Saturday, December 09, 2017

Update on sole parent economic situation

An interesting graph from the Briefing to Incoming Social Development Minister:

After the In Work tax credit came in the gap between being on a benefit and working for the minimum wage opened up.

This has undoubtedly contributed to the fall in the number of benefit-dependent sole parents. But anti-child poverty activists want the in work tax credit paid to all beneficiaries. This will be a sticky issue for the new government. Their families package (especially the payment for babies aged 0-2) will effectively close the gap anyway.

Another interesting fact from the Briefing. Maori represent 15% of the population but "48 percent of Sole Parent Support recipients."

Here's a table from my own 2008 paper, Maori and Welfare:

It would appear the employment status of Maori sole parents is not improving as quickly as the general population.

A question remains that I have not had time to properly research. While the number of sole parent support recipients continues to drop...

... it must be remembered that many are now moved onto jobseeker support as their youngest child reaches 14. There may also be some migration onto the supported living benefit positively affecting the drop. The Briefing stresses that "The proportion of clients with mental health conditions has been growing substantially over time."

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Reckless changes to benefit system will hurt children

Myself and Muriel Newman explain how in this week's NZCPR lead articles.

The first part of my piece, which concerns the removal of the requirement to name the father of a child supported by a benefit,  has mostly been stated already at this site but the second was something I had been intending to blog about but hadn't:

"But wait – there’s more.

This is just one of the changes this far-Left government intends to make. They also want to scrap other sanctions (benefit cuts) such as those imposed for failing a drugs test or for failing to keep Work and Income appointments. It won’t surprise if they also scrap sanctions that motivated young parents to attend parenting and budgeting courses, and enrol their child with a local GP.

Many of the sanctions loathed by the Left merely imitate the obligations that the paid workforce experience. Now taxpayers will be expected to meet obligations beneficiaries don’t have to and pay for the beneficiary’s ‘privilege’.

This topsy-turvy ‘world view’ was recently exemplified when Catriona McLennan, a well-meaning lawyer and advocate for the Child Poverty Action Group was heard extolling the generosity and kindness of Micky Savage’s original benefit system, and how New Zealand needs to return to that inclusiveness.

What a shock it would be for a young single mother of today to find, under the 1938 social security provisions, nobody was interested in whether she named the father of their child or not: because there was no benefit for single mothers. At best, a deserted wife could apply for a Widow’s Benefit but eligibility rested on her having been married and having sought financial support from the father through the courts.

It’s almost laughable when today’s beneficiary advocates complain about National’s ‘harshness’.

They are out of touch with reality. But they plan to drive policy made by a government with the same problem."