The amount of venom the DPB attracts is amazing and very cruel. Certainly there will be women who abuse it but others need it. Almost as amazing is Paula Bennett’s selective and blunderbuss approach to warning off beneficiaries from having a second child on the benefit. And equally amazing is the jibing at those who question the appropriateness of Social Welfare’s involvement.
First let it be noted that Paula the Courageous and Splendid Example for Young Women did not propose that advice about abortion be given in Social Welfare offices. Why not?
Men were put in the too hard basket. At this stage anyway. Really? If it is too hard for a courageous Minister of the Crown to deal with men through Social Welfare then might it not be undesirable for women, young and old, to deal with men face to face at home. Some cultures are still male supremacist and not supportive of either abortion or contraception. Which, I guess is why Paula and Family Planning are keen on injections that last for three years and out of sight. Maybe I’m too kind, maybe they want to impose their values on others. I didn’t have daughters but I’m not sure I would have wanted them on a longterm contraceptive in their teenage years. I’m not how sure free and informed choice fits into this scenario.
Our very high youth unemployment and unemployment generally is dangerous and cruel. Many young women and men take note of the difficulties the better skilled may encounter finding work. They want a future that is not drug or booze addled. They want to settle down and have families early. Putting them off till you have had a right royal time travelling and partying seems to have produced a lot of moaning middle class mums who seem surprised that having children usually means less income and more sacrifice. These mums don’t mind asking the taxpayer to fund IVF courses, longer paid parental leave, free child care and the like. As well as subsidise their earlier extended education, living allowances. Neither should they. Giving women more resources is usually a good social investment.
But berating the young who want to work and start their families earlier and have some expectation that we will have economic and social policies to make this choice possible seems totally unfair. I grew up in a rural area and often find myself weeping when I pass through a village and bigger town not too far away from mine and see the rundown homes and hopelessness on the streets. We have the arrogant and ignorant architects of the free market to thank for this social devastation.