Thursday, March 20, 2014

This isn't a chicken or egg scenario

As Conservative Perspective and Bob McCoskrie have already pointed out, Simon Collins has his theory the wrong way around. He says poverty is driving nuclear family break-up. I say it's vice versa.

My response by way of a letter to the editor:

Dear Editor

According to the NZ Herald, March 20, "Surprise Census figures suggest that poverty may be breaking up the nuclear family." Analyst Paul Callister is quoted saying, "...the welfare system meant many couples were better off by separating."

For a nuclear family to "break-up" it has to exist first. In 2012 the proportion of unmarried births was 48 percent. In the same year, 21 percent of babies born were dependent on welfare - usually the DPB - by Christmas. Around half of these children will spend 7 or more years in the benefit system.

It isn't poverty driving family disintegration. It's the availability and heavy use of welfare. This is particularly prevalent amongst Maori because welfare incomes are close to incomes from low paid, unskilled jobs.

As the article notes, "Education is also a powerful factor." Exactly. In time females with qualifications and aspirations may choose not to embark on a career of poverty-stricken single parenthood. Then again, as long as it's a seemingly 'easy' option the pattern of single mothering and subsequent hardship will continue.

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