Nobody has a right to be published. That's why blogs are so powerful. Because they can carry information to many people when other media decline to. After National's welfare policy release, a number of pieces of information were bandied about by journalists and academics that were just wrong. I rebutted some claims made by academic researcher, Christine Todd, like most single parents on welfare are Pakeha, here.
On Monday Dominion Post writer Linley Boniface was citing the researcher's 'illuminating article'. I duly sent the letter below pointing out the problem with Boniface's assertions and already it has been rejected. The rejection isn't unusual but the speed of it is. Generally the Dominion Post sits on a letter for 2-3 weeks before rejecting it.
Now I have no problem with the expression of opinion obviously. But at what point is there a responsibility for the media to ensure that the 'facts' used to support an argument are robust? The answer is of course, at no point. Hence we have a public being manipulated (intentionally or unintentionally) by media to draw ill-informed conclusions (and make ill-informed voting decisions should it be election year.)
Linley Boniface uses 'facts' to back her defence of single parents saying less than 4,000 of those parents with children aged over six have been on the DPB for more than 10 years. Actually, nobody knows how long people are staying on DPB. The Ministry only records continuous spells and many cycle on and off it. Academic, Bob Gregory, discovered Australian single parents were spending an average total time of twelve years reliant on welfare.
A single parent on the DPB gets $263.78 she writes. This ignores family support and accommodation supplement. The average weekly income is over $400 per week.
Finally Ms Boniface believes that expecting single parents to work is "devaluing parenthood", which is "sickening ...given New Zealand's appalling level of child abuse." Yet the incidence of child neglect and abuse is higher amongst beneficiary families. 1990s research showed children in DPB homes were four times more likely to be the subject of a notification to Child, Youth and Family. Child abuse has long been associated with (not exclusively of course) ex-nuptial births to very young Maori mothers.
Life-style welfare is contributing to the growth in social problems. It is not improving the life prospects of children.
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