Who needs help more?

Phil O’Reilly got to the nub of the Paid Parental Leave debate on Q&A yesterday:

The debate that we need to have is about should we, for example, subsidise wealthy mums or should we give that to very poor mums looking after kids at risk?

Those criticising Bill English for saying National will veto the private members’ Bill seeking an extension to PPL would have us believe that all mothers are being forced back to work too soon after having a child because they can’t afford to stay at home.

They don’t tell us that PPL isn’t means tested and that at least some of those who get it from the taxpayer would have got it from their employers nor that some employers pay employees to enable them to take more leave.

The left would have us believe it’s every woman’s right to have PPL, paid for from borrowing, whether or not she needs it.

What is right about giving money to people who don’t need it when there are so many other areas where it is absolutely necessary?

What is more important for individual parents and children and society: PPL for all who qualify regardless of their means or more targeted assistance to the poor who are in real need?

That question doesn’t apply just to PPL, of course.

It is an indictment on how far to the left we have moved as a society that there are a whole lot of other benefits which are regarded as ‘entitlements’ regardless of how much the recipients need them, or whether they need them at all.

Once they’ve been given it is very difficult to take them away. But we could at least make a stand to ensure that any assistance in future is based on need not want.

13 Responses to Who needs help more?

  1. Deborah says:

    I’d like to see all benefits means and asset tested, including superannuation.


  2. robertguyton says:

    National found the money for so many of the things it wanted; freeing farmers from their ETS obligations for one, but Bill slammed the door shut on an idea that the majority of MPs supported. He did it before the debate was launched and is now pretending that ‘it can still be had’. Disingenuous much. Still, those who have had the opportunity bullishly dismissed by English can still make gains in the public eye, by emphasizing just how arrogant Bill’s action was. From what I’ve seen, people don’t admire high-handed behaviour like that and at the same time do appreciate that investment in mothers with young children is good for the country. Bill’s bought a stinker, I reckon.


  3. homepaddock says:

    I’ll second that Deborah. It’s not easy to determine where the cut-off between need and want is and some people will try to arrange their finances to qualify when they shouldn’t, but it’s still worth trying.

    You think giving money to some wealthy women is more important than targeted assistance to those in real need, Robert?


  4. Andrei says:

    Means testing is not the way to go – all that achieves is to grow the drone class, both in the administrators of the scheme and the accountants and lawyers who find new and novel ways to circumvent the test (and grow fatter in the process)

    Also those who put most in get least back – which is perverse,

    Of course philosophically the way BIG GOVERNMENT has usurped the culture so that we no longer feel obliged to take care of our own both young and old is the real heart of the problem.

    BIG GOVERNMENT has all but destroyed the family and family obligations so as to condition people to turn to it rather than themselves and their own – it is like a malignant tumour and this PPL thing is just outbreak of Government growth and family undermining.


  5. robertguyton says:

    “You think giving money to some wealthy women is more important than targeted assistance to those in real need, Robert?”

    I think, Ele, that Bill English’s dictatorial use of veto, prior to the discussions we elect our MPs to have, was a disgrace.
    That’s what I think.
    What do you think about Bill’s veto, Ele?


  6. homepaddock says:

    I think it was sensible to let everyone know that extending PPL is not affordable. Had he waited until the third reading he would have been criticised for that too.


  7. Deborah says:

    It’s only unaffordable if we regard it as something on top of all the other things we currently fund. Perhaps if paid parental leave had been in place before the emissions trading scheme it would have been the tax relief for farmers that we would regard as unaffordable.

    W.r.t. my previous comment re means testing, we would need to have rules in place around beneficial ownership of assets, and gifting, to ensure at people didn’t devoid themselves of significant assets in order to collect benefits.


  8. robertguyton says:

    Bill was ‘sensible’ to call ‘veto’ before the discussion could take place?

    Had Helen Clark done that, you’d be frothing.



  9. homepaddock says:

    Deborah – when the amount of money is limited paying for anything means not being able to pay for something else. When you’re in government you get to make those choices.

    You’re right about the need for rules if means testing was applied.

    Robert – that would be the woman who thought an extension of PPL was unaffordable when the coutnry was in surplus?


  10. robertguyton says:

    Great points, Ele. Bill’s vetoed the idea though, so why waste time discussing the dead issue. The very idea that our representatives should debate the pros and cons of PPL is dead in the water, because of Bill’s dictatorial declaration. Isn’t it.


  11. jabba says:

    don’t worry bOb .. when your lot, Labour. Winny1st and Mana take over at the next election they can reverse all the bad things Bill and John have done. Just imagine bOb, Norman wants to be deputy PM and if he was in that position right now, he would be with the Chinese No4 and his delegation and telling them to sod off .. and maybe even get his flag back


  12. JC says:

    “Had Helen Clark done that, you’d be frothing.


    Not so. Back in 2002 Helen Clark preferred a 6 week PPL compared to Laila Harre’s 12 weeks.. telling her not to expect “nirvana” all at once.
    The Nats were opposed because self employed and farmers wives were excluded.

    However, the Nats voted for an expanded scheme in 2006.

    So contrary to your view, the Nats were supportive of a modest expansion of PPLs in a time of huge prosperity, but now opposed to a further extension when the country is under financial duress.



  13. robertguyton says:

    Had Helen Clark vetoed debate on a private members’ bill before it even began, JC.
    Ele’d be frothing.


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