Intriguing plan to deliver better outcomes for kids who are off the rails

I don’t think any of this will be earth-shatteringly new, but it’s interesting to have some numbers put against it.


The National Urban Maori Authority (AUMA) conducted the research and chief executive, Lance Norman, told The Nation programme the cost of failing a struggling child was $145,000 per year.

This compares to $28,000 per child each year in up-front investments that Mr Norman says, if put into the right programmes, could stop children going off the rails.

The AUMA processed data from the Ministry of Justice and says savings could potentially be as high as $50 million a year.

The AUMA is proposing a social bond which is where investors make a profit from the Government if a social service agency meets certain targets. This means the Government pays for outcomes rather than just providing services.

Sounds too good to be true.  Maori wanting to be paid on results?    

The AUMA social bond is designed to combat truancy, which Mr Norman says is linked to incarceration. At least 90 percent of prisoners have a significant history of truancy.

“There’s international and New Zealand evidence that says if you’re a truant, you’re more likely to have a negative pathway in terms of employment and potentially incarceration,” says Mr Norman.

“Not everybody, but there’s a high likelihood you’ll end up in prison.”

He says the returns investors receive on government social bonds needs to be at least 15 percent to be viable, and calls for “a robust conversation” on profit-sharing.

“This could be, potentially, a $50 million saving to the Government. Now as I say, I’m not for profit, but I’m not for loss, so how do we share those savings across the people that have actually done the work?”

Mr Norman says people who argue social bonds put a price tag on children’s heads don’t realise that already happens.

Privatisation of social services.  Allowing people to make a profit providing social outcomes. I’m going to have to buy some extra ear plugs as the collective outrage from the left will be deafening.

It is good to see a sector of society that normally just asks for more money come up with a plan where they want the money up front to save lives, rather than see it all go into the services that pay for all the ambulances at the bottom of the cliff.


– Newshub



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  • Keyser Soze

    On the flip side, I know first hand there are some savages who have no inclination or desire to contribute to society. So it’s nice to know that on those numbers, 100k per year to keep them in prison means a net 45K gain. Dudges take note.

  • Sailor Sam

    Wanting to keep people out of jail – that would not suit the narrative of a little party would it? Fewer people dying in Serco run jails, fewer incarcerated whanau for Kelvin to cuddle up to.
    Just will not do even Jacinda and the media party will be upset as there wil be fewer poor people to pimp.

  • taxpayer

    Good to see.
    Yes of course the left will howl with outrage, anything and everything should be controlled by Govt, a left leaning Govt that is.
    Yet anyone with half a brain is well aware that any service or department run by Govt is absolutely useless, full of troughers on the make, looking to spend taxpayers cash on expensive adverts, reports, reports on reports, assistants for their assistants assistant, bureaucratic red tape and managed by managers who couldn’t manage a cake stall in the real world.
    Bring on privatisation of social services and accountability.

  • KGB

    L Harre suggests the $28k should be given to the families to ‘help themselves.’ (sigh)
    I am not sure what I think about this whole thing yet. It smells like throwing money at a problem in a different package and hoping for a better result.
    My negativity, or reluctance is probably a fundamental belief in stopping the continued breeding of more problems.

    • GT

      I also saw Harre’s response nearly ended up coughing up breaky. Give 28k to these lot the only positive outcome will be an increase in P and booze sales

      • Intrigued

        Agreed! I’d bet that roughly 90 odd% of the children who go into foster care, grandparent or other whanau care these days do because of their parent’s P and substance abuse problems. P is the single biggest scourge to hit our society in so many ways and we will be counting the cost of its impact on the offspring of addicts, our education stats, our crime and prison rates, benefit costs and our economy due to its impact on our housing stock for at least the lifetime of ours and the next generation if it’s use isn’t stopped and/or significantly curtailed fast.
        It doesn’t matter how much money is thrown at families with children suffering if P is a factor and it isn’t decisively eradicated from their sphere of influence.

  • andrewo

    The children that finish up in jail were destined largely by their birth circumstances: Absentee father and a DPB mum.
    Therefore the best policy is one that actively discourages women in this situation from having children.

    • sandalwood789

      Agreed. Tough disincentives to discourage welfare parents from having children are needed. They simply won’t learn in any other way that having more children will make their situation worse.

      • For as long as we continue to pay them to breed they will.
        I don’t have much of a problem supporting a young woman that has made a mistake but I resent greatly giving her pay increases and performance bonuses to continue making them.

        • sandalwood789

          The government is effectively acting as a parent/guardian for those on welfare.
          A good parent sets guidelines and rules for their children and if those guidelines are breached (having more children in this case) then there are consequences.
          It really is that simple – discouraging people from making their already-bad situation worse.

    • Andy

      Also the health among those kids is not as good. Kutus in hair, dermatitis conditions etc are more prevalent there.

  • pirate vs ninja

    Yep, forcing kids to attend mainstream high schools which already demonstrate high failure rates for Maori & Pasifika students is sure to fix all of society’s problems.
    Alternatively, $28k per year would allow one social worker with a caseload of only 3-4 kids to provide complete wrap-around social services on a daily basis, individually tailored to meet the unique challenges that each of these kids face.
    It’s obvious that the current one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t work, yet it appears there is plenty of money in the system to develop tailored mentoring and care for each failing child in our society.

    • Dave

      But, extra social services is like another ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, we are only patching an existing problem, one where the youth have formed bad and addictive behavioural habits. I maintain its far better to address these issues earlier, stop the breeding and if bred, monitor the parenting even taking the child. As a society we spend billions supporting damaged children from parents who don’t care or don’t know how to care.

  • MarcWills

    Isn’t this sort of policy a part of the recently announced MSD policy on CYPS? Allowing private partnerships, spending money to achieve goals such as health outcomes, making the individual the focus of the welfare. This is all covered in the discussion papers that Anne Tolley released about a month ago. I believe it went down like a cup of sick with the Greens and Labour. That is, if Turei’s and Adern’s reactions are to be counted.

  • Tom

    So how would they work out if the objectives have been achieved? Would they assume all truants were going to end in jail. How would they show the numbers who would have. Its a bit like my anti elephant charm, as long as I wear it we wont see wild elephants in NZ, Want to buy one?

  • Korau

    Are they proposing a military style Charter School? Thought we had that. Or maybe Charter Schools mark II

    Or do we give them money to the Iwi to blow on the pokies?

    If we give money as suggested them we should expect the Iwi (or whoever) to refund for their failures as well. An ironclad contract with real teeth.

  • Wheninrome

    Love the bond idea, perhaps treaty settlements could be wisely invested in this way, he is talking about 15% return for anyone to be interested.
    Alternatively the profit sharing idea, Iwi provide the raw material, the rest of us provide the money, not so keen on that idea.
    PS it could be a gravy train, all children could be potential failures under this idea, WFF by another name.

  • sandalwood789

    I *love* the idea of “social impact bonds”.

    Quote – “U.S. think tanks across the political spectrum, ranging from the Center For American Progress on the left to the American Enterprise Institute, have supported SIBs. Similarly, Harvard economist Larry Summers and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman have both supported SIBs and have invested their own capital in them. Major financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America. Merrill Lynch have also begun funding Social Impact Bonds.”

  • Mick Ie

    Any children that will benefit from an idea such as this probably haven’t even been born yet or at the least are very young.
    For years, NZ has had a pay-out system that has silently supported generations of families in doing nothing with their lives, other than breeding like-minded offspring.
    For many this has become a lifestyle of choice.
    Therefor, this will not change the mentality of the historic families that are on welfare and have no inclination to think beyond their next benefit payment.
    Agencies will have to target the unborn and very young kids now, in an attempt to change an instilled, bludging mindset that is up to half a century old.
    For these children, one of the biggest hurdles in their lives will be trying to achieve for themselves, despite the disinterest and lack of support from their families.
    Without positive reinforcement from this sector, they will be continually fighting a losing battle and it will be irrelevant how much money is invested in them.
    I support what is being suggested, but it will not be an immediate fix. Improvements will not be seen for at least another 2 – 3 generations.

  • Chris Bell

    State sponsored sterilisation – the only way – or maybe i’m 200 years ahead of the times – we will live to rue the day

  • XCIA

    If as we are told our DNA foretells our path down life’s highways, why not simply switch the mongrel gene off at birth?

  • Beeman

    If the youth had a purpose in life and training to a possible trade, the best way would be through the armed forces. 6 month boot camp to learn a bit of discipline and responsibility, 6 months trade training and then community service. Must be a lot cheaper in the long run and keep them away from the gangs!

  • Andy

    They have had to fight for their existences.