“…all we have created is a culture of dependence, entitlement, helplessness and irresponsibility”

Martin van Beynen hits the nail on the head:

The current weeping, wailing and gross over-simplification of the problems at the root of violence and dysfunction will not achieve anything.

Partly this is due to a couple of vital components missing from the discussion which mean most people switched off long ago.

The media cannot be knocked for highlighting societal problems and marchers might also help focus the minds of people in power.

But for things to change you need middle-class outrage and ordinary punters are no longer engaged.

They have heard it all before. “What do you want us to do?” is a common reaction.

We have tried everything and all we have created is a culture of dependence, entitlement, helplessness and irresponsibility.

Of course most of us know condemnation does not work but that initial reaction needs to be acknowledged.

All those people marching for Moko did nothing for Moko during the short time he was on earth. And he wouldn’t care about their marching and their tears for him, he’s dead.

Unlike most media commentators at least Martin van Beynen is prepared to offer up some solutions.

Very few people are averse to doing something about violence and homelessness. Most of us understand it’s no good being punitive and too judgmental about this inter-generational dysfunction which blights about a tenth of our society. There’s no point in taking people’s benefits away because the children suffer. There’s no point in sending people to jail because they come out worse.

These problems require a sort of clear-eyed and consistent kindness which engenders trust and rapport.

Such support takes special people and special agencies and they need to be around a long time. Their funding needs to be guaranteed and open-ended and may sometimes seem to be unaffordable.

It will require ordinary folks to fork out and they might be willing if just for once an important element, banned by the politically correct, is introduced into the discussion.

The element is called accountability. Not much of it exists at the level of the dysfunction we are talking about.

Accountability is suggesting that the people so in need of our help and support could have done a little bit more to help themselves.

It might mean, for example, just one interviewer asking a mother of eight children who has been kicked out of her Housing NZ house whether it was a good idea to let somebody manufacture methamphetamine in her kitchen or to have so many children.

It might mean throwing in the odd hint that society cannot protect everyone from the consequences of their behaviour.

It might mean some recognition that people are not entirely unjustified in being appalled, judgmental, skeptical and miffed at the continual tragedies and hardship that afflict the worst of NZ families and the usual no-hopers and wastoids.

We all understand our bluff will be called and we will stump up once again for the house or the bond or the addiction treatment or the needs of the new baby.

Should we do all this with a happy heart? Not necessarily. People who do a full day’s work and look after their kids in often less than ideal circumstances are entitled to feel a bit grumpy.

And just once they deserve to hear the publicly-funded John Campbell hint at a bit of individual responsibility or to ask a skeptical question of someone bleating away.

Because that is all we have in the end. We don’t have any choice but to try to relieve suffering and help out.

What ordinary punters need is just a little recognition that their sympathy and their contributions do not come entirely without a bit of criticism, exasperation and a kick in the pants.

Amen…finally someone says what needs to be said.

Duncan Garner should dry his eyes and read this…and then start doing precisely what is suggested.


– Fairfax



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  • Miguel

    Paul Henry did us proud in this regard this morning, calling out this mother of 10 (!!!) for being irresponsible by having such a large family when she’s not in a position to provide for them. Most sensible people are thinking it – it’s a relief to finally hear it said publically.

    • Judith Furlong

      Well overdue to be said!

  • Bob Dazzler

    Talking simply achieves nothing. Until our society is prepared to take the hard decisions and force their implementation, nothing will change.

  • jaundiced

    Family size is probably the biggest contribution to child poverty. Not just because of the cost of food, housing etc, but once you have 6, 8, 10 kids, (more often than not as a single mother), the ability to break out of the poverty trap is gone. Getting a low paid job will just make life even more difficult.
    So the ‘outrage’ at providing free contraceptive support to beneficiaries is totally misplaced.

    • JustTinkering

      And size of family seems to be a ‘no go’ area. I spoke recently with a Social Agency Manager about this and was told that any questions like size of family are regarded as an infringement on Civil Rights. My response was – what about the Civil Rights of all the children. Every new child reduces the rights of the existing children. Two more children while in welfare is not a right.

      • Sagacious Blonde

        Not increasing your benefit as a reward for breeding, would prove a reliable and effective contraceptive.

      • Raibert

        What about the rights of the taxpayers who are expected to pay for the chosen lifestyle of these thoughtless bludgers.

  • Positan

    The insane social welfare culture we’ve developed has long actively encouraged irresponsible breeding among those who by any other imaginable quotient couldn’t possibly otherwise afford it. That it’s now seen as an inalienable right by so many has resulted in the incredible travesty of WINZ having to employ security guards for staff protection.

    When is someone going to stand and admit that this country’s future depends on this totally failed nonsense being changed pretty damn quick.

    • Judith Furlong

      Absolutely agree!

    • Odd Ball

      Regarding the 2nd paragraph, people keep voting for Governments that support a welfare state.
      Idealogically, some people want 40% of the population to pay for the other 60%, therefore the 60% will always vote them back in.

    • TM

      absolutely agree – tougher than I would be but probably correct.

  • waldopepper

    i was 11 years old when they introduced the dpb. maybe i was an intelligent kid for my age, but we were watching the news that night and i said to my mother that “they have just turned children into currency”. and yes those were my exact words. not bad for 11 lol ! but other than patting myself on the back there for a moment, my point would be if i as an 11 year old kid could see that, why the hell couldnt the adults and politicians at the time.

  • TM

    Agreed – what a great summation. There used to be social responsibility and social judgement – if you went to WINZ for the dole they would tell you to come back later if there was any attitude/disrespect or you had ignored the jobs board. We are continually hearing that we should be more like Sweden – which is ludicrous for so many reasons but the main one being – they are united in the belief in work and social responsibility – we are not. Only thing I would add to this is – if we don’t deal with the issue of people having kids who aren’t fit to look after/pay for them – then we are never getting to the root cause.

  • R&BAvenger

    The latest pimping the poor story last night with 21 people living under one roof was another example of this “culture of dependence, entitlement, helplessness and irresponsibility” – particularly the latter.

    The woman from Kaitaia with 10 children another poster child of this mess. Naturally sympathy was in poor supply. She had already been staying in motels at the taxpayer’s expense then decided to head to Auckland for family reasons.

    Dumb, dumber and dumbest.

  • shykiwibloke

    Socialism is a failed ideology. This has been proven time and time again, yet the fanatics still cling to the mast as the ship sinks. We need to do something significant and serious before the rot collapses the whole structure. Look at Venezuela. Look at Sweden. Look at Greece. And sadly there are many more examples.

    • contractor

      And of course all the former Soviet states. The much heralded by the left Scandanavian socialist countries have run up against financial challenges, but what saves them is strong business, education and yep oil (Norway).

      • shykiwibloke

        Oil is not saving Venezuela and Sweden are being overrun by immigrants.

  • MrsAverage

    It seems to me that what he’s outlining is basic responsible parenting. Your child makes a poor decision, you step in and help them out; but there are consequences, they have to help fix what they’ve done (build up trust again/make an apology/pay for or work off the damage), and then take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Maybe the powers-that-be could think about this effective model.

    • KatB

      You’re right, it’s called good parenting and if a parent is soft and requires nothing of their kids and always lets their kids off and always bails them out, we call them bad parents or lazy parents. All we’re doing with this current welfare system is being bad lazy parents and we are truly letting down those we are supposedly helping.

    • Raibert

      Was never going to happen under Auntie Helen’s government as she never understood the basic principles of social responsibility. We are now suffering from having a public service and large portion of the public who know no better and keep espousing the failed social experiment.
      One possible end point of this is all children being wards of the state, to be educated and indoctrinated to the latest fads of politicians. This will come about because parents are increasingly being portrayed as not capable of bringing up children in a way that fits the states wishes. Hitler and Stalin would love this.

      • MrsAverage

        That’s a pretty big leap from actions -> consequences to all children being wards of the state?

  • andrewo

    In the end no amount of state intervention will work other than to intervene so as to prevent sperm meeting ovum.
    National is just tinkering around the edges: It needs to bite the bullet and propose some rule changes so as to create a disincentive for producing welfare babies. As a taxpayer I wouldn’t mind them offering a welfare bonus to ‘at risk’ women for accepting long term contraception. Of course it needs thinking through in detail, but that’s the gist of it.

    • Rebecca

      Rather than offering a measly $5000 to move out of Auckland, maybe Paula Bennet could stump up $10000 to move to a gated community near Picton run by lesbians with no men allowed.

      • Joe Burns

        What has Picton done to deserve that?

      • Mark

        Can’t we just wait a while & ship them off to the UN?

        • Joe Burns

          How about Auckland Island.?

    • TM

      Agree. I have a simple plan that is a solution for some – $10,000 for a reversible sterilization. This can be spent on anything they like, and can be reversed if they can prove to be a fit parent in a stable relationship, with the means to afford another child, and they can pay back the $10,000. We are actually only talking about the worst of the worst here – not the dumb or lazy. Also compulsory to name the father on the birth certificate – and if cant remember or too many, DNA sample taken and kept on file. If we also start collected and recording DNA sample of every birth then quick check after 15 years or so of being in operation, will find the Dad in minutes.

      • Raibert

        Like your thinking, really should be compulsory to name fathers. And then to seek recompense from them. If the fathers continue to procreate, wether with same woman or others action against them must be mandatory.

      • contractor

        Good idea indeed but you can imagine the pc wailing in horror of such “extreme right” measures!

  • JustanObserver

    It isn’t my responsibility to pay to raise someone else’s children, or to house their family, or to put food on their table … let alone Sky TV, Mobile Phones, Internet, Drugs, Alcohol, Smokes, Holidays.
    No, I am happy to help people ‘short-term’ out of a tight spot, but that is all.
    If people are able to survive on ‘free money’ , why would they ever choose to work and have self-respect, when all we have done is teach them to complain louder and ‘win’.

  • Miss Phit

    Lol i read the title and instantly thought it was an article about labour and the msm.

    The problem is that middle nz dont approve of the lifestyles or cost of these margins of nz society but we pay because its a backstop should we need it.

    Perhaps some strong minded politicians will one day limit the hand outs and housing. Maybe 5-10 years dpb but only forvthe kids they have at the start (no more breeding for cash), 5 years umemployment benny and one state house for 5-10 years. But all these with the caveat that if they mess up the house with meth they are out, if they mess up their kids they lose them and any crimes mean you lose it all.

    • TM

      I like the thinking but we do have to intervene and try to change behavior rather than just threaten as the simple fact always remains: We still have to provide a house and all other health and education etc for everyone – so regardless of how much people break the rules – they can still turn up to WINZ and demand – as the responsibility remains with the state.

      • JustanObserver

        “as the responsibility remains with the state”
        Why ?
        If I choose to spend this month’s mortgage payments on a holiday, will the “State” come to my assistance because it is their responsibility?

        • TM

          Yes they will because it is the law – if you lose your house they have to house you or pay rent etc.. You are missing the point – as much as you may not like the system – it is law and policy – has to be followed until we change the law and then the policy.

      • Whitey

        The only way we can change behaviour is to change the system, so that unacceptable behaviour leads to consequences. Our current system makes sure that no matter what terrible decisions these people make, the system will always bail them out with generous handouts provided by hard working taxpayers. Because there are no consequences there’s no incentive for these people to make better decisions. If we change the system so that, for example, there is no extra money for extra kids born while the mother is on the benefit, there will be very few mothers giving birth while on a benefit.

      • Raibert

        No! The responsibility is with the individual not the state. It is this thinking that has created the current situation. I did not ever agree to paying indefinitely for anyone else’s lifestyle. Quite happy to support my family however I can, but this is done by working not relying on others.

  • Bob Dazzler

    Yep, it does not require brains to breed.

  • Sailor Sam

    But for all the gnashing of teeth, it is the “leaders” of that part of NZ society where these murders occur on a regular basis that need to step up en masse.
    Until that happens, they are condemning more of their own children to death.
    I won’t name them but we all know who these so-called “leaders” are.
    And although they occupy positions of power, they certainly are not leaders.
    And Martin van Beynen is right, middle NZ is fed up and dismisses the weak kneed reaction from the usual suspects as just that, weak kneed.
    That is why a little party will never connect with us middle NZers.

  • Sagacious Blonde

    Norm Kirk would be appalled at the lifestyle choice that the DPB has become. I’m sure the architects of the legislation did not envisage the breakdown of families and abdication of social responsibility generated. Ironic, because it came about in the same era that reliable contraception became readily available.

    • KatB

      My dad talks of a street in our home town. He remembers it when it was newly established. A street of brand new state houses, he says it was like a picture. And the new occupants continued to keep it that way as they knew what it was like to really have nothing. The street is now anything but a picture. Sadly some of the people on welfare these days are a far cry to the sort Norman Kirk thought he was helping. Good intentions have really gone astray.

  • Brian Dingwall

    Positive suggestion: Create a significant prize, say $10M, for someone who can create and implement a workable system whereby we socialise the modest basic living costs of those incapable of being sustainably independent, without there being any incentive for others to join the party……the enduring problem with welfarism is that the moral hazard encourages lots of new recruits to the benefits…..

    Creating a system that pays for those that truly need help, discourages new recruits, and cannot be gamed is beyond my pay grade, but it is necessary….

    • Uncle Bully

      I think National are starting to do that now by making beneficiaries and wannabe bludgers jump thru lots of hoops, fill in lots of forms, and wait in long queues to get their hands on our money.

      The lefties are wailing and gnashing their teeth about it, but in reality, if they want money from the taxpayer, they need to make some sacrifice or other. And it’s not like they’ve got much else to do with their day, so make it as hard and painful as possible I say.

  • Catriona

    The feral underclass is alive and kicking. As a middle NZer, I’ve had a gutsful of these foul excuses for human beings. New policies need to be created to stop the carte blanche, run amok breeding by the ferals as it’s easier than self responsibility and having to get their sorry arses out of the flea pit they call a bed and go to work! They’re taking over NZ!

  • sandalwood789

    The left (with its “social engineering”) is responsible for most (if not all) of the mess. They’re the ones who brought in the “there are no winners or losers” approach to schools. Now we see the result of their foolishness.

  • albungy

    Once again we are being made to feel guilty for others bad decision making. How about we spend the money on sending the children to good boarding schools, the useless parents wouldn’t need to be supported they could get on with life and have to support themselves and the children would have a chance to be educated, clothed and fed and have a chance to see what they could achieve. Or do we prefer to leave innocent children to be brought up by people that can’t run their own lives.