Lindsay Mitchell has been researching and commenting on welfare since 2001. Many of her articles have been published in mainstream media and she has appeared on radio, tv and before select committees discussing issues relating to welfare. Lindsay is also an artist who works under commission and exhibits at Wellington, New Zealand, galleries.

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 supported living payment.

That totals to 70 per cent. (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 per cent.

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 from 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 Maori women. By removing the policy, we can further our commitment to improving outcomes for Maori 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.


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Carte Blanche to Keep Having Kids on a Benefit
Reproduced with permission

Reproduced with permission

Content republished on The BFD unedited with permission. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. This content is offered for discussion and for alternative points...