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Teenage Parenthood Traps Maori

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Teenage Parenthood Traps Maori

According to welfare commentator, Lindsay Mitchell, the majority of single parents who have been on a benefit since their teens are Maori.

In 2005 almost 20,000 benefit-dependent Maori single parents had first received a benefit under the age of twenty. In the care of these parents are around 33,500 children.

The equivalent figures for NZ European are just under 13,000 parents looking after approximately 19,000 children.

The availability of the Domestic Purpose's Benefit to 18 and 19 year-olds, and before that, the Emergency Maintenance Allowance to 16 and 17 year- olds, serves as a bigger trap for Maori than other group.

Many go down this road because that's all they have ever seen. Often they are too young and immature to cope with the responsibility of parenting, sometimes with tragic consequences. What these kids need is more time to grow up free from the temptation of the seemingly easy money that comes with babies.

Parenting is never easy but teenagers are prone to finding this out too late.

The government must end this neglectful policy and give young New Zealanders, Maori in particular, a chance to lead lives that aren't prematurely burdened with unwanted responsibility.



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