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real issues. this week: No. Fifty-Two

real issues. this week: No. Fifty-Two 27 FEBRUARY 2003

* Fatherlessness increases teen pregnancy New research from Canterbury University reveals higher rates of pregnancy for girls without fathers.

* Junior Minister silenced John Tamihere has been chastised for his comments on welfare and breaking ranks, but he gets close to the heart of the problem.

* Licensing won't solve prostitution problem The Prostitution Bill narrowly passed through its second reading last week but it's far from 'a done deal'. Even ministers want amendments.

* Exposing PC Dr Frank Ellis is in New Zealand exposing the dark side of political correctness. Don't miss hearing him in Christchurch.

Fatherlessness increases teen pregnancy

Girls who grow up without their fathers are more at risk of teenage pregnancy, according to new research from Canterbury University. Psychologist Bruce Ellis has found that rates of teenage pregnancy increased from 1 in 30 among girls who grew up with their fathers to 1 in 4 among girls whose fathers were absent from an early age. Other research by David Fergusson at the Christchurch School of Medicine as well as our own on youth offending, also point to the importance of fathers. In 1999, we found that 65 percent of youth offending was committed by children without fathers at home.

Just as interesting, and even more dramatic, is the response from some to play-down the findings. Christchurch sexual health doctor, Sue Bagshaw, has said the findings required further study. "The point [she says] is that for young people to develop healthily, they need positive influences in all areas of their lives." While that is true, it also suggests absent fathers can be readily accommodated. Even Professor Fergusson plays it down; "By itself experience of a fatherless family is not a strong predictor of later adjustment and development." But it is. Why such reluctance to face the reality of the importance of fatherhood? The answer is that there is an agenda among social policy makers to denigrate the natural two-parent family, and even health professionals are being caught up in the political correctness which wants to make all social outcomes equal.

For references on this topic visit: http://www.maxim.org.nz/ri/studyrefs.html Junior Minister silenced but issues remain

Nearly one third of New Zealand children are in households that depend on a benefit. About 409,000 New Zealanders are dependent on state welfare for their income. We spend 250 percent more on welfare than we do on education. Since 1960 welfare spending per head, in inflation adjusted dollars, has increased 500 percent. Sobering statistics. But when John Tamihere dared to be honest about the true state of what's going on he has been told to keep quiet.

Criticising colleagues in public isn't the loyal thing to do, but Mr Tamihere got close to the heart of the matter. "Welfare as at present practised in this country literally kills us with kindness", Mr Tamihere is right and well aware this is particularly true for Maori. It is also true that Steve Maharey's 'Third Way' and 'social democratic government' is in fact, very Left, despite the trendy rhetoric. The philosophies driving social policy are clearly neo-Marxist and the present administration favours big government. The Prime Minister claims Mr Maharey is "a committed devolutionist" (ie. keen to relinquish state control), but even a cursory read of his speeches and press releases indicate that is not the case.

For decades now the New Zealand psyche has been muddled by at least four myths about the nature of charity, kindness and social welfare. The first is that differences in income result from injustice. The poor are poor because the rich have made them so by enriching themselves. The second is that governments always act for the common good. The third myth follows from the first two: that because income differences are unjust, and because governments act for the common good, politically organised income redistribution is desirable. Myth number four is that all people must have equal access to natural resources, including land. Failure in this is the cause of poverty.

We have developed a "fashionable compassion" as a substitute for real community. Fashionable compassion has broken the moral link that naturally exists between the giver and receiver in welfare. Consequently, welfare becomes an entitlement from the government rather than an exercise in compassion from my neighbour.

To view an article on this issue published in the NZ Herald today by Bruce Logan click on www.maxim.org.nz/ri/welfare2.html

Licensing won't solve prostitution problem

Many MPs said in last week's debate they didn't like prostitution, but still voted for a bill to decriminalise the sex trade. Justice Minister Phil Goff is aware of the havoc the Prostitution Bill would cause if passed in its present form. The Select Committee recommended that all controls be lifted on brothel keeping. But in a masterly understatement, Mr Goff says the bill has several shortcomings. He is drafting amendments to bring in licensing - so that organised crime can be kept out of prostitution - and local authorities can be given the power to ban brothels in areas where they are offensive or inappropriate.

The bill's sponsor, MP Tim Barnett, sees no reason to do any of these things. He wants prostitution more deregulated than any other commercial activity in New Zealand. However, he could well settle for the amendments in order to achieve his real aim of legitimising prostitution.

The problem is that licensing and bylaws will not solve the problems. Ever since prostitution was legalised in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, local councils have been fighting an unsuccessful running battle to try and stamp out illegal brothels, at a cost to ratepayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Street soliciting has not diminished - in fact it is almost out of control in Melbourne. And the continual act of prostitution causes immense physical and emotional harm to women. MPs still have a chance to prevent New Zealand going the same way when the bill comes back for debate in a few weeks time.

If you would like to receive email updates on the issue please send an email to PRBalert@maxim.org.nz

Exposing PC

Dr Frank Ellis, an international expert on Political Correctness says PC and other 'ism's' are advancing to command control of language and culture. Maxim has organised events for Dr Ellis to talk on this issue - Auckland is fully booked but there are still places in Christchurch. The title of his address is: 'Understanding Political Correctness and Multiculturalism: Lessons from the former Soviet Empire.'

The Christchurch talk will be over lunch from 12.30 to 1.45 p.m. on Monday 3 March at the Canterbury Club, corner of Cambridge Terrace and Worcester Street, cost $20. Please register by noon Friday by calling 03 343 1570 or email denise@maxim.org.nz

In Search of Civil Society - Maxim Forum 2003

The inaugural one-day Maxim Forum is on 22 March. With a focus on education and family issues it lines up some of the best minds and experience from New Zealand and abroad. It will be a day to challenge ideas and consider new approaches. For more information and to register visit: www.maxim.org.nz/forum2003/forum1.html

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK - Lyndon Johnson, former US President

You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.

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