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Scapegoating Economic Reforms Futile

A United Nations report says New Zealand reforms hurt children. "The findings of this report pose a number of questions," says Lindsay Mitchell, petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB.

"New Zealand children feature in some of the developed world's worst health and social statistics. This study however, covers only the last eighteen years and then conclusively lays the blame for our poor statistics on the reforms begun in the mid-eighties."

"Prior to 1984 unemployment had risen from 983 in 1970 to 50,136. DPB numbers had already risen to 53,000. What was the impact of these changes on children? "

" Why is it that other developed countries, that did not undergo the same reforms as New Zealand, were also exhibiting similar problems by the nineties? The United Kingdom and the USA are obvious examples."

"Co-author, Massey research fellow, Dr Alison Blaiklock, said that 'Today, one in ten children still live in poverty.' One in four children are living on the DPB. Unless children living on benefits are not amongst the poorest it would be safe to assume that most of the group she refers to are being brought up on the DPB."

"The numbers on this benefit grew faster pre-1984 than since. That this report did not look specifically at the effect of the DPB calls into question it's credibility."

Mitchell suggests," What would be more useful is a study into the effects of welfare incentives on human behaviour. Scapegoating the economic reforms of Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson for the 'grim legacy of poverty and ill-health among New Zealand's children' is futile."

Lindsay Mitchell

Petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB

dandl.mitchell@clear.net.nz

ph/fx 04 562 7944


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