The perils of welfarism, warning labels needed


Rodney Hide discusses the perils of welfarism and the dire consequences of it at NBR.

Welfare benefits should carry a warning label: “Danger: Taking a benefit may endanger your children.”

That’s because benefit-supported children are six times more likely to be abused or neglected. They are 14 times more likely to be known to Youth Justice. And the longer the time on a benefit, the worse it gets.

Children in households benefit-dependent for nine or more years are 13 times more likely to be abused. And 29 times more likely to be known to Youth Justice.

These are government statistics. They are derived from the Ministry of Social Development’s cohort study titled Children’s Contact with MSD Services.

A commercial product, such as a food or a toy, with those statistics would carry a warning label and most likely be banned altogether. 

Welfare for many has become a trap, one with dire consequences. The left wing though will say welfare needs to be increased without realising that measures such as increasing benefits will simply make the trap stronger and more lethal.

Of course, the Ministry of Social Development has no interest in blowing the whistle on its own product. It is no different from a chemical company protecting its investment.

Second, the ministry concludes its study in doublespeak: “These findings are consistent with associations between low income and measures of child maltreatment found both across and within countries. They do not, however, establish that being supported by the benefit system causes a child to be more at risk of these outcomes.”

The first sentence introduces a spurious third variable – income – that the study never considered. The statement then declares its study is consistent with the idea that child abuse is associated with low income. The implication is that we need more of their product to combat child abuse. How convenient. The second sentence jumps from “association” to “causation.” It’s a rhetorical trick. It enables the ministry to declare its study doesn’t show that benefit dependency causes child abuse.

Of course, it doesn’t. Correlation is not causation. For example, the causation could run the other way with child abusers and law breakers more likely to be benefit-dependent or there could be a third variable, such as family breakdown, driving both benefit dependency and abuse and law breaking.

But what we can say is that child abuse and law breaking are correlated with benefit dependency. That link for a toy or a food would be enough to prompt a banning.

Perhaps we could eliminate child abuse by removing the benefits?

We shouldn’t be surprised by any of this. We live in a Politically Correct world where all negative social outcomes are decreed the result of poverty, with even more social welfare always the solution. It’s the politically wrong answer to suggest the welfare system is the cause of social problems.

And, of course, welfare is the country’s biggest industry, which is not about to report we would be better off without it.

Thank goodness for bloggers and especially Lindsay Mitchell. Thanks to her, the ministry hasn’t succeeded in burying its own adverse findings.

Lindsay Mitchell does a great job in peeling back the layers of bureaucracy in order to understand welfarism

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.