It seems more welfare costs will be heaped on taxpayers but Sepuloni is stingy when asked for details

Social Welfare Minister Carmel Sepuloni was far from generous with details, when questioned in Parliament yesterday about her government’s policy intentions regarding solo parents and the burden they heap on taxpayers.

We are not much clearer – as a consequence – about what further changes are likely based on proposals from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group. Or how much more taxpayers will be expected to cough up to care for the children of welfare beneficiaries

But the suggestion that the government should do something to discourage solo-parent beneficiaries from bringing more children into the world was treated with disdain.

In response to a report from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group, the Government in May announced it will remove the benefit sanction which penalised solo mothers by up to $28 a week if they would not name their child’s father.

The amount that beneficiaries can earn through employment before their benefits were cut was increased at the same time. Continue reading “It seems more welfare costs will be heaped on taxpayers but Sepuloni is stingy when asked for details”

It helps to be targeted, when the govt sets out to improve the wellbeing of a few vulnerable citizens

The word “targeted” – when the Government brays about its spending decisions – can camouflage a great deal.

In the case of “targeted social support funding for 450 Manawatū-Whanganui whānau“, announced during the week, it camouflages the government’s emphasis on ethnic considerations. 

The statement was issued in the names of Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare, who said the expansion of an iwi, community and government initiative will improve the wellbeing “of 450 of our most vulnerable Manawatū-Whanganui families”.

But it appears that non-Maori – no matter how desperate their plight or how vulnerable they might be – aren’t too high on the list of the 450 selected to have their wellbeing improved.

This impression was strengthened when the Ministers said:
Continue reading “It helps to be targeted, when the govt sets out to improve the wellbeing of a few vulnerable citizens”

A Green dilemma – trying to square govt support for families with the degrading environmental consequences

With Green Party support, the Government will remove a disincentive to the population growth that experts reckon is the number one contributor to the degradation of the global environment.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced the removal of the disincentive among changes to the country’s welfare system (but just a few, for now) in response to the report from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group.

The government will remove the benefit sanction which penalised solo mothers who did not name their child’s father, the fellow who should be picking up the tab for raising the child – or his fair share of it – that resulted from a procreative romp in the hay.

Taxpayers – lucky us – will take over this responsibility. Continue reading “A Green dilemma – trying to square govt support for families with the degrading environmental consequences”

Great PR for a caring PM – but benefactor’s name has been buried in awards change

Back in the days when a government agency’s name clearly signalled what the public could expect from it, we had a Department of Child, Youth and Family Services which in 2005/06 proudly reported the first William Wallace Awards would be made to four young people during Foster Care Awareness Week in October 2006.

Fast forward to November 2018.  The agency has become Orangi Tamariki (Ministry of Children in small type underneath) but when nominations for the 2018 awards closed (15 – 20 awards were available this year) they were still called the William Wallace Awards.

Many young people in care have overcome significant barriers and gone on to achieve great things. These awards honour these outstanding young people, and provide help for them to pursue their dreams of tertiary, vocational or leadership training. 

Any young person in care – or who has recently come out of care – can win an award. And anyone can make a nomination

But hey.  We have a caring, nurturing Prime Minister and – shazam!

The William Wallace Awards are being renamed …

The Prime Minister’s Oranga Tamariki Awards.

Betcha that has given Jacinda a nice warm glow.

The benefactor whose estate has provided the awards over the past 12 years or so won’t be entirely forgotten. Two William Wallace Scholarships are being retained as part of the new awards. Continue reading “Great PR for a caring PM – but benefactor’s name has been buried in awards change”

Child-welfare question: can non-Maori really cope more comfortably with officials who remove their kids?

Radio New Zealand has been airing concerns about social services being “so complicated that Māori families are having their children uplifted because they don’t know their rights”.

The report taps into a gathering of about 70 Māori support workers and lawyers at a workshop in Hamilton to learn about the legal rights of families “who come to the attention of Oranga Tamariki”.

We suppose this refers to families who trigger state interventions in response to (a) reports officials have received about a family and (b) increasing social pressures to deal with child abuse.

Many of those at the workshop – professional people by the sound of it rather than families directly affected by these interventions – complained that the system is complicated, confusing and biased, and that it is contributing to the alarming rates of Māori children in state care. Continue reading “Child-welfare question: can non-Maori really cope more comfortably with officials who remove their kids?”

Dance lightly, Mr Seymour – and don’t tread on the Govt’s toes over power-bill relief

The team at Point of Order was reminded this morning we will have a bit more discretionary spending money over the winter months.

We owe this to the beneficence of a Government which – early in its term – decided taxpayers should pick up a bit of the tab for our winter power bills.

In a press statement today, Act leader David Seymour finds serious fault with this policy.

A well-heeled pensioner mate of ours, in contrast, says it will aid and abet him in buying his next Mercedes-Benz.
Continue reading “Dance lightly, Mr Seymour – and don’t tread on the Govt’s toes over power-bill relief”

Finance Minister boasts of favourable feedback – in the form of just one letter

The only thing missing was the mournful playing of violins, when Finance Minister Grant Robertson answered a question – the patsiest of patsies – from Labour backbencher Kiritapu Allan.

The question had the potential to keep Robertson on his feet for the rest of the Parliamentary session:  what feedback has the Government received on the Families Package?

Alas, all we can know for sure from Robertson’s reply is that the Government received one letter (or maybe it was an email). He said: Continue reading “Finance Minister boasts of favourable feedback – in the form of just one letter”