Friday, October 08, 2021

If you need a lift...

Give Us Hope Jacinda update:

Monday, October 04, 2021

More weasel-wokery; more welfarism

Yesterday I wrote about a recent law change which effectively encourages adding children to an existing benefit.

Here's the next move in this government's reckless expansion of welfarism.

But first some background:

"The introduction of a statutory DPB [1973] represented a major shift towards public responsibility for the financial support of sole parents, but it did not extinguish private maintenance obligations. Applicants for the DPB continued to be required to take maintenance proceedings as a condition of being granted the statutory benefit until the introduction of the Liable Parent Contribution Scheme in 1981, when the Department of social Welfare took over this responsibility and sole parents had only to name the liable parent. This policy was continued when the Child Support Act came into effect in 1992. There is no maintenance disregard: all maintenance received is paid into the Consolidated Account to offset the cost of providing the benefit.  For almost all sole parents on benefit, therefore, receipt of maintenance makes no difference to their income."

The government that created the DPB was regarded as generous in providing a secure income regardless of whether or not the father (or sometimes non-custodial mother) paid maintenance/child support. The taxpayer would henceforth be picking up the majority of the tab for the family upkeep.

Fast forward to 2021 and reason has flown the coop.

Various advocates now want the partial reimbursement the father has been making to the taxpayer to go direct to the mother.

An Auckland professor says, "At the moment it just sends the signal that the government wants to take the money for itself."

By implication the government is no longer generous. It is greedy.

The Children's Commissioner, Andrew Becroft also says current practice 'fails the fairness test.'

But if  the $150m currently collected from non-custodial parents is not used to offset the benefit then the unseen invisible taxpayer will have to stump up with it. Because there sure as heck won't be a reduction in benefit rates. So that 'passes the fairness test'? How so?

But wait. Here's comes the inevitable weasel-wokery. According to Becroft, because more than half of sole parent beneficiaries are Maori, it's a RACIST law.

Naturally enough the Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni is acquiescing, agreeing that the law is "discriminatory," needs to change and that "the mahi on it is underway."

The upshot will be 1/ a rise in the income of sole parent beneficiaries which increases disincentive to work and 2/ a funding shortfall (one of many) inevitably leading to higher taxation.

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Carte blanche to keep having kids on a benefit

 An evidence brief prepared for Oranga Tamariki and published in April 2021 contains some fascinating data.

It looks at people born 1997 to 2002. At around 60,000 each year that should be around 300,000. And so it is:

The first group is those who had interaction with both care and protection (CP) and youth justice (YJ). You can figure the rest from there.

The next shows the association with benefits at age 17:

Looking at just the first group 19% had already received their own benefit; in the past year 23% had a parent who'd received Jobseeker; 20% a parent on sole parent support and 8% with a parent receiving suported living payment.

That totals to 70 percent. (This might be an overcount because it's feasible one parent received both types of benefit in the same year but the paper doesn't spell out any overlap).

For those 17 year-olds who had never been involved with care and protection or youth justice the equivalent number was just 13 percent.

The link between long-term benefit dependence and appearing in the care and protection or youth justice systems is very strong.

On Thursday last week the government effectively sent a message that it's fine to be on a benefit and keep having kids. They passed a law to undo prior attempts to discourage this, known as the 'subsequent child policy'. Put simply, a rule to stop people avoiding work obligations by having more babies.

Why has the government done this?

Here's Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni:

The subsequent child policy has a disproportionate effect on Māori women. By removing the policy, we can further our commitment to improving outcomes for Māori and valuing the role of carers, who are predominantly women. 

Maori make up 56% of the people adding children to a benefit. 

So I leave you with one last graph from the brief:

The last Labour government swept having babies on a benefit under the carpet. That was bad enough. 

Now it's overt and encouraged.


Still waiting for Jacinda to start on "that list"


Replying to a column by David Seymour when she was still in opposition Jacinda Ardern wrote:

...our welfare state is having to pick up everything  that is broken – ridiculous housing costs, low wages, people working multiple jobs to put food on the table and barely see their children, an education system that leaves too many behind, and a generation of kids who have lost hope.

If you want to genuinely help turn the bus around, start with that list.

 Over five years later - half a decade - and what's changed?