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Don’t Waste Money On My Family

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

“Don’t Waste Money On My Family"

Dr. Jane Silloway Smith, Research Manager at independent think tank Maxim Institute and soon to be mother of two, questions how helpful Labour’s Best Start for Children package—and an extension of paid parental leave as indicated by National today—are, calling them poorly targeted to the problem of child poverty and a waste of money.

Smith says: “While there is little doubt that a child’s experiences and care in the first few years of life are vitally important, it’s hard to see how Labour’s intended spending will have as profound of an impact on child poverty as they anticipate.”

“My husband and I are both working, and I am seven months pregnant with our second child. We are a family who would benefit under Labour’s Best Start for Children package—but we shouldn’t.”

“Children are expensive even in two professional-income households like ours, but my husband and I are fortunate enough to be able to handle that financial burden and still be able to make decisions that are in the best interests of our family. Fourteen weeks of paid parental leave are nice, and getting even more leave and $60 a week in our new baby’s first year would be appreciated, but it’s far from necessary in cases like ours.”

There will be some Kiwi families who will truly be helped out by the additional cash. But for so many others the money will be wasted either because the family doesn’t really need it or because there are bigger issues in the family home than mere money can solve—drug and alcohol addictions, lack of family or community support, or volatile adult relationships.”

“Governments have a limited budget, and as a policy researcher, I hate to see any government spending its money on pointless programmes. There are families out there who can’t make the choices that my husband and I can make for our family. So instead, it would be great to see Labour target their spending on families who could really use the money, while diverting the savings from handing out upper-middle class welfare to invest in community initiatives and programmes that have demonstrated an impact on the bigger issues some families face.”

“If any government is going to hand out money, I’d like to see them putting it towards helping families in real need, rather than simply padding the bank accounts of families like mine.”


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