Wednesday, April 15, 2015


When he said that social welfare would destroy his people.     No-one can intelligently argue that there should not be a safety net for those in genuine need and that's not the point of this post .... what really worries me is the development of a hand-out culture and the refusal by some to acknowledge that those in receipt of taxpayer support incur obligations.

Yesterday I was invited to present a proposal to a group of senior and mid-level bureaucrats designed to support the children of vulnerable and transient families and facilitate their access to quality services.     The proposal had been developed by a working group comprising health professionals and those with expertise in the field of family support along with community representatives and had the endorsement of a senior professional responsible for the delivery of services to our most vulnerable.

All good ... not quite.    While it was agreed the proposal had merit and should be explored further (or was that the code-word for it to be shelved) there was an undercurrent of opinion from some of those present that for it to work it would need to be incentivised (whatever that means) in order for Maori to sign-up to it.   Give me strength .... what sort of incentives are required to have a parent/caregiver (never mind the ethnicity) sign-up to a raft of 'free' government services.  Have we come to the point where someone other than the family has to pick up the child and take him/her to the health professional/dentist/specialist etc in order for them to access those services.   Is parental responsibility a dirty word?

In all truth I went away from that meeting disheartened.   There has to be a paradigm shift in the way we manage those at most risk and if elements of the bureaucracy are so wedded to the concept of hand-out rather than hand-up then the reality is that nothing much will change.   A pig with lipstick on is still a pig and Apirana Ngata got it about right.

I'm sure Lindsay Mitchell will have a view on this.



gravedodger said...

Well said Vet, it remains a total mystery why so many decline to see the bleedin obvious as to what welfare is actually delivering to so many who deserve so much more from life and are taught to think "free" everything will redress imbalance.
Even accepting the clear electoral advantages the mystery remains as to how a caring educated society can be so ignorant to the destructive unintended consequences from the elimination of personal responsibility and pride.

Noel said...

Is this something downstream from the Vulnerable Children's Act of last year?

The Veteran said...

Noel ... no (and yes), this is something that has been worked on for the last four years and in order to take it to the next level we needed to get buy-in from across the various government departments that have an responsibility for 'picking up the pieces' if you will.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

I worked with a (mainly) volunteer organisation purportedly supporting that very principle: hand-up - not hand-out. However, there was one paid fulltime individual whose major impetus was ensuring the families had ALL of their entitlements, ongoing. To me the two approaches were in conflict and contributed to my leaving after a number of years. Like you I am appalled that parents need incentives to take proper care of their children (though I wouldn't mind some incentives to use long-term contraceptives or have a tubal ligation).

That there are people who respond only when incentivised (the viewpoint expressed at your meeting) only proves the point that the very production of said children was a response to incentives. Benefits.

Until that behaviour stops there will be children who aren't wanted or cared for, whose well-being is a constant source of concern for the communities around them. Chasing tail.

The Veteran said...

Thank you Lindsay for your comment.

Perhaps what we can take from this is that there are some who are quite happy to see the current 'state of play' continue (much like the grievance industry) as it keeps them in work ... sad.