Friday, October 17, 2008


Media Release
Friday, October 17, 2008

The Maori Party has announced it wants to abolish the unemployment benefit.

Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell said in response today, "While this policy has brought commendation from many quarters little analysis has been done on what it would actually achieve."

"In June 1999 there were 42, 074 Maori receiving an unemployment benefit. By June 2008 that number had plummeted to 6,588."

"Over the same period Maori receipt of the domestic purposes benefit has risen from 35,615 to 40,119. "

"While co-leader Tariana Turia is happy to talk about Maori men and their damaging reliance on welfare, she told election commentator, Gordon Campbell , just months ago, that reform did not apply to Maori women. This means it doesn't apply to Maori children either."

"Right now the DPB is a much bigger problem for Maori than the dole. That is because it encourages very young women to have babies they cannot financially or emotionally support; it keeps thousands of Maori children relatively poor; it deprives Maori men of their defining role as provider; it makes women vulnerable to free-loaders who do not want to support a family, preferring to spend the money they earn on themselves; it causes intergenerational welfare dependence, with female children more likely to depend on the DPB in turn and it increases the likelihood that children will suffer neglect and abuse."

"Only 8 percent of the 81,369 working-age Maori on welfare are on the dole. As it stands the Maori Party needs to focus on how to wean their people off those benefits where the numbers are still heading in the wrong direction. "



There Is a flip side to the D.P.B.

I was married for seven years to a man who put me, and indirectly my daughter through endless abuse. I was living with him in the U.K.

While I was there I became un empathetic towards the state system. 'Bludging' appeared to be down to an art form. Free ambulances, g.p visits, and medication when you left the hospital. There appeared to be a very real entitlement attitude with no responsibility for ones own well-being.

When I returned back home I had to go on the D.P.B. It has been a life saver.

Firstly I had rapidly declining health, so I couldn't work full time.

Secondly if it wasn't for that State support, I would have been forced to stay in that abusive relationship to the detriment of my daughter and I.

Yes their are alot of men who utilise the idea of the state system to benefit their pocket, and abolish all responsibility to their children. My ex husband is a Dr and he would say go on run back to N.Z you can get on a benefit.

He refused to support us, unless we lived with him.

If it wasn't for the financial support my daughter, and sons wouldn't have a mum.

I tried to work the last few years, but have spent the last 19 months at home. I hate it. Its demoralising, boring, and scary with always the fear 'can I fill my cupboards this week'.

But I would rather have this life, than a life where my daughter thinks abuse is normal, and continues on with the cycle.
Regards Kirsten

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Hi Kirsten,

I do hope you get over your health problems. There is certainly a need for income assistance in certain circumstances. But those situations aren't the norm. I can't abandon my overriding conviction that universalising open-ended support for single parents, regardless of their circumstances, has not been a positive development for NZ.

I am sorry you feel demoralised and bored and fearful. If you want to e-mail me privately perhaps I could put you in touch with the Christchurch branch of a volunteer group I work with who may be able to help.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that NZ is second in world rankings for percentage of single parent families?

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Yes. Behind the US. You are referring to the NZIER research (commissioned by Maxim) I imagine. NZ has, however, the highest rate of sole parent dependency on welfare.