Why did Tolley talk about contraception?

The Q & A interview with Anne Tolley yesterday set off a lot of discussion about contraception and sterilisation in relation to at risk children.

Tolley and National have been accused of many things including deliberate diversion (from the TPPA or whatever) and promoting ‘eugenics, again.

Anthony Robins at The Standard:

Are we still “not quite” at the stage of compulsion, or are the Nats going to cross that line? It’s obvious from their record that they have a thoroughly unhealthy obsession with the idea. John Key “thinks” (despite all the evidence to the contrary) that parents on the DPB are “breeding for a business”. That kind of sick and stupid attitude can never be allowed to control reproductive rights.

Paul at The Standard:

The National Party have set up a predictable diversion to knock the TPP off the headlines just as Groser is being taken to court to release the text.

Danyl McLauchlan at Dim-Post:

Clickbait government

This government would never actually carry out the daunting legal and policy work required to implement mandatory contraception for beneficiaries, but they sure do like floating the idea whenever there’s a dip in the polls, to outraged cries from liberal pundits and roars of approval from the talkback radio moronocracy. This is the third or fourth time the Nats have said we ‘have to have this conversation’ about beneficiaries and eugenics.

Threatening to force women to be sterilised is far better for the Minister’s media monitoring statistics than the actual pedestrian work of delivering the option of contraception to women who might desperately need it. As always with these buffoons, generating headlines is the core role of government.

So why did Tolley “float the idea”? Actually she didn’t. She was asked about it seven minutes forty seconds into a ten minute interview. She responded to it, she didn’t float it.

Michael Parkins at 7:40 : You talk about early intervention a lot here, isn’t obviously the most early form of intervention stopping some people from having children, or having more children?

Anne Tolley: Well that’s very difficult for the State to do. I  certainly think we should be providing more family planning, more contraceptive advice to some of the families that we know are, I mean I know of cases that CYF have taken a sixth and seventh baby from.

The question I’ve asked is so what advice is now going in to that parent?

Parkins: So how could you stop them from baby three and four, because you know they’re going to fail at it?

Tolley: Yes, yes that’s exactly right.

Parkins: If you were really tough about these things that’s what you’d do though isn’t it?

Tolley: Well we’ll wait and see what the recommendations are. That’s a conversation that New Zealanders perhaps need to have.

Parkin: Could that be the result of this?

Tolley: Well that’s a big step when the State starts telling people, you know, deciding if you can have another child and you can’t. I mean that’s a huge step for the State to take.

Parkin: But you’re not ruling that out being part of this next report that comes.

Tolley: Well I’ll wait and see what the panel report. I expect that they will be saying that we should get much faster contraceptive advice in, we should be offering you know tubal ligations, all sorts of things. Um and counselling those families.

Full interview: Overhauling our child care services (10:03)

That was brought up and pushed by Parking with I think very moderate responses from Tolley.

A Green Dunedin City councillor tweeted:

Hey , I thought over the weekend we went forward an hour, not back in time?

That was favourited by Green co-leader Metiria Turei. She’s over in the US at the moment so can be partly excused for perhaps not knowing the full context, but Hawkins doesn’t have that excuse.

This is either ignorance of how the topic came up and how it ran through the interview, a cheap shot, or deliberate dirty politics.

Leave a comment


  1. Kevin

     /  28th September 2015

    In other words it was media beat-up and The Standard bought it hook line and sinker because it fitted their narrative. If it had been done to Andrew Little they would be crying how bad the media is.

  2. Anne Tolley gave a very controlled and level-headed response to what was an obviously inflammatory question. The answer is obvious to most thoughtful people but Tolley was careful not to throw petrol on the embers.

    People having children they can’t afford cannot possibly be a personal right.

  3. Mike C

     /  28th September 2015

    I don’t understand how any parent would ever want to bring a baby into a home where the child could be bashed or killed.

    There is a long-term entrenched view held by many beneficiaries … that I am not happy to accept.

    • jamie

       /  29th September 2015

      People in bad situations often make bad decisions. Not saying it’s ok, but it is understandable.

      • Yeah but I think it’s likely that many babies born into high risk situations are not the result of a decision to have a baby, they are the result of a decision to have sex without adequate contraception. Or no decision and not thinking at all.

      • Here’s a part of the problem: Families with children in state care least likely to get contraceptive advice

        Dysfunctional families who have multiple children taken into state care are the least likely to receive contraceptive advice, says the chief executive of the country’s social workers association.

        She said it was “absolutely” the case that families with the most children in state care would be “least likely” to receive contraceptive advice.

        • jamie

           /  29th September 2015

          Least likely to receive it, and also least likely to be receptive to it, for all sorts of reasons – family background, education levels, culture etc.

          • kittycatkin

             /  29th September 2015

            As many people can have it free of charge, I can’t see how they can claim that it’s not available to them. But as long as WINZ will increase their income for each child, the incentive to not have another one isn’t very great.

            It’s more by good luck than good management that more of us haven’t ended up ‘in trouble’ as it used to be called. But after the first one, it should be obvious what’s causing it. I’d guess that all Hell would break loose if NZ said that no extra money would be forthcoming after the first one.

            • jamie

               /  29th September 2015

              Who said it’s not available?

            • jaspa

               /  30th September 2015

              Yes, I can accept one accidental pregnancy in a person’s lifetime, perhaps even two, but beyond that … you can’t have 8 accidents.

              It must be bloody hard trying to raise 6 or 8 (or more) kids on a benefit – if I woke up and found myself in that situation I don’t think I’d ever want to have sex again! I’m surprised their everyday struggles don’t serve as more of a reminder to at least use some contraception.

  4. traveller

     /  29th September 2015

    I listened to the dreadful Wendyl Nissen on the panel last night. The churn my green goodies out to the masses was just back from Iceland (aren’t they a wonderful socialist paradise!) and was telling her audience she wanted to bring refugees into her home and who were the government to tell women what to do with their bodies – sex was for fun!

    “We’ve lost our way NZ” she roared like a mouse !! I was driving with a leftie friend who frustratingly said that Wendyl “just didn’t get it”. “This isn’t about the bleep women it was about their children”.

    This is what Tolley and National need to focus on. 83% of prisoners are CYF’s kids. The illiteracy of said prisoners is not far off that number.

    I think that financial incentivising/disincentivising is the only thing that can work in the short term. It’s the plain and simple language understood by everybody.

    Intergenerational dependence, poverty and illiteracy are endemic in certain demographics and the main contributor to the entire, horrible mess that is, is teen parenthood. Address that and you’re half way there!

    • Mike C

       /  29th September 2015


      “83% of prisoners are CYFS kids”

      That is horrifying !!!

      It seems extraordinarily high.

      • I’ve seen something like that quoted.

        CYFs kids figure highly in early droppout of school and low qualifications and low employment as well.

        And it figures to an extent from that and I’ve heard it elsewhere – somewhere around 80% of people in prison have major literacy issues ie they can’t read or write well or at all.

        It’s a major and wide ranging problem.

      • Traveller

         /  29th September 2015

        That was the number quoted on the Panel at Nat Radio

  1. Sensible reaction from Little on Tolley/contraception | Your NZ

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