Sunday, June 19, 2011

MSD spinning

The glossy Ministry of Social Development's Rise magazine (note to self - ask how much it costs to produce under the OIA) was released during the week, and contains an article about the Manurewa-based Taonga Trust, which works with teenage parents. For a change some statistics, but not good ones, are presented:

New Zealand has the second highest teenage birth rate among the world's developed countries. In 2009 there were 4,670 births to New Zealand teenagers.

In Manukau City around 630 teenagers give birth each year.

We are second only to the US where their rate is also boosted by very high minority teenage birth rates.

The piece continues:

Vulnerable and unsupported teen parents and their children can face a multitude of disadvantages. New Zealand studies show that compared with women who had not become mothers by age 21, teen mothers are:

nine times more likely to have no qualifications
twice as likely to suffer from major depression
twice as likely to be substance dependent
three times more likely to be suicidal at times
and three times more likely to be dependent on a benefit.

Well this is refreshing. An acknowledgement that having babies very young is neither good for the mother nor the children.

But what would I put this unusual frankness down to?

Pleading on behalf of the Trust? They will always need more funding.

But the pleading highlights the way government handles the problem. Pour in more and more corrective resources.

Instead of saying, hang on a minute. This is avoidable. Why are the statistics so high? What has the welfare incentive got to do with it?

Health analysts have no problem grasping the concept of prevention. It is cheaper (and better for the patient) than treating disease.

In the social arena however the attitude seems to prevail that the high teenage birth rate is fait accompli, a cultural tradition even.

And as I re-read the article it strikes me, looking at the cover and the smiling faces, that this is published by the MSD as a good news story. Look at us. Look how well we are doing.

But it isn't. It's a bad news story about a government-created social disaster which provides work for worthies. That's all.

(The number registered on the DPB in Manukau has risen 18.5 percent in the ten years to March 2011. There are 1,621 on the DPB with roughly 2,500 children. That would fill half a dozen good-sized schools. That's just Manukau. In Mangere there are 3,329 and Manurewa 2,929 - attached to which will be around another 10,000 or so children. I don't think 'disaster' is too strong a word.)


Mark said...

I agree, but when I look closer at the photo does it actually look like they are similing, or does it look forced?

They know its a fail and the women is now dead tucker and her life is screwed.

WAKE UP said...

"New Zealand has the second highest teenage birth rate among the world's developed countries. In 2009 there were 4,670 births to New Zealand teenagers."

No, certain social groupings within NZ have "...the second highest teenage birth rate among the world's developed countries". Ditto obesity and other problems.

I always ask: what's their age/ethnicity/religion/immigrant-resident status/lenght of time here-born here etc ect?, and until I get the REAL answers, I don't trust the "statistics" at all.

Ross Calverley said...

Most people know there is a problem with welfare. Too many people are on it, yet people who are on it are struggling. What I'd like to know is what are your solutions Lindsay?

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Ross, Many are scattered throughout this blog of 5 plus years.

Or try

George Romero said...

Hi Lindsay,
Alas,i have seen first hand,the effect of the commiefeminist army in action in South Auckland.
Not only do 'THEY' encourage the dpb lifstyle , 'THEY' have a cool 'mag for enthusiasts' to share new methods of debasing the traditional family.
Rise up against,RISE!

Anonymous said...

But Modern Western world governments love dependent groups in our society. Welfare is just one of them. Working for families is another way of keeping workers dependent on the State instead of paying higher wages.The more dependent any group in our society is, the greater control over them you (the State) has. Retiring age for super is another form of control.Think of other methods the State controls citizens.Selective taxes and welfare rules are but some. How dependent is a solo mum? Their lives almost belong to the State because of money dependency. Not a choice many would eagerly rush into these days is it?