Just more money isn’t enough

Judith Collins has stirred up a storm with her parental responsibility comments.

“It’s not that, it’s people who don’t look after their children, that’s the problem.

“And they can’t look after their children in many cases because they don’t know how to look after their children or even think they should look after their children.”

Monetary poverty was not the only problem, she said.

“I see a poverty of ideas, a poverty of parental responsibility, a poverty of love, a poverty of caring.”

As the MP for Papakura, she saw a lot of those problems in south Auckland, she said.

“And I can tell you it is not just a lack of money, it is primarily a lack of responsibility.

“I know that is not PC, but, you know, that’s me.”

– RNZ

There has been an uproar, including stupid misrepresentations like this at the Standard:

I see a poverty of ideas and a poverty of Government responsibility

Judith Collins yesterday said that child poverty is the fault of parents and not the fault of her Government.

That is quite clearly different to what Collins said. It is either a sloppy misunderstanding, or a deliberate misrepresentation.

While what she said was provocative and de-emphasised too much a lack of money as a problem for many people – money is a major problem for many good parents – what she said will be agreed with by many people.

The thing is that simply ensuring that poor people have more money on it’s own is not enough.

Many parents would use more money responsibly and for the benefit of their children, so more money is all that they need.

But there is a significant number of parents who smoke too much, drink too much, take drugs and all this is to the detriment of their finances and their children. Some simply don’t care about the well being of their children.

So simply giving some parents more money is going to do little or nothing for their their children.

Child ‘poverty’ is a complex issue and socialist style no questions asked equal income/equal housing/equal opportunities is not a practical nor workable solution.

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23 Comments

  1. Kevin

     /  13th October 2016

    Collins is right. But what’s the solution? You can have targeting to try and ensure the money is spent on the kids and spent responsibly but that creates a costly bureaucracy. Another option is giving the government more power to take kids away but that has it’s own set of very obvious problems.

    Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  13th October 2016

      “what’s the solution”

      There is no problem if kids are not born into poverty. The solution is to stop these deadbeats breeding. Given we are not subject to Chinese rules yet, the only way to do this is to make the benefit subject to a 3 monthly contraceptive injection. We are no longer going to reward you for breeding. Can’t feed em, don’t breed em

      Reply
  2. artcroft

     /  13th October 2016

    I agree with JC. Some people do have a poverty of spirit, ideas and energy. Just giving these parents more cash is simply pouring money into a the famous money hole.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  13th October 2016

      It’s a tangent, but I was listening to and joining in a conversation on the bus (our buses tend to be like that) and the driver had just bought a 2nd hand car….for which she was going to pay double, because she had borrowed the money (I didn’t make any comments about that, of course) She seemed to take it for granted that having something meant doing that. It was quite a small amount, and on her pay she should have been able to buy it outright or pay it off much faster.

      She’s a smoker. It was none of my buisiness and I said nothing, but if the amount that she was paying off was supplemented by the cost of even one pack of cigarettes….

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  13th October 2016

        If she is an average smoker, one pack a day, she’s smoking $160 a week. She could buy her car in 5 weeks, if I remember the price right-$8000. As it is, she’s spending $16,000 on an $8000 car. Parents who smoke could easily be spending $320 a week. That’s a lot of groceries.

        I was staggered to see this cost-it’s even more than I thought.

        Reply
      • Klik Bate

         /  13th October 2016

        Your post sort of reminds me of that famous old poem Kitty, of which I’m sure you’re well aware XD

        ‘First she bought an old car, and I did not speak out –
        Because I was not a driver

        Then I heard she borrowed money, and I did not speak out –
        Because I was not a borrower.

        Then she said she was a smoker, and I did not speak out –
        Because I was not a smoker

        Then I got off the bus in the pouring bloody rain and walked the rest of the way home in the cold, because for some unknown reason, there was no else one who could be bothered picking me up’.

        (with apologies to Martin Niemoller)

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  13th October 2016

          She is still spending that amount-at least-I never see her off the bus without a cigarette. I left a 0 off the number of weeks.

          You are totally missing the point, whether or not deliberately, only you know, Your rewriting of the Nielmoller (which isn’t a poem) makes no sense.Apologies are needed for making his work into utter nonsense. Of course I am not going to tell someone what to do with their money, it’s none of my damned business. Why would that stop someone who doesn’t even know this woman offering me a ride ? .There is no connection between the two things. I mind my own damned business. That means that people don’t offer me a ride….why ?

          Would you tell someone whom you only know slightly not to smoke, borrow money or buy an old car ? This is not a friend but an acquaintance. I would take a dim view of unsolicited advice from her about how to spend my income. Everyone, probably, resents this. If she was a friend, I might be able to say that I wish, for her sake, that she didn’t smoke…but never, never would I tell someone who hadn’t asked, how to spend their money. It’s unwarranted interference. I was very angry when someone did this to me last night. What business is it of theirs ? I don’t tell them how to use their money.

          I am not being judgemental at all, but it seems all wrong that two people on good wages (she has a partner) should be borrowing such a relatively small amount-and seeming to think that this is normal. The amount of money that is going into the house (and I calculated it at the lowest end of a busdriver’s pay, which is unlikely to be what they are earning) should mean that this should not be necessary. It could well not have been as much as $8000. I have a feeling now that I have remembered this wrong and it was much less…but the point is the same. These people may never be out of debt.

          The shocking thing to me was the casual acceptance that she would, in fact, be paying double what the car was worth when this was unnecessary. But I can’t see what anyone can do about it.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  13th October 2016

            What would someone being a driver or not have to do with someone else buying an old car ?

            Would you tell an acquaintance that they should not have bought a particular car ?

            Would you tell an acquaintance that they shouldn’t have borrowed money ?

            Would you expect them not to tell you to get stuffed if you did ?

            Reply
  3. Kevin

     /  13th October 2016

    I think the answer is at the school level. We can’t do anything about the parents but let’s at least give the kids a chance by doing things like cafeterias in schools and teaching kids healthy eating habits.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  13th October 2016

      Who would pay for these ? Where would the money come from ? What else would have to wait indefinitely ?

      They are taught this-schools teach cooking, and much more exciting things that we did in cooking classes (although I did learn how to cut a tomato into a pretty shape and that one should never put a hot pan onto a cold stainless steel bench) Schools have vege gardens.

      Reply
  4. Unfortunately Kevin, my guess is that we would then end up with well fed children without a moral sense of direction, self discipline, and lacking the will to succeed, because they will believe others will always be there to pick up the pieces, like those paying for the school cafeteria. Life lesson not learned. Too much support is being given to individual rights and wants and not enough for community obligations. If you breed, nature demands you protect and nurture your children. They are your responsibility until they are adults, and even then nature retains the ties that bind family/whanau.

    Reply
    • Kevin

       /  13th October 2016

      I’ve heard that argument before and it does have merit. But it must be remembered that the kids are the innocents in all this. Sure, you’re going to get kids growing up with a sense of entitlement but if only a small minority are able to break cycle then to me it’s worth it. No kid should go without proper nutrition because their feral parents spent the grocery money on booze and ciggies. And if the parents aren’t giving their kids a moral sense of direction, self discipline, and will to succeed then then it should come from the school.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  13th October 2016

        I would guess that these children already have a sense of entitlement, and the selfish parents already know that mugs won’t let their children starve to death.

        Do you really think that schools AREN’T trying to teach these things ? How many classrooms have lists pinned up saying what is and is not acceptable behaviour ?

        How many schools have no school rules ? At this school, swearing, bullying, theft and wagging are all right.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  13th October 2016

          Why not just give the parents cigarettes and let them feed their children ? It would be easier to do, just buy cartons of smokes and give them out.

          Reply
          • patupaiarehe

             /  13th October 2016

            The problem is Kitty, that due to the high value of a carton of smokes, all the poor non-smokers would pretend to smoke, and sell them for some extra cash 😀

            Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  13th October 2016

          I recall a head teacher saying that his school only had one rule: no playing on the roof. But the kids kept getting up there so they abolished that rule and the kids stopped bothering to climb up there.

          Reply
      • Hey Kevin, have you engaged a real life school teacher with your proposals and listened to what they have to say. Schools are not a babysitter service, nor a social support organisation. They are a bunch of ordinary Kiwis (or immigrants) mostly trained to teach subjects that are in the approved syllabus. Teachers, like Padres and Priests, have diminished status in the community over the last 40 years at least. They are just as much to blame for their failure to demonstrate their modern relevance in the Kiwi Culture as part of the moral and self-discipline climate we and our kids grow up in. Yes there are really good people out there following both professions, but I have to say that the strident utterances from Teachers and Principals Unions and the failure of the Religious orders to own up to the damage done all over the world to our children makes me doubt they are the right people to fix the problem. We the general community are the answer as well as being part of the problem.

        Reply
  5. Collins is 100% right.

    There is a link missing in the “more redistribution of MONEY will address all society’s problems” argument. There is no amount of money, or access to a proportion of other people’s money, that can render just any person capable of raising an independent, well-adapted child. The belief that by somehow addressing fiscal disparity, through even more generous redistribution, that the recipient of such largesse are guaranteed a successful life outcome is flawed, as decades of transferring responsibility through state charity prove. We have been quite unable to address ingrained, intergenerational state dependence, the resultant dearth of life skills, and more importantly, the utter lack of imperative to better one’s self that is now ingrained. When a person has little to no constructive societal involvement, has no imperative to be independent, has no familial help of any merit, and has by their own behaviour and maladjustment isolated themselves, how could any child they produce succeed?

    Where conservative-liberal governments sought to address appalling educational outcomes, for example alternative charter models v. the one size fits all statist model, how the left screamed. Where any degree of accountability is sought for extra monies tendered, they wail again. Just give them the money, let them do as they will and positive outcomes for a child will ensue. Piffle.

    Reply

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