To wrap for the year, here are a few of the government's welfare highlights;
- Labour convinces a majority of NZers (using their money) that welfare is for everyone - including Ipod and cell phone owners - as opposed to Micky Savage's vision of welfare meeting only the most basic needs
- the unemployment rate stays near the top of the OECD , but 1 in 8 homes has nobody employed
- sickness and invalid benefit numbers don't grow as fast but continue to grow
- the number of 16-19 year-old welfare-dependent single parents creeps up guaranteeing a permanent DPB caseload for decades to come
- the number of people on the DPB drops due to part-time workers moving to a higher welfare subsidy - the 'In Work' payment
- NZ gets its first 'Super Ministry' after MSD remerges with CYFS
- CYFS receives a record number of child abuse and neglect notifications
- The Canadian MSD Deputy Chief Executive finishes his two year stint without causing the government any embarrassment (think Paula Tyler and John Davey)
- The Minister, Benson-Pope, repeatedly shows ignorance of his portfolio and does cause embarrassment (but is a forgiven 'conscientious and hard-working' Minister)
- The Minister, Benson Pope, manages to evade parliamentary questions about how much the Kahui whanau was receiving in benefits and national anxiety about taxpayers being forced to fund murderer's lifestyles eventually recedes
- For a change, WINZ doesn't experience any high profile staff fraud but an Auckland electrician makes up for it big time
- the Maori Party starts their term slamming welfare but are soon asking for more, proving they are still a reliable coalition partner for Labour
- shifting welfare expenditure into the IRD jurisdiction cleverly disguises growing redistribution
- welfare spending reaches an all-time high and receives no criticism
Um. The mysterious ways of blogger.com Unable to publish anything since 25 December, I was just beginning to think I would throw it away. It's so liberating. If no output is required neither is input.
My bones and muscles are aching from the unusual amount of physical activity, the skip is almost full, the steep pathways up behind the house are once more navigable (note to myself worst gardening error ever - don't let a thorny rose go wild), my TAB account is looking very healthy thanks to their computer picking me a trifecta headed by the outsider of the field (note to myself - go and withdraw the winnings today thus avoiding any temptation to reinvest them), a jigsaw is completed (only 9 more to go - what a nightmare - a box of ten jigsaws), the Te Papa Egyptian Exhibition has been seen (and dismissed by son and me as 'crap' - daughter and dad disagreed) and the dog is bathed (what Christmas means to a dog - bugger - a bath)
It's no surprise that a new report says actual child abuse is 3 to 5 times higher than the notification rate. The Christchurch Health and Development Study produced one paper which showed 4 percent of children had been physically abused by age 16.
The problem is simple. Too many people have children they can't or won't look after. Seems like a good idea at the time and not a difficult decision to make when the state is going to pay you to keep them.
I find it interesting that Ruth Dyson is now making noises about too much state interference being "unhelpful" and even "damaging, as families step back from their responsibilities and say 'that's the state's job.' "
Well, Ruth, it is left-wing ideology that got us into this mess. Do you believe in the almighty state or don't you?
There has always been a degree of child abuse but since we turned our backs on adoption and started paying completely inadequate mothers to keep their babies, established cases of abuse or neglect have increased fifty fold, at least.
Lindsay Mitchell has been researching and commenting on welfare since 2001. Many of her articles have been published in mainstream media and she has appeared on radio,tv and before select committees discussing issues relating to welfare. Lindsay is also an artist who works under commission and exhibits at Wellington, New Zealand, galleries.