Friday, May 08, 2015

Increase benefits to improve responsibility

No, it's not a Tui ad.

A column appeared in this morning's DomPost which is, in parts, staggering in its distortions. For instance:

If we had a more inclusive approach to children, they would have an adequate standard of living no matter the causes of low income.
A first step is improving Working for Families so that these important tax credits are available to children whose parents can't find enough work to meet current criteria.
Of course, such a move requires a shift away from current thinking that categorises a child's poverty as the parent's fault and a shift to policy that gives parents the capacity to exercise their responsibility. With a bit of extra support these families can make the right choices to help their kids flourish.

I have responded with the following.

On the matter of child poverty, Deborah Morris-Travers writes, "let's be clear" but then isn't. She doesn't spell out the key demand of the End Poverty petition. It is to extend the In Work Tax Credit (IWTC) - a creation of the last Labour government - to beneficiary parents. She writes about parents who "can't find enough work" implying that a lack of jobs is driving child poverty.

One in five children born in 2014 was benefit-dependent by the end of the year. Many went directly onto a benefit, some shortly thereafter. That outcome cannot have come as a surprise to the parent. Most went onto Sole Parent Support which does not require parents to work until their child goes to school. This early dependency pattern goes back to at least 1993 regardless of the unemployment rate.

To then write that beneficiaries should receive bigger benefits so they have "the capacity to exercise their responsibility" is truly topsy-turvy.

For years public policy has incentivised irresponsibility about bringing children into the world. This petition asks the government to improve the incentive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

George Osbourne - an adult who can read a balance sheet, unlike NZ politicians - is of course poised to do the opposite: cut benefits to improve responsibility.

Fiscal responsibility, that is.

25% cut over all government spending in nominal terms (with Health to be protected) over 5 years. That's responsibility.