clean game here, it would be polite to do the same in return.

    Finally, if I were to respond to your second paragraph it would be to ask for references (again) it looks grossly inaccurate (again).

  85. Anita 85

    burt,

    Awesome comments which deserve a proper reply when I get home this evening!

  86. Anita 86

    burt,

    Are you asking in the wider sense? – because in a completely broad all encompassing context NO, It’s not fair. It’s also not a certainty that it will happen. There are many examples of people who have made significant economic progress in either direction. Starting from poverty and ending with wealth and vise a versa. So I don’t quiet see how DPB can be presented as one of the significant mitigations to stop poverty being perpetuated.

    I reckon (based on no empirical evidence, any idea where I’d find some?) that children born of wealthy parents are more likely to end up wealthy than those born of middle-income parents. Similarly children of poor parents are more likely to end up poor than the children of middle-income parents.

    If that assumption is right then one can make a coherent argument that the DPB, by alleviating the poverty of single parent families (which is, on average, significantly worse than that of two parent families) significantly improves the chances of the children.

    Sadly the situation isn’t as simple as I just pretended 🙂 Intergenerational poverty is complicated by intergenerational poor educational achievement and illiteracy, poorer employment related networks, etc etc. So for many kinds of poverty addressing the other of the issues is just as important as addressing the financial stress.

    I think, however, that the DPB is probably a clearer case for financial support making a big difference all by itself. For a start many people on the DPB have relatively high educational achievements, they would have a relatively well paying job if they weren’t sole parenting. Secondly the direct financial disadvantage of a single parent household as compared to a two parent household should be directly addressed.

  87. Dear Anita, at least the velvet underground sisterhood has made us GOLD Medalist’s in child abuse and infanticide.

  88. r0b 88

    I reckon (based on no empirical evidence, any idea where I’d find some?) that children born of wealthy parents are more likely to end up wealthy than those born of middle-income parents.

    Anita, see this OECD data.

    There is a strong positive relation in a cross-section of twelve OECD countries between the extent of intergenerational earnings mobility and income inequality (Figure 3). In general, the countries with the most equal distribution of income at a given point in time exhibit the highest earnings mobility across generations.

    The extent to which income is transmitted varies across countries, although no society is perfectly mobile or immobile: for example, intergenerational earnings mobility is highest in the Nordic countries, Canada and Australia, while it is lowest in Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.

    Although no consensus exists on this issue, there seems to be a relation between cross-section income inequality and intergenerational earnings mobility. To promote equality of opportunity might then require reducing current income inequality.

    Or try “Moving from rags to riches is harder in more unequal countries”, or this brief article in the Guardian, and see this depressing stuff on income inequality in NZ.

  89. Anita 89

    burt,

    re: setting up children to fail

    Poverty sets children up to fail in a variety of ways, for example:

    1) Poverty leads to poor quality housing leads to health problems leads to poor educational outcomes leads to poorly paid jobs leads to poverty.

    2) Poverty leads to poor quality food leads to poor nutrition leads to poor health problems and poor educational outcomes …

    3) Poverty leads to financial stress preventing full integration into society leads to limited social networks leads to disadvantaged work seeking and access to support services.

    4) Poverty leads to financial stress preventing travel leads to disintegration of extended family networks leads to loss of effective role models …

    and so on.

    I’d totally buy your universal allowance idea. I’d also want policies and legislation to make more flexible employment available, acknowledgement of and space for the wide variety of families and family responsibilities that actually exist in our societies (let’s talk about some amazingly involved cousins, honorary aunts and so on), and access to free relevant supportive education for everyone. That’s just for starters 🙂

  90. john 90

    Just a lot of wank,as can be expected from a blog that isn’t in any way in breach of the vile EFA,insert tui here.Why don’t they just sort out the shambles known as the CSA,(how many billions are owed now?),or at least act on the intentions of the Act and start regarding the children first instead of just reclaiming DPB payments

    [lprent: Bad graffiti artist. ]

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