Thursday, September 11, 2014

A major National success story

During last night's debate, John Key made a crucial point during the minimum wage brawl. He described how, when they looked at the unemployed aged 30-39, they found X percent (I think he said half - fill in the blank if you remember) had started in the benefit system as teenagers. That is why he doesn't want to see high minimum wages shut teenagers out of the labour market launching them onto a long-term career on the dole.

This has been  a strong focus for National  this term. Keeping young males and females out of the system from the outset. And it relates to some OIA data I received yesterday.

Looking at sole parents (mostly females) I wanted to track the numbers since 2008. But changes to benefit categories make it impossible to quantify with publicly available statistics eg When the DPB was replaced by Sole Parent Support some beneficiaries were transferred onto Jobseeker Support, those with children aged 14 and older.

So I asked MSD how many sole parents were on any benefit in 2008, 2011 and 2014 (June quarter).
Knowing they would provide working age numbers (18-64) I also asked for sole parents aged 16-17.

The results are graphed below. 18-64 year-olds follow an expected pattern - up during the recession. Though it should be noted that today the numbers are lower than after the economic boom period up to 2008.

Most interestingly though, the 16-17 year-old numbers have just plummeted. Across all ethnicities! Exactly what National wanted to achieve. And it's not a the result of more 16-17 young parents being denied assistance. The teenage birth rate is also tracking down quite significantly.

This development cannot be overstated in importance. It means fewer children at risk of ill-health, under achievement, neglect or abuse, disaffection and drop-out, ending up in state care, and ultimately convictions and imprisonment - all most common among children with very young parents.

It represents a break in the inter-generational cycle of social dysfunction. Truly good news.


Brendan McNeill said...

That is very good news.

However the real celebration will come when Maori percentages fall into line with the rest of New Zealand.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

You won't see that in the Herald or on TVNZ news.

Anonymous said...

'That is why he doesn't want to see high minimum wages shut teenagers out of the labour market launching them onto a long-term career on the dole.'

good thinking...why make the $gap between the dole and working much bigger?Um to incentivise people to realise how much better off they will be working and earning a living rather than just existing.Key is clueless.

Anonymous said...

I was surprised at the flimsy arguments about the loss of jobs arising from an increase in minimum wages. The issue that may dictate outcomes in this area is self serve computer options that do away with the basic staff altogether if the labour cost creeps to a point where staff are dearer than automation.

I cannot believe that increasing wages by dictate will not impact jobs - we are not so rich that we can just keep paying more. The web is replacing shops on the high st because its cheaper.