Saturday, September 13, 2014

Not the time to change direction

Listening to Hekia Parata yesterday talking about the increasing secondary school achievement of Maori and Pacific Island youth, I wondered how much this is influencing the dropping teen birth rate. Perhaps more than the welfare reforms?

Figure 2: Percentage of school leavers with at least an NCEA Level 2 qualification or equivalent, by ethnic group (2009 to 2013)

Earlier in the week I posted about the halving of 16 and 17 year-old sole parents dependent on welfare since 2008. It's not simply  because they aren't receiving benefits. It's because there are far fewer of them.

I asked Statistics New Zealand for data relating to births to 16 and 17 year-olds which arrived the same day. Good response time.


Interesting (but possibly insignificant) that the birth numbers (very broadly-speaking) decline under National governments and increase under Labour.

What is known is prisons are full of offenders who were born to very young mothers (or are subsequent births to her). They have been neglected or abused, and subsequently spent time in state institutions or foster care growing up. They are on a path to prison from birth.

So the dropping adolescent birth rate will also dovetail well with the working prisons and more rehab services policy, plus Anne Tolley's new approach to gangs. There is every reason to expect a drop in crime and prison populations.

Without getting overly excited  I wonder if, in time, we will be able to look back to 2008 and pinpoint it as the year NZ really began to get breakthrough on inter-generational social problems that have plagued some parts of the country and some parts of society for a very long time.

(After watching Dark Horse last weekend, an insight into gang life in Gisborne which depicted some kids escaping though the reality weighs that many more do not, I want to believe change is afoot.)


Charlotte said...

I did a paper at Massey in the 1990s on economics of the developing world. One aspect I remember clearly was that the best contraception was to educate the girls. Looks like it is also working in NZ.

Anonymous said...

Interesting (but possibly insignificant) that the birth numbers (very broadly-speaking) decline under National governments and increase under Labour

Birthrates overall increase under Labour and decrease under National. WFF and Paid Parental Leave certainly increased the birth rate - and the overall birth rate has dropped by around 5% under National.

Anonymous said...

The best contraception is personal responsibility.

Abolish the DPB, abolish WFF, abolish GP subsidies, sell the hospitals & schools and the problem will go away.

Let's be brutally clear: teenage single parenthood is a rational economic decision for many New Zealand teenagers. We can't expect any real change until that fact changes.