Dumping The Dole Avoids The Bigger Issue
Friday, October 17, 2008
The Maori Party has announced it wants to abolish the unemployment benefit.
Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell said in response today, "While this policy has brought commendation from many
quarters little analysis has been done on what it would actually achieve."
"In June 1999 there were 42, 074 Maori receiving an unemployment benefit. By June 2008 that number had plummeted to
"Over the same period Maori receipt of the domestic purposes benefit has risen from 35,615 to 40,119. "
"While co-leader Tariana Turia is happy to talk about Maori men and their damaging reliance on welfare, she told
election commentator, Gordon Campbell , just months ago, that reform did not apply to Maori women. This means it doesn't
apply to Maori children either."
"Right now the DPB is a much bigger problem for Maori than the dole. That is because it encourages very young women to
have babies they cannot financially or emotionally support; it keeps thousands of Maori children relatively poor; it
deprives Maori men of their defining role as provider; it makes women vulnerable to free-loaders who do not want to
support a family, preferring to spend the money they earn on themselves; it causes intergenerational welfare dependence,
with female children more likely to depend on the DPB in turn and it increases the likelihood that children will suffer
neglect and abuse."
"Only 8 percent of the 81,369 working-age Maori on welfare are on the dole. As it stands the Maori Party needs to focus
on how to wean their people off those benefits where the numbers are still heading in the wrong direction. "