Gary Johns: No contraception, no benefit

IF a person’s sole source of income is the taxpayer, the person, as a condition of benefit, must have contraception. No contraception, no benefit.

This is not an affront to single mothers or absent fathers, or struggling parents. Such a measure will undoubtedly affect strugglers, it undoubtedly will affect Aboriginal and Islander people in great proportions, but the idea that someone can have the taxpayer, as of right, fund the choice to have a child is repugnant.

Large families of earlier generations were the result of the combination of absent contraception and the need to have many children, in order that some survive to care for parents in old age.

These conditions do not now apply. Infant mortality is minuscule in all sectors of society, and the taxpayer picks up the tab for aged care.

Therefore, there should be no taxpayer inducement to have children. Potential parents of poor means, poor skills or bad character will choose to have children. So be it. But no one should enter parenthood while on a benefit.

It is better to avoid having children until such time as parents can afford them. No amount of ‘‘intervention’’ after the fact can make up for the strife that many parents bring down on their ­children.

Johns is essentially saying it is child abuse to bring children into a world where parents can’t afford them.  

And so it was that taxpayers were confronted with two cases over Christmas. Both happened to be indigenous, but of course, many non-indigenous cases abound. The first, in Cairns, involved a single mother with nine children from five fathers.

The usual allegations of failure to support were levelled at authorities. Gracelyn Smallwood, the enduring indigenous north Queensland activist, wanted ‘‘a 24-hour culturally appropriate service’’ for such mothers.

Indeed, all manner of culturally appropriate support has been forthcoming, but as Carmody found, ‘‘the growing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care has severely outpaced the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers’’.

Better this woman had fewer children. Better men on benefits also could be prevented from having children.

Which recalls the second case, in Redfern, of contested parenting between the NSW Department of Family and Community Services and a grandmother for her daughter’s, and an absent father’s, six children.

Until June, the grandmother was caring for her six grandchildren and two of her daughters at different times, in a small two bedroom house in Redfern.

The department had taken the children and placed them in foster care.

The facts suggest the outcome was fraught, whatever the court’s decision about who ultimately cared for the children.

The grandmother, the mother and the absent father have been long-term alcoholics and drug abusers. But again, the large number of children made the burden intolerable.

Is it a human right to procreate even if you can’t afford to feed them, house them or school them?   Is it a human right to have others pay your bills?



– The Australian


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  • Blue Tim

    I think Gary Johns is dead right. Shame he won’t be heard from again as the liberarty hound him down

  • ex-JAFA

    With temporary chemical contraception now a reality, there’s no reason why this couldn’t be made a condition of receiving most benefits. Get your six-monthly (or whenever) jab or the payments stop.

    It needn’t be a permanent, expensive, invasive procedure like tubal ligation or having the gent’s power cut off. If and when the beneficiaries get back on their feet, the contraception will wear off and they can then have children if they choose to do so.

    Me, I’ve got the world’s two best forms of contraception: my looks and my personality.

    • mommadog

      Agree ex-Jaffa. With the types of contraception available now it doesn’t have to be permanent but needs to be a solution until people get back on their feet. However I can already hear the howls of outrage here in NZ if someone suggested it and it would never get as far as a serious debate. I have my own social experiment going on next door to prove if you keep handing out benefits you keep getting kids that everyone else pays for. The saddest thing is the 8-9 year old wants to grow up and have a baby. That’s her career plan as she tells it to me over the fence. Supposing national had the guts to go there… any legislation would be the first to be overturned when Labour bribed itself into power again by promising unlimited kids and more hand outs.
      PS (LOL at your last line) Rather than your looks and personality being forms of contraception they may actually be superpowers keeping you safe and out of the clutches of those wanting sperm donors to collect more benefits.

    • Reaper

      I think the jab is 3 monthly, but whatever. If it were up to me the benefit would be dependent on production of a doctor’s certificate every 3 months to prove you have had it (or an IUD inserted).. No certificate – no benefit.

    • Aucky

      You are absolutely correct but there will be a large number of Catholics, fundies & PIs who will immediately scream that to demand contraception is a breach of their rights. They are are really powerful lobby groups and no government would be game to do it.

      • ex-JAFA

        I don’t mean to suggest that it’s party policy, but my government would certainly try. We’d replace many government departments with a Ministry of Pragmatism and a Department of Harden Up.

        • Disinfectant

          The only way the Western Liberal Democracies have achieved reform is when the system is broke.
          The sooner it is broken, the quicker reform will come.
          Maybe we should all go all out to claim everything the Government will allow us to have.

        • paul468

          You may want to rethink the ” Department of Harden Up” name

      • Albert Lane

        I understand that the current Pope supports contraception. Times are changing. Hopefully.

  • Teletubby

    It a viscious circle, I think it is a human right to procreate, however I also feel strongly that if you can’t support kids you shouldn’t bring them into the world. I loath that so much of my taxes go to paying for other people’s lifestyle choices and as much as I like the idea of no more money if you have a kid on a benefit and no contraception no benefit what worries me is that there will still be many children born to these parents regardless of any changes and it is the lot of those kids that worries me. Parents that don’t. Are who have the added cost of a child with no extra benefit, I cannot see many positive outcomes from it. As much as I want to be hardline on this I just can’t ignore the children who will suffer through no fault of their own

    • MaryLou

      Teletubby – I agree with what you say, totally. Would it be reasonable then, to suggest that whilst it is their right to have children, it is completely incumbent on them to provide the necessities of life. If a parent CHOOSES not to find work that can sustain their children to a degree that meets civilised criteria, then they lose their right to retain guardianship of these children?

      Note I’m not talking about people going through a short hard time, or having a workplace accident which renders them incapable of full-time work (we obviously need to care for those that need it) – I mean those that seriously won’t get off their chuff and do what they need to do. Likewise those that choose to have 9 kids with no way to earn enough to feed them all.

      • Teletubby

        Sounds like a good start to me, unfortunately it doesn’t stop them continuing to have more children and it still leaves the issue of who is going to pay for looking after the children once the parents lose guardianship. It will be the taxpayers and in the end no consequence for the parents so no need for them to change their ways

        • MaryLou

          Well, yes, the children would be raised by people who care enough about them to actually provide for their needs, and the natural parents lose any access to benefits. But you’re right, wouldn’t necessarily stop them doing it again…

        • Mrs_R

          My birth mother was an unmarried teenager and back then her actions were shameful enough that her family sent her to Auckland to have the baby (me), that way the neighbours didn’t know about it. I was adopted into a loving family who couldn’t have children, so were all of my siblings. My parents did not get paid by the taxpayer to raise me, they worked hard to do that on their own. I have since met my birth mother and I am truly thankful that she didn’t get to keep me. Contraception is the way to go first and foremost, but if people have children they can’t afford to keep, or if they are just plain useless in the parenting department, then I think adoption should become the norm again – without any input or contact by the birth parents.

          • Teletubby

            I’m glad things worked out for you Mrs R, from what I gather the adoption route used to work very well but as society changed people started believing they had a “right” to keep their babies they couldn’t afford, and the government started sponsoring them to do. Somewhere along the way a system to offer support to young women who fell pregnant and abandoned mothers became a government funded breeding program. We need to claw it back somehow.

          • Albert Lane

            The DPB system was initiated to provide a temporary income to women whose spouses had left them penniless when their marriages had broken down, and to support them until they could gain employment. However, it would appear that over the years, various politicians allowed this scheme to get out of hand, and we now have a DPB that is a valid lifestyle in various sectors of our community. So what do we do about it? Should we put a use-by date on the current regulations and return to the original premise?

      • mommadog

        Yep one can be an accident or mistake anyone can make even if using contraception. Multiple kids are no accident.

  • luke

    Having children is a privilege not a right. We thought long and hard about having
    another (after 3) but couldn’t afford it. My salary simply couldn’t
    stretch to another child, no matter how much we wanted one. Successive
    governments in the UK and NZ have created an environment where the more
    children you produce, the more benefits you receive. Hardly surprising
    those with a sense of entitlement ‘pop them out’ to claim the benefits
    they ‘deserve’. See this in the UK to see howit can be abused.
    In my view having children is only a human right if, you are able to
    care for them, and not rely on others to pay for them.

    • kehua

      Where do you stand on` paid parental leave` ? I have never supported this as I believe it is not my responsibility to finance anyone elses desire to have a child.

      • luke

        I’d like to agree with you but as Albert Lane said about ‘maintaining a population’, we have to encourage people to have children if we are to maintain population levels. But how do we maintain the right level of gene pool?

    • Albert Lane

      There is a huge problem looming in Europe. Any population needs a reproductive capacity of 2.1 children per family to maintain their population levels. If the numbers of children fall below this level, problems start occurring, and the country needs to import workers to make up the deficit. Our problems in the West are that both husband and wife need to work to maintain and improve their lifestyle, and they must limit their family size to achieve this. When that results in low birthrates, the impact produces the problems we now see in France, Holland, Germany and Scandinavia, as the imported workers contain large numbers of people from countries that cannot assimilate into their political and religious cultures. At some time in the future, those of immigrant cultures will outnumber the native population, and there will be significant problems. I’ll say no more, as we all know what I mean.

  • T. Akston

    The right to have children should go hand-in-hand with the responsibility to care for them and raise them into responsible citizens. The welfare state separates these, privatising the right and socialising the responsibility and cost. This rates as a fundamental disconnect and a failure of socialism.

    How many billion in transfer payments does the NZ welfare system make each year ? It has failed so far, can someone please tell me how much more will it take before we finally found that corner to nirvana, and when will that be ?

  • Dave

    The article recieved a very serious debate on FB, and in the Courier Mail here in aussie. Despite the socialists stranglehold in Aussie, the vast majority of comments agreed, you can have as many children as you like, as long as they are loved and YOU can afford to pay for them, throughout their journey from conception to adulthood. The state already has the burden of educating them, and for providing health care, this is not denied, or debated But, welfare is not a right, or a given, no one is entitled to it, NO ONE. Welfare needs to be seriously seen as a backstop, to assist one for a SHORT TERM, and to assist them to get back on their feet.

    Again, the issue of Torres Straight islanders, and aboriginals on welfare is extreme in Nth Qld, there are entire communities who soley rely on the government to survive.

    • Albert Lane

      And in respect of your last comment, I’m sure the same would apply in parts of NZ.

  • Eddie Nunns

    I’m sure if a Relative turned up on the doorstep and asked to live for free in the spare bedroom and that you supply all meals etc, that these Parents would say Err we couldn’t afford it. But they still have another child ?? So one is factual and one is emotional. So many wrong decisions are ruled from the Heart and not the Brain

  • cows4me

    I the majority of the voting public have had enough of unbridled welfare especially when it comes to the DPB. Unfortunately our politicians have created a system of welfare handouts that have basically introduced an inescapable system of government, socialism, that will eventually lead to full blown communism. It’s probably to late to stop the train wreck that is welfare as so many are beholding to the state. There are numerous measures that could be implemented to halt this decline but government either lacks the gonads or is happy with the present situation . We are slowly being steered towards big government and total control. How far advanced would we be as a country if those that introduced welfare laws had made strict laws to limit certain handouts. I.E one child covered for DPB no more. Surely the present situation could have been predicted, I believe it’s been a deliberate act.

    • Disinfectant

      For decades welfare has bought votes.
      End of story.

      • Michael_l_c

        helen clark did it. tony blair did it. labour don’t realise the rest of the country don’t want it to carry on, so they loose & the greens will join them.

      • Albert Lane

        Yes, free handouts are very popular. I would probably vote for a party that said they would pay for my petrol. I wouldn’t ask how they did it, I’d just vote for them.

  • BlitzkriegNZ

    After any major cuts or rule changes it’ll take a couple of generations of REAL poverty before these feral breeders actually wake up and pull their heads out.
    Maybe the kids who suffer because or their retarded parents will learn from it and become better people in the long run and the country will be far better off.
    Won’t happen though, too many soft pansies can’t see it when their own money keeps being flushed down a never ending toilet called winz.

  • GoingRight

    Maybe the topic could be included in sex education at school. Doubt many teenagers realise the cost of raising a child, mine certainly didn’t at that age.

    • MaryLou

      That’s definitely part of it. My kids did a topic a few years ago, round the age of 10 or 11 on childrens rights. Responsibilities, from memory, did not form a part of the curriculum.

      • Albert Lane

        I remember as a kid. We were given a small amount of pocket money. In return we had to do the dishes, mow the lawns and keep our room tidy. If you didn’t get your chores done, you didn’t get your pocket money. It certainly worked for me, and I did gardening work for the neighbours (for a very paltry sum), but it taught me that you have to earn your keep in society.

        • MaryLou

          :) Your parents were kind! My kids get nothing for doing the dishes or tidying – as far as I’m concerned it’s just part of living, and if I cook them nutritious meals (which someone will always complain about), then they can do the dishes. If they cook, I’ll do the dishes! Pocket money only happens if EXTRA stuff is done, like painting or water blasting…

          • Albert Lane

            I think that receiving pocket money gives us a knowledge of the value of money and its purchasing power. I have an 8 year-old grand-daughter who receives no pocket money, and still has not even a clue as to values and costs. If she’s given money for a birthday present, I have heard that she hands it out among her school friends, as it means absolutely nothing to her.

    • OneTrack

      What cost? Have a kid and the state gives you money. Have another kid and the state gives you more.

      • GoingRight

        Yes that has to change, however for many families education about consequences, cost, budgeting, contraception could all come into the format for high school kids at school. When that doesn’t work, target these families, which I think the national government is doing for teenagers who fall pregnant and assist them into a trade or university education

  • Wheninrome

    Personal responsibility has fallen by the wayside over the years. It is now more about “my rights”.
    It is possible to reverse what has happened, one generation doing it hard might make some think twice about producing another mouth to feed or, of necessity, looking to their family/whanau for support rather than the general population via the tax payer.
    Fat chance of any of the present politicians having the strength/will/attitude to go with that idea, after all it is their pay cheque they would be putting in danger of loosing, the missing million might get upset and actually turn out and vote.
    So on we go towards who knows what.

    • Albert Lane

      Yes. If National decided to demand contraception, Labour et al would pledge to revoke the legislation at the next election. So why should National commit political suicide? Best to retain the status quo and let somebody else do something about it in a few years time.

  • Eiselmann

    Worked at WINZ South Auckland for 13 years from 86 to 99…on my first day I interviewed a woman who’d been on benefit all her adult life, her under-aged daughter already had a daughter ….who I interviewed (the granddaughter) in 99 to include her kid into her mothers benefit , none of them had ever worked that whole time . , I lost count of how many women who as soon as a child hit 16 went out and had another one..
    While most people on benefit hate it and typically come off the benefit in weeks and months there is a significant portion of our population who see the benefit as an occupation and getting pregnant is just part of the job….anything that breaks the use of babies as a meal ticket is a good thing.

  • exactchange

    There are (supposed to be) sanctions now for sole parents who have additional children while on benefit. Namely to be part-time-work ready when the youngest is 12 months, provided the next oldest is over 5. Haven’t seen any results of the policy though seems the number of sole parents on benefit is declining.

    • MaryLou

      Yes, Ms Bennett was achieving some marvellous things. I get that she has earned a promotion, but if she’d stayed where she was another term I reckon she could have gotten us to a really good place. Not sure how the new one will do – doesn’t have Bennetts “way”.

  • Wheninrome

    I wonder if a woman, if offered the choice at hospital after the birth of yet another baby, would agree to birth control at that particular moment?

    • MaryLou

      As long as you ask whilst she’s still in labour – 5 minutes afterwards is usually too late!

      • Wheninrome

        Too true, the mind is a funny thing child birth pain is quickly forgotten. At the rate some of them pop them out there is probably no pain.

  • McGrath

    Those on a benefit should require confirmation of contraception as part of the conditions. Quite simply: Poor people should not be breeding.

  • pisces8284 .

    My son in law left my daughter with three children seven years ago because he was having an affair and the other woman was pregnant. This woman has gone on to have another child with him, meanwhile he lives in a shed behind her house so that she can continue to receive the benefit. Meanwhile my daughter has gone on to start a business, is off the benefit and the children have virtually nothing to do with their ‘sperm donor’. He comes from a family whose only skills in life are breeding. All his brothers have kids, stay with their partner for a while and then split. Of course the whole family are Labourites, and hate JK with a self righteous passion. The fact that the tax payers are feeding their children goes right over their head. So yes, I agree that we need to tighten the rules, but….my daughter would have been in dire straits without the DPB, so where do we tighten it?

    • MaryLou

      It doesn’t sound like your daughter has made a career choice here. Her husband left once they already had three kids, and she’s gone on to start her own business! I take my hat off to her – starting a business with children to look after as well is tough – I can’t imagine how much harder that would be on your own.

      This is exactly the type of person that should be supported, and I reckon we could do a better job of that if we weren’t also paying for those that DO make a career of it. Three kids whilst married is different to 9 kids and no permanent partner

    • Warren Murray

      Given the sperm donor’s identity is known, the State can require him to contribute child support. Perhaps such consequences may affect his choices.

      • pisces8284 .

        Thankfully he is working so yes he is contributing via IRD. It’s never the true cost of child rearing though is it?

        • MaryLou

          No. The requirement can be ridiculously small, and from what I’ve heard, the fathers “needs” weigh heavily in the calculation as to what the dollar amount is set at.

          • pisces8284 .

            $80 per week for three children…..

          • MaryLou

            Yep – truly pathetic. Really is round the wrong way – kids should be accounted for, adults get what’s left!

    • hamsap

      before the kids were born if both parents are on benefit…

  • Chris W

    Yes, reproduction is a human right – at least the right not to have it curtailed.

    You guys betray yourselves as the commie statists you really are when you think the state has the right to control your fertility in exchange for a taxpayer-funded service.

    • Wheninrome

      Lets not control their fertility then. Freedom of choice. In other words, the freedom for them to pay for their choice and number of children.

    • MaryLou

      No one is suggesting people cant have kids. I don’t care if someone has fifty, if they can provide for them. But I’m busy paying the way for my own. No reason I should also pay for someone elses.

    • intelligentes candida diva

      That control is only to be enforced if the pregnant woman is on a benefit to support other children, good economics I think oh and lets not forget the minimisation of child abuse in the form of neglect. It is rarer nowadays the modern parent would forego their own lifestyle for the sake of their childs betterment…yes I am cynical I have seen and read a lot

    • Albert Lane

      So are you telling us that all people have the right to have as many children as they like, and the state has an automatic and unquestioned obligation to provide housing, food and financial support not only to those children, but also the parent? But we’re being told that rights have to equal obligations. So what obligations do the parents owe to the state. And what rights does the state have in return? For instance, if the parents are paid by the state to house, care and support their children, and if they fail to provide all basic necessities, what right should the state have to correct the problem? Should the state have an automatic right to remove the children and adopt them out to foster parents who can fulfill those obligations? Or is it better for the state to say to any person on a benefit, “We will look after you, and encourage you to get a job and look after yourself and any children you might already have given birth to, but in return you are not to produce any more children until you are in a financial position to support them, and we will assist you by providing contraception”. Or should a beneficiary say to the state, “I am on a benefit now, and if I have any children whilst on that benefit, I will support them on that benefit alone”. It’s my right to have children, but I have an obligation to live within my means. And if I have children whilst on the benefit, I will not ask for any more money, extra housing, or any more help”. “If I make the decision to have children, then I will need to support them myself, just like any other citizen.” And that’s an impossibility as we all know.

  • Gravyman2

    Paying people to breed is never a good idea. They will do it anyway. Paying people who cannot look after children to breed makes no sense whatsoever.

  • paul468

    Contraception for benefit sounds like a great idea. The only thing you are stopping is pregnancy and why should the state fund that if you can’t. Of course, following that line, why should you bring a child into this world if you check it’s DNA early in the 9 month cycle and find that it will have a health condition that would require state funding for most of their life. Do you say to the potential parents “sign this disclaimer and waive any right to healthcare for that condition or abort that foetus – your choice”

  • TSD

    Interestingly, if you bred dogs you couldn’t afford to feed you’d be treated as a criminal for animal cruelty. Are children therefore not as important as dogs in our society?

  • albungy

    DPB is a wonderful concept and required when a marriage (or partnership) breaks up for whatever reason but there does need to be requirements, obligations, responsibilities. Everyone who has a “job” has an employment contract which includes all the above including taking of drugs, attendances etc so something similar needs to be developed for people on any benefit. Some think that it is great to go on adding to the “family” while on a benefit as you get so much more (e.g. higher up the housing list, more support from social agencies). Given that the govt pays for extra training courses for and there are hundreds of educational opportunities that cost nothing -keep trying to incentivize the people who really want to get off the benefit. if I don’t do my job well I would get a written warning then would be fired – why not the same for people whose children don’t get sent to school, mothers and fathers who are convicted of drug offences, All of these place the children at risk so stop letting the problems go on for generations more.