Rodney Hide on benefits

Rodney Hide slays some sacred cows in regard to welfare benefits.

Which, while we are talking about it..Why do we call them benefits? It is certainly no benefit for the poor ever paying taxpayer, nor to the government. I think one way to reduce welfare is to name the payments something nasty…

Anyway Rodney Hide exposes the myths and lies of welfare.

Our welfare state has proved both addictive and dangerous. It survives propped up by propaganda and disinformation.

For example, when Steve Maharey was in charge, he declared, “The widespread belief that most Domestic Purpose Beneficiaries are teenage mums who deliberately get pregnant to get a benefit is a myth.” He explained, “The typical DPB sole parent is female, in her mid 30s, with one or two children, who went on to the benefit because of a relationship breakdown”.

And, “The average duration for a sole parent on the DPB is about three and a half years”.

So that’s okay then. The DPB does not attract teenagers into a benefit trap. It’s mostly for women whose relationships turn sour. These women need temporary assistance to get back on their feet. They aren’t on the benefit for long. 

Sounds fair and reasonable doesn’t it…only a heartless, evil right winger should possibly be against those poor hard done by recipients in dreadful need because of a cad of a man leaving them destitute. Problem is the facts don’t fit the narrative.

The best [information] we have is a 2010 survey, Understanding Sub Groups of Sole Parents Receiving Main Benefits. That survey found that one-third of all welfare-dependent sole parents had become parents as teenagers. But that’s a minimum proportion: some first-born children may have already turned 18 before the 10-year study period began and do not appear on their parent’s benefit.

So at the minimum a third of all DPB recipients were teenage mums. It’s probably more like half. And it’s likely to be more than half for Maori. So much for the former minister’s claim that it’s a myth that teenagers have babies to collect the benefit.
Oh, and what about his claim that the average duration of time on the DPB is three and a half years? Too easy. Mr Maharey only considered continuous duration on the benefit. The large numbers who come on and off the benefit pull the average down dramatically.

A third or more are teenagers…looks like Maharey’s statements were very hollow indeed. There is newer information now…that really shows up the myths…or perhaps we should call them lies.

What we need to know is the expected total time on a benefit. Thanks to Social Development Minister Paula Bennett we have that information. We now get facts, not propaganda.

The just-released Taylor-Fry report, Actuarial Study of the Benefit System, found the “average future years on a benefit” for DPB recipients is 15.8 years. And they already have had some years in the benefit system. For teenage mums it’s 20 years.

So here’s what we know: more than a third of solo mothers entered welfare as teenagers. Their expected time in the benefit system is 20 years.

It’s disinformation to report that the “typical” solo mother is in her mid 30s, has one or two children, is in the system for only a brief period and is there because of a relationship breakdown.

Mr Maharey pushed his propaganda in a column in the Dominion Post, “Why We Need the DPB,” in 2001. Back then he was minister of social development. He is now vice chancellor of Massey University. His column is reported on Massey University’s website as an “academic output.”

Sounds like the kind of academic output David Cunliffe would claim on his CV.


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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.  And 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 that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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

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