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Biased Report Lacks Credibility

Biased Report Lacks Credibility

Tuesday 19 Nov 2002
Dr Muriel Newman
Press Releases -- Social Welfare

The report blaming economic reform for harming New Zealand children is completely skewed by political correctness and a left-wing agenda, ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"This report - which wasn't produced by Unicef itself, just presented to the organisation by six defenders of New Zealand's huge welfare state - is tainted from cover to cover with an ideological bias. It is a tired, left-wing critique of the reforms of the 1980s and 1990s.

"Would anybody seriously believe that Alison Blaiklock, Cindy Kiro, Michael Belgrave, Will Low, Eileen Davenport and Ian Hassall would produce anything else? Together, these authors' views are already well-known - from academic Michael Belgrave, who believes in welfare largesse, to former Childrens' Commissioner Ian Hassall who among other things believes inmates should be allowed their children in prison.

"Before this report was even written, the academics knew what stance they were going to take - a quick look through old news articles proves that.

"They fail to provide even tenuous evidence that economic reform actually caused youth suicide or childhood injury rates to rise.

"A far more plausible explanation for the increase in child poverty and harm is the fact that our social welfare system has grown into a juggernaut. Intergenerational welfare dependency has had dire consequences, unexplored and ignored by these six academics. Also ignored is the long-term damage caused by the Domestic Purposes Benefit which created incentives for family breakdown to such an extent that in the late nineties the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child produced a report which was severely critical of New Zealand's excessively high proportion of single parent families.

"There is universal acknowledgement that New Zealand's living standards were plummeting before the necessary economic changes in the few years of true reform. The fact that the current left-wing regime has not reversed any of the key reforms says it all.

"I am horrified that this blatantly political report is being presented as "factual" to 3,000 governments and organisations worldwide.

"I am writing to UNICEF to register my dismay that the organisation has chosen to put its imprint on such an irresponsible and misleading document," Dr Newman said.

For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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