Monday, August 11, 2008

Lucia Making DPB parents work doomed to fail [UPDATED]

National has just come out with their plan to get DPB parents working. Once the youngest child turns 6, there will be an obligation on the parent to find part time work. I suppose the theory is that while the child or children are at school, the parent can work. Sounds good. Kind of.

Personally, I'm not impressed. This policy does not solve the problem of the DPB being seen as a genuine "career" option for many young NZ women already born into disadvantage. The requirement to seek work and therefore not being so much of a burden on society can easily be circumvented by having another child. In fact, I predict that if this proposal ever becomes Government policy, the effect will be more children born to DPB women so as to always have a youngest child under 6.

Related Link: National Benefits Policy Backgrounder ~ National Party

UPDATE: It seems I'm not the only one to figure out how to get around the requirement to look for work when the youngest turns 6.
Topping up your DPB ~ Not PC
National's DPB plans gutless ~ Lindsay Mitchell

14 comment(s):

ZenTiger said...

I don't like the sound of this policy for three reasons:

1. As you have outlined.
2. I think the bureaucratic firepower required to put solo parents in work will end up being a monumental waste of tax payer funds. And being a bureaucracy, they'll probably make things worse.
3. We gotta figure out ways to give kids more time with their parents, not less. Solo parents already have it tough.

I've been discussing this also on Frog Blog, so I'll try an summarise some points later.

ZenTiger said...

4. I do welcome National at least putting this topic on the election agenda. The society we want starts with stable homes and families.

Women, as the ones who typically bear the brunt of child raising when they pick a bad partner who disappears at the first sign of responsibility, need to be making better choices about their choice of fathers.

Some-one at Frogblog suggested contraceptives in the water was the only way to guarantee a women's freedom. This is after free contraception and abortion have failed to guarantee a womens freedom of course. I said:

Putting contraceptives in water? Because two adults cannot make responsible decisions with their bodies? That’s not fixing the problem, that’s teaching children they never need to grow up. There are too many 30 year old children out there.

ZenTiger said...

I see Liberty Scott has offered a solution: 4 point plan

I like point three.

Lucia Maria said...

This policy disturbs me on multiple levels, mainly because of the implication that women should be "working", not sitting around on their butts at home. Right now the guns are pointed at the DPB mothers, but it seems this policy is part of a general thought in society that women are economic worker units and that children just need to be cared for by the state.

Anonymous said...

We need to make fathers more responsible for their actions. The problem is often caused by the father running off, or just conceiving a child with a woman he was just using for entertainment.

If fathers are made more accountable, we will have less money required from the DPB in the first place.

ZenTiger said...

I think the policy is disturbing because it starts from an authoritarian and economic solution, and doesn't include the social dimension.

Using tax payer money to force people to work? How is that going to be applied?

I better read the full policy before commenting further. I was going to and then saw the some news about the war in Georgia, and suddenly policy discussion seemed so trivial. I realise the effects of the policy will not be trivial, but I've lost focus.

Mr Dennis, a fair comment but one that may not yield as much fruit. I agree with it, but I think the issue is that there are many diverse reasons behind solo parent situations, and when it comes down to it, we are usually talking about a specific subset of people within this group. It's the subset people want to target for varying reasons, less than the group as a whole.

Targeting that subset only by economic punishments may not yield the desired results. Such fathers in that group may also be unemployed, and/or possibly on broken relationship number 5.

On the flip side, there are fathers that would pay child support if they saw it going to the child and not the mother's new partner.

The cases in this (hopefully small) percentage are complex and for the same reasons I am against the anti-smacking law, we don't want to ban smacking to supposedly stop child abuse, and we don't want to end welfare to stop welfare abuse.

That being said, I think we need to figure out ways to send a strong signal to absent fathers that they cannot escape their obligations, and that requiring the mother to name the father must be a requirement to receive state funded assistance.

Lucia Maria said...

Mr Dennis, teaching young men to be responsible is normally interpreted by many now to be the message to go out and have a good time, but make sure you wear a condom. Young women are told the same. The message needs to be given to both and society needs to stop infantalising those that are in their late teens and early twenties.

Oswald Bastable said...

All the talk is about solo mothers.

I know of a local case of a 'man' who has joint custody after divorce. He has now opted for the DPB (working for cashies, I suspect)

The mother (who stated that the DPB was NOT an option) has now been pinged for child support by IRD- to support his lifestyle choice.

Libertyscott said...

I think one of the greatest incentives this, and other measures to reduce the addiction of welfare, creates is the scope to cut taxes. I pay enough tax to sustain two families of two on welfare, yet I think raising a family would be a significant burden, certainly having one parent not working at least part time is looking almost impossible for many of my peers.

It used to be easier, it was for my parents. Reducing the tax burden on everyone will make a considerable difference. Good people are having less children because they pay money for the irresponsible to breed.9345

Lucia Maria said...

Oswald, it sounds to me like both parents have made a "lifestyle" decision. Which is typically what happens in divorce - the adults think of themselves first and then someone is left having to look after the children.

Lucia Maria said...

Libertyscott, good people are having less children because they are not open to life. It's not that much more expensive to have four children as two, but certainly more work. But, I agree there are many in the prime of life putting off children because they haven't paid off their student loans, and can't afford the down-payment on a house. Reducing taxes alone will not fix that.

ZenTiger said...

Oswald, point noted. As I mused earlier, the "solo parent" is a diverse group of people there for diverse reasons.

Economic authoritarianism will hurt more good people than bad. I'm glad National have tabled the issue, not happy with their policy, less happy with Labour but don't have the answers. It's good to see the blogs thrashing them out.

dad4justice said...

What a careless society that allows fathers to be unnamed on a child's birth certificate.

Look at the triggers National, that is, if you have a brain cell between all the empty space blue bottles.

ZenTiger said...

What a careless society that allows fathers to be unnamed on a child's birth certificate.

Well said, Dad4Justice.

It's such a good comment I shall remove the following two where Fugley goads and Dad responds.

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