White Wash Paper

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 am, October 11th, 2012 - 10 comments
Categories: accountability, child welfare, families, paula bennett, radio - Tags: ,

This is a view from afar, as I’m still overseas on work, but apparently Paula Bennett “can’t find the time” to appear on Morning Report this morning.

Why is it particularly important that she appears on our country’s premier news source today?  The release of her White Paper on Vulnerable Children is – as she puts it – “one of the biggest and certainly most significant changes that will be in my time as minister.”

The paper has been narrowed from Vulnerable Children to the Most Vulnerable – as she was repeatedly told that the >200,000 children in poverty are certainly all vulnerable, and if you focus on only the vulnerable instead of having universal services, a lot more children may become vulnerable as well…

So the Paper, and the Children’s Action Plan that comes with it, focus only on those already deep in trouble.  National seems to generally dislike prevention, preferring ambulances at the bottom of cliffs to fences.  Why fix the problem if we can try to somewhat mitigate the disaster…

So nothing on child poverty then.  No Food in Schools.  No greater support for parents & Plunket, additional training in the life-skills needed to bring up children, no providing enough cash for beneficiary children to get through the week…

“I was always blatantly targeting these most vulnerable, abused and neglected children in this country and that’s what this piece of work was always about […] I’m unapologetic in my saying we can do a better job for them and that’s where my focus is.”

Sure it’s vital we help those kids – although once again we may wish to look at reducing poverty and teaching life-skills to avoid them getting in that situation; and indeed how about compulsory registration with Well Child, a Lead Maternity Carer etc so and more information sharing between them so we catch vulnerable kids before they’re abused – but we can’t have the Minister of Social Development just forgetting about New Zealand’s other nearly 1 million children.

But then she doesn’t come across the best informed when she admits:

“The day I got offered the job of Minister of Social Development the first thing I said to the prime minister on the phone, at 9pm on a Sunday, was ‘does it include Child, Youth and Family?'”

Ermm… you don’t even know what’s contained in the major portfolio you’re about to take on, and have been shadowing?  CYFS is pretty integral since it was merged in in 2006.

I guess the questions Morning Report would have asked about child poverty and food in schools would have been too hard.  Best blow them off and head for another photo-op.

10 comments on “White Wash Paper”

  1. tc 1

    But she finds time to go onto the lame tame TVNZ brekky show with that pommy bloke and the vacuous Bagust.

    • David H 1.1

      But she’s been told to keep away from TV3 as they ask all those nasty questions we can’t answer. As this is just another smokescreen, and there are no answers. So best to keep to fellow airheads. And keep away from that nasty Rachael on TV3 because she asks real questions.

  2. Jim Nald 2

    Dear Paula

    It is your former National Party policy advisor (and voter) here.

    Just an open letter here to say that when you and the leader of your party get desperate, run of out of ideas and want a distraction, please don’t forget to revive the kinds of old gold policy that some of my former colleagues were told to run for the former administration when your party was previously in power.

    In case you are suffering from a case of Johnesia* with regard to your party’s policy history, the suggestion here is that you ought to push through the various kinds of “dob in [insert the groups of people you want to bash to get yourself in the media]” policies based on the kinds that Jenny Shipley (blessed be her name) was most celebrated for promoting.

    *An ailment that may be quite common and looks to be quite infectious within your party ranks since it seems to have afflicted your current leader, and a former member of your party who was recently parachuted into a loony party to hijack it. Findings being uncovered by political and media researchers suggest that this communicable disorder may reveal greater effect in connection with a certain dot com.

    Trust your policy launches will go well and, for the steady rise of your career up the party ladder, don’t forget also (when you get a chance and especially when other cabinet members are not around or watching) to put the boot in your leader, preferably up his ass^et for more impact.

    Best wishes

    p.s. don’t forget to kick away the ladder

  3. Lanthanide 3

    She was just on 9 to Noon with Katherine Ryan giving a rather in-depth interview on the issue.

    • Bunji 3.1

      I suppose I should retract a small measure of my criticism then. She rarely appears on RadioNZ, but she has done this time. Credit where it’s due.

      That’s not to say I think she’s doing a good job or isn’t neglecting the vast numbers of kiwi kids in poverty though….

  4. deuto 4

    While Paula Benefit did not go on Morning Report, she had a tame interview with Kathryn Ryan on Nine to Noon just after 9am.


    Sorry – cannot comment in detail as simply overheard it while concentrating on other things. About to relisten.

  5. David H 5

    The biggest danger to at risk children now, is the policies of Paula Bennett, John Key, Steven Joyce, and Bill English.

    Their idea seems to be to cut money from the most vulnerable, so they can give themselves and their mates tax cuts the Billions that have been wasted on these tax cuts, (to those who don’t need it) those Billions could have been directed to the child poverty problems But that would have meant that Key and Co would miss their 1400 buck Taxcuts.

    So when the ‘call in line’ becomes active maybe their names should be at the top of the list of Child abusers.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 5.1

      And of course their is a risk of incorrect pronunciation of their names. That’s a biggie.

  6. Dr Terry 6

    David H. Yes, I like your final conclusion, indeed “their names should be at the top of the list of child abusers”.

  7. Paula Bennett’s epiphany, not only will it save a child or two, but it’s cheap!


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