Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Minister Bennett mistaken or misled

A 'welfare commentator' must be politically even-handed. If Jacinda Ardern gets it wrong I'm quick to criticise.

When it was reported  Paula Bennett said, "There were 659 subsequent children born to parents already claiming a benefit this January," I knew the number was either aberrant or wrong.

So I queried the number with MSD and received this response,

"to answer your question the number does not necessarily relate to children born in January - but rather children who were to be added, in January, to client benefits as subsequent children."

So then I asked,

What were the ages of the subsequent  children added to an existing benefit in January?

 but was told

unfortunately we are not able to provide an age breakdown for subsequent children

A subsequent child could be added to a foster carer's benefit; or moved into a 'safer' family at CYF instigation; moved from a mother to a father; adopted (particularly whangai) and so on.

Subsequent babies born directly onto a  benefit number annually around 4,800 or
400 monthly.

 "As the second round of welfare reforms come back before Parliament, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the 650 children born to women already claiming a benefit in January are reason enough for her tough reforms"
250 would represent an increase of 62 percent.

There is no need to exaggerate  statistics to justify crucial reforms, especially when inaccurate claims could undermine support.

No comments: