NATIONAL'S DPB PLANS GUTLESS
Monday, August 11, 2008
National's plan to deal with the huge DPB problem is tired and gutless, welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell said responding to John Key's speech today.
"If DPB recipients want to avoid work-testing when their youngest turns six there is an obvious solution. Make sure their youngest is always under 6. Children are already added to existing benefits at the rate of around 5,000 a year. This policy further encourages people to have children for no better reason than to allow the parent to avoid work. "
"Even worse, National's approach does nothing to stop very young women being enticed on to benefits. The teenage birthrate has been increasing since 2002 with most young mothers going on welfare. Up to half of current DPB recipients started on welfare as teenagers. A period of six years before having to think about a working future is a long time in the mind of a teenager. "
"At a time when the economy is heading south and unemployment is growing, the major priority must be to discourage people from becoming single parents in the first place. National's approach actually says you can be a single parent on a benefit as long as your youngest child is 6 or under. That's a message heavy on the wrong incentives."