I was going to take a wait-and-see approach to Paula Bennett. But then I read the following;
She [Paula Bennett] expects her associate minister, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia, to be instrumental.
"She and I share a belief that all children are our children. That means the good, the naughty, the broken and the cherished. We've talked about that many times, and I've got no doubt that's the understanding we will bring to the role. She will play a big role. She's got experience and some really firm views on what we need to do for Maori people."
How many times have you heard a collectivist say, it takes a village to raise a child?
I beg to differ.
It takes one committed individual. That commitment means wanting the child, being prepared to make sacrifices and lifestyle changes for that child, being able to support it financially, being able to provide stability and structure, and above all, being prepared to make it the centre of your world.
The very existence of the DPB diminishes the prospects all of these and I am deeply upset that we now have a Minister and Associate Minister of welfare who are going to defend it as a legitimate means to having and raising children, even if it is less than ideal.
National's work-testing policy for mothers whose youngest is 6 is a very weak policy, it's major pitfall being a failure to cap the number of children. But it wouldn't surprise me to see Turia oppose even that. She has a self-admitted conservative streak and would rather see mothers stay at home and she doesn't care who pays for it.
So I am very despondent about this development. Under this administration we are going to see greater entrenchment of the DPB. The numbers will go up. The number of teenagers taking it up will continue to increase. Having a Minister who was a teenager on the DPB but made good, romanticises and legitimises it.
Real life however repeatedly shows that the social problems running the gamut of inherited benefit dependence through to crime and tragedy are backgrounded by teenage birth (particularly adolescent) coupled with welfare upbringings. Maori are over-represented in the phenomenon.
And let's not forget what the new Associate Minister's attitude is to people who say the kinds of things I do.
"I am intolerant of the excessive focus on controlling our fertility."
What's wrong with individuals controlling their own fertility? Isn't that what personal responsibility is all about?