Big Family Beneficiary Bashing

Page 5 of nz herald, july 14th, 2012 had a badly worded article.

This article had a leading headline on front page saying "$2000 a week for 10-plus kids", but never really substantiated that. They indicated several parents recieved $1000-$1200 per week for around 10 kids, and broke that down in one case as $293 benefit, plus $225 accommodationn supplement and family tax credit of $600+. but later it claims with "accommodation supplements and special needs grants... Would have some families above $2000 per week". It appears that they are counting the $225 twice, or suggesting beneficiaries could receive special grants of $900 a week on a regular basis... Thats a huge claim, and should provide clearer facts to substantiate.

The families in the story are not much better. They say that "she is forced to buy groceries from the mobile food trucks that roam poor neighbourhoods. " Seriously? Did the journalist think to ask them how far the nearest dairy was? Or could one of the oldest kids bike to the nearest 4square or supermarket?

Also, her debts of $45000, what responsibilty of the state is it to pay those? People do need to take a little bit of self responsibilty. I'm not saying she cant have 10 kids, nor would i expect her to get a job, 10 kids would be busy enough, but inam saying she can take some responsibility for spending her money wisely. I'm sure her local dairy would sell 2l milk under $7.95. With a family of 10, she probably needs 2l per day, so avwalk to the dairy would save her $20 a week, and a trip to supermarket would save $40 for milk alone. No one is forced to buy from mobile trucks, they are just beig lazy. I'm not bashing beneficiries by saying this, i am sure there a heaps of frugal beneficiaries who would agree this one badly chosen example in the paper is just lazy.

On the topic of debt, the goverment could do more to regulate the industry, and decrease the power of loan sharks. The government also has the option of helping a beneficiary go bankrupt, which would seem reasonable. Loan sharks would think twice about lending if they knew getting paid back by a beneficiary was unlikely... Voluntary bankruptcy seems to me something good the government could do, rather than a percentage of benefits feeding through to loan sharks.

Last of all the paper claims that beneficiary parents have no reason to find work as they wont beat the benefit. Of course this might be true if you compare an individual on $28000 median wage, but a parent of 10 kids earning $28000 a year, would still receive close to $600 in family tax credits and $225 accommodation supplement. 

There is no mention in the article that suggests that once a child is born into the world they deserve the same chances through health and education as any other child. And that should include enough money for a child to eat some porridge in the morning, no matter how many siblings they have and no matter what we think of the parents.

And what about the fathers? Each father would be contributing at least 18% of their pretax income, or a minimum of $25 deducted from their benefits. These transfer payments offset the costs to the state.

That was a shocking piece of journalism by nzherald.

Posted: Sunday 15 July 2012


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