Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The DPB - A social catastrophe

This is lifted from a slide presentation produced by the Ministry of Social Development and the Inland Revenue Department. It is a surprisingly candid description of the variety of levels people on the DPB are at. It would be an interesting exercise to consign numbers to each category. Certainly the shape would resemble a very young population pyramid. That is with a wide base and tapering towards the top.

Why? Because I estimate a small majority of people on the DPB started on welfare in their teens - although not necessarily on the DPB. That indicates every likelihood of intergenerational dependence which features on the bottom layer.

I am less certain than the person who produced this table that the two, or even three, lowest layers can be separated out. The 'diseases' of poverty and accumulated adversity could apply to the lowest level. But it may be that the designer had age in mind. Accumulated adversity may apply to those women in their 40s and 50s, who are still not working despite their children no longer being dependent on them.

Those in the intergenerational category may be the young, particularly in rural communities where there is no work, and welfare has been the means of support for decades.

I would put two thirds of the current 104,000 recipients in the bottom three levels and the remaining third in the top two, with only a few thousand, if that, in the top bracket.

As you can see, MSD/IRD fully understand that what they have with the DPB is not a temporary safety net for people transitioning from a partnership to being a self-supporting single parent. They have a social bloody catastrophe on their hands.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you know how hard it would be for the government to simply turn off the DPB (and all the other benefits)?

Would it require:
a) A royal comission?
b) A 1000-page bill going through select committees?
c) A 10-page law passed under urgency?
d) A one-page schedule up to the executive council?

Surprisingly, the answer is d). One page, one meeting. You could do it by the weekend. One wonders why Rodney isn't threatening to resign over something rather more important that a couple of Maori seats.