Thursday, June 26, 2014

Doing National's job

National do little to explain or defend their 'child poverty'  position publicly. They'll answer questions in the house (which few people listen to) but don't strenuously explain why an employment strategy to reduce child poverty is the only effective choice. Avoidance of emotive, easily misconstrued or misunderstood issues might be a deliberate strategy.

Muriel Newman has never lost her determination to make change happen. And we regularly work together on expressing a view that is distinct from the Left.

My latest NZCPR article discusses Child Poverty in New Zealand, by Jonathon Boston and Simon Chapple.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, welfare researcher Lindsay Mitchell, has carefully read the book and shares her analysis with us. She refutes the claim that child poverty is the result of the benefit cuts in the nineties, demonstrating that supplementary assistance has risen at a faster rate than wages since that time. In particular she points out that increasing benefit levels would reduce the incentive to work.
“In my view, this is the crux of the matter. To maintain a margin between incomes from work and incomes from welfare, benefit payments should stay at their current level. However, greater efforts to get beneficiary parents into employment are paramount.
“It is particularly disappointing that the authors went back only to policies of the early 1990s to explain why child poverty increased so rapidly. I would take them back to 1973. After the domestic purposes benefit was introduced, the annual number of ‘unmarried births with no resident father’ grew from around 3,000 to reach around 12,000 by 1991. The numbers reliant on the DPB had rapidly grown to 97,000.  With a relatively generous benefit payment available the employment rate for sole mothers plummeted over the same period. When the state could no longer afford the same level of generosity and cut benefits, child poverty soared. Nevertheless, it was, and remains, the change in family structure that drove up child poverty.”

Muriel  takes on the Owen Glenn Report here.

The People’s Report is the first tranche of Sir Owen Glenn’s $2 million inquiry into child abuse and domestic violence.[3] Set up in 2012, the final report of the inquiry is expected to be published before the end of the year as a policy Blueprint.
While there will undoubtedly be some worthwhile policy suggestions from the inquiry, this first report (which summarises the experiences of around 500 victims, offenders, and frontline workers) appears to have been largely captured by ideological interests.
Three examples will suffice.
Firstly, the study seems to suggest that colonisation is a cause of domestic violence. It states: “Māori were once a people who held in high esteem their tamariki (children) and wāhine (women) because of the treasured roles they had in their whānau, hapū (sub-tribe) and iwi (tribe). Nevertheless, colonisation brought with it new ways, including privileging the place of men, which rendered women and children as their possessions. As Aotearoa was settled, new ways of treating children and women were introduced to Māori whānau and hapū, which included beating them. Some, but not all, Māori chose to adopt these new ways in their whānau as they were pressured to become assimilated with colonialists.”
It goes on to say,  the experience of colonisation is responsible for domestic violence, in that “these experiences broke down their wairua (spirit, soul) and their mana (status, control), making people feel whakamā (ashamed, embarrassed) and whakaiti (belittled) – some of which has survived in successive generations”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In response to this quote:
"Māori were once a people who held in high esteem their tamariki (children) and wāhine (women) because of the treasured roles they had in their whānau, hapū (sub-tribe) and iwi (tribe). Nevertheless, colonisation brought with it new ways...."

This doesn't accord with the extensive evidence collated by Simon Chapple in "Sex Inequality in the Maori Population in the
Prehistoric, Proto-historic and Early Historic Eras
in a Trans-Polynesian Context" The Journal of Pacific History, Vol. 40, No. 1, June 2005

Which shows that Maori women had showed all the signs of being significantly deprived of food during their youth, leading them to be significantly shorter, and significantly more likely to have "harris" lines in their bones where their growth was stunted by starvation.

It is unfortunate that the rose-tinted rewriting of history prevents them from diagnosing the problems so they can deal with them.