In a long foreshadowed move, the National government has announced that it will fund contraception for women on the DPB (Dependent Persons Benefit). It’s all part of their moves to make all those lazy solo mothers do some work for a change.
Right…. and if you believe that, I’ve got a nice bridge to sell to you.
You see, they’re not offering free contraception, and they’re not offering it just to people on the DPB. They are offering long term contraceptive implants to women on the DPB and to their teenage daughters.
Women on benefits – including teenagers and the daughters of beneficiaries – will be offered free long-term contraception as part of a $287.5 million Budget package for the Government’s welfare reforms. (Source)
In other words, you and your slapper daughters better not breed any more of your type.
I think the National party has got a myth in its mind, of generations of women on the DPB, never trying to do anything to get off it, and just sponging on taxpayers instead. Never mind that those myths have been comprehensively debunked. The Nats know that they can’t sterilise the slappers, but they are doing the next best thing, and drugging them to achieve the same result.
I think it’s all about punishing women for having sex. One of the ways that we can see this is in the relentless focus on women. Where is the focus on men who have children and neglect to provide for them? Where is the long term contraceptive for men who father one child here and another there, and the shaming and demonising of men who have sex? There is none. It’s all about the women.
More than that, it’s about social engineering. I think that the Nats must have decided that there is a culture of DPBism out there, and they’re aiming to stamp it out by focusing on the children of sole mothers. I’ve got no problem with trying to effect long term cultural change through persuasion – witness the success of anti-smoking and anti-drink-driving campaigns, but this campaign looks very close to coercion to me. And that’s because of those overtones of dirty slappers.
So what might make this sort of measure acceptable? Perhaps the government might assist with funding a range of contraceptive choices, instead of just those long term implants. That would mean that the government was genuinely looking to assist women who wanted to do what human beings do and have sex, but at the same time wanted to be able to afford effective contraception. And that means contraception that works for the particular women and her body, not just a one-size-fits-all model. And it would make it available to all women below a certain income level, instead of targetting it towards sole parents and their teenage daughters.
On the positive side in Paula Bennett’s announcement, the Nats have realised that in order to enable sole parents to work, they will need to fund childcare. So they’ve come up with $80 million for that. But it’s not for all sole parents.
The Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment will be available to Young Parents receiving Assistance under the Youth Package who are meeting their obligations to participate in education, training or work-based learning under the youth package. It will also be available to young parents who are completing their secondary education, are not receiving a benefit and have a child aged under 5 years. This payment will provide up to $6.00 per hour for up to 50 hours a week for up to 52 weeks a year for a child to attend an approved ECE service. The cost of this initiative is $36.1 million over the next four years.
The Government has provided an additional $43.9 million to Vote Education to ensure extra ECE places are available. We anticipate a peak occurring during the next four years which will see the need for an additional 1155 additional Early Childhood Education places being required as a result of parents needing care for their children while they study.
Helping young parents who are trying to study is laudable. But it doesn’t help other sole parents. This back-to-work assistance needs to be more broadly focused. And then there’s the massive elephant in the room: where are the jobs? And not just any jobs. As I’ve said before:
So what is going to be required to make this happen? First up, there’s going to have to be a number of employers who are prepared to offer 15 hours work a week, during school hours. There’s no point in requiring sole parents to work 15 hours a week if no such jobs are available, so I’m assuming that National will be putting some sort of incentives in place to encourage the creation of such jobs.
Those jobs will need to be provided by employers who don’t mind too much if a worker works say, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday one week, and different days the next, in order to look after sick children, or to attend events at school (parent teacher interviews, school sports days, all the usual commitments that come with having kids at school). So the work will need to be very flexible.
And the work will have to be just in term time. Kids do need to be supervised in school holidays, or otherwise, as Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony Helen so fetchingly puts it, they will end up building meth-labs in the back yard.
But doing the hard yards to create flexible work environments that enable sole parents to work is just not nearly as much fun as hating on all those wretched women.
ETA: And I’m also catching a whiff of racism about this move, I think. Via Tallulah, in response to a comment I made at TLG, we know that 43% of DPB recipients are Maori, and 10% are Pacific Islanders. So over half of DPB recipients have brown skins. I think it’s not just about making the slappers keep their legs together. It’s also about stopping those brown people from breeding.
Earlier posts on the National Party’s policies for sole parents: