I didn't really want to think very hard about the implications of the Families Commission 're-structuring' but was prompted to when asked to go on Jim Mora's panel this afternoon (contact from RNZ 2 days running - did a taped interview yesterday's about the 22 percent of babies being on welfare by year-end).
I have concluded that its a de facto abolition. The money from their budget is going into projects that will support the welfare reforms. Parenting programmes for instance. And the new SuPERU unit (Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit) will support, in particular, all the extra 'wrap-around' privately-provided youth services dovetailing with the new Youth Payment.
In 2008, prior to the election, Key told Family First he would get rid of the Families Commission and then hastily retracted his statement when it was published in the DomPost. This is the next best move. Christian conservative Peter Dunne has never been happy with his 2002 confidence and supply trophy which couldn't even define what a family is. The Commission was subsequently hijacked by Labour under Rajen Prasad, now a Labour MP and constant apologist for welfare dependence. For instance, it strongly advocated for the anti-smacking legislation which United Future vehemently opposed. And Dunne won't feel any regret about losing Christine Rankin, a current commissioner.
The Families Commission was largely a waste of time and resources though I will say that recently, some sharper, more NZ-relevant research emerged.
But we are past talking now. We were past talking in 2003 when I submitted my opposition to select committee overseeing the formative legislation. More government isn't the answer.