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Real Issues: No. 126, 2 SEPTEMBER


Real Issues: No. 126, 2 SEPTEMBER

Population projections alarming

Human rights on the rise

Marriage has health benefits

Prostitution petition closes in eight weeks

Te Awamutu Change Agent workshop


Population projections alarming

Statistics New Zealand have just released family and household projections up to 2021 which will have serious consequences for everyone.

The population aged 50 years and over is projected to increase 60 percent between 2001 and 2021, compared with zero growth for the population aged under 50 years. This demographic shift means that there are considerably fewer working people to support those in retirement.

The most startling statistic in the report, however, is the increase in one-parent households. One-parent households are expected to increase by 26 percent from 198,000 in 2001, to 251,000 in 2021. By 2021, they will account for 37.5 percent of all households that have children, compared to 31 percent today. Because more than half of one-parent households rely on the state for support, the increase will put more demand on welfare, and also mean more children are likely to be disadvantaged.

Meanwhile, wealth-creating two-parent families are projected to drop by 6.2 percent. The number of two-parent families in New Zealand will fall from 446,000 to 418,000 between 2001 and 2021.

Can our economy sustain the additional burden as a result of more superannuitants and one-parent families on the DPB? The Government tax take has increased 40 percent since Labour took office in 1999. The company tax take has gone up 72 percent. But that rapid appreciation cannot continue. In order to maintain even the present level of welfare, direct and indirect tax will have to increase.


Human rights on the rise

'Human rights' appear to be influencing every aspect of New Zealand life. Increasingly, they are used to justify an expansion of government and an array of new laws. Yesterday, the first report on the state of human rights in New Zealand was issued. While it highlights issues that need addressing we have to ask what its basis is and where a rights-driven culture is leading us?

The report says nearly 1 in 3 children and young people in New Zealand live in poverty and New Zealand has the fifth worst child maltreatment rate of 27 OECD countries. These are alarming figures that require action. If we are to improve the standard of living for children, it is essential that every effort is made to help families move from welfare to work.

Another part of the equation often forgotten is that responsibilities must accompany rights. Sally Thompson of the Family Help Trust says that highlighting children's rights without looking at parental responsibility sends an incomplete message. Child maltreatment cannot be tolerated, but it will not be solved by extending the government's power and neglecting parental responsibility.

People have inherent dignity by virtue of being human. So what 'human rights' should be automatically afforded? Contemporary formulations of human rights are not based on truth for all through our common humanity, but are based on empowering groups. That does nothing for families or children.


Marriage has health benefits

There's some bad news for the Bridget Jones generation of 30-something single women and their male counterparts. Being single can be as bad for you as smoking - or worse.

News released this week from a research project which monitored the lifestyles of 10,000 adults across Britain over 10 years revealed that men and women without a spouse drink too much, skip meals, work too hard and lack the emotional stability enjoyed by those who get married. And they often do not have an emotional confidant to share problems with.

Married couples, on the other hand, tend to have better diets and more comfortable homes. Children within a marriage are also thought to have a stabilising effect on the parents, whereas single people are likely to take more risks.

The researchers found that men who had never married or who were separated or divorced at the start of the research were 10 percent more likely to die during the following eight years. Women who were single, separated or divorced at the start of the study had a 4.8 per cent greater risk of dying.

Professor Andrew Oswald, who led the research, said: "Marriage keeps you alive and the effect is remarkably large: about three extra years on average."


Prostitution petition closes in eight weeks

There are just eight weeks left to collect signatures for a referendum on the Prostitution Reform Act. To secure a referendum, 310,000 eligible voters have to sign the petition by October 30. Please send in any forms that you have and keep collecting signatures to achieve the target. If you haven’t signed the petition or want more forms, they are available on the website supporting the referendum http:// http://www.stoptheabuse.org.nz.


Te Awamutu Change Agent workshop

A Change Agent workshop is being held in Te Awamutu on Monday 13 September for people concerned about the direction of social policy and culture in New Zealand. The workshop will address current issues such as civil unions, education, hate speech and political correctness, as well as provide practical tips on how to effectively engage in processes of public policy and debate.

The Te Awamutu event is being held in the Waipa District Council Chambers on 13 September from 7pm to 9pm. For details and to register visit: http://www.maxim.org.nz/main_pages/whatson_page/whatson.html

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK - Edmund Burke

All men have equal rights but not the right to equal things.


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