Motherhood as career option


An interesting comment on Lindsay Mitchell’s column on the greatest risk: from Rosy Fenwicke:

. . . One piece missed from the analysis is the cultural movement which embraced the idealisation of ‘motherhood’ as a career option regardless of the financial means to support this ‘career’ choice. Prior to the ‘liberation’ of women in the 1970s or rather the ‘liberation of entitlement’, motherhood was always associated with how it was to be financially supported in the long term- hence marriage and the partnership with men.

The whole women’s movement, with its middle and upper income roots, did no service to women with little education/income or their children. Likewise the liberation of women, liberated men from their connection with parenting and their responsibilities towards their offspring.

I do think the liberation of women is a good thing but it is only now that the younger generation is getting it right and pairing it with the need to assume the responsibilities which go with it- earning your own living!

My generation may well have been the last to have been brought up with the expectation that we would marry and have children, in that order; that we would probably give up our careers, or at least put them on hold while our children were young; and that our husbands would provide for our families.

That was before the DPB which enabled women to escape abusive relationships, but also enabled them to replace their children’s fathers with the state.

I wouldn’t want to return to the days that women and their children were beholden to their husbands for everything and trapped in dreadful situations because they were financially dependent on bad men.

But I applaud government initiatives which are working with women on the DPB to help them help themselves and escape the poverty trap in which welfare can snare them.

Splitting to double benefit doesn’t add up


Another sign that something’s rotten in the welfare state: couples are splitting to get extra benefit.

A community leader in New Zealand’s “DPB capital” of Kawerau says 70 per cent of those claiming the benefit in the town have partners “round the back door”.

Kay Brereton of the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation said couples who might be getting $200 below their living costs on the $324 weekly couple unemployment benefit were being tempted to split.

One could then get $278 on the domestic purposes benefit (DPB) and the other could get $194 on the single dole – a total of $472, and almost $150 extra a week.

“In the current financial reality, more and more couples will be looking to maximise their income,” Ms Brereton said.

People living separately and claiming two benefits would get more than if they lived together. That’s because their outgoings on rent, food, power and other basic costs would be lower for one household than two.” But they’d spend more too because their outgoings on rent, food, power and other basic costs would be higher for two households than one.

Couples who deliberately arrange their affairs by living apart to maximise benefit payments are committing fraud. But as Lindsay Mitchell says: Forget  illegal. What about immoral?

Her post DPB – same story, different decade is also pertinent as is Deborah Coddington’s column time to wake up to reality of child-bashing shame.

The benefit which was designed to give temporary help to women and children leave hopeless relationships,  still does for some. But it’s a trap for others and is one of the factors in our appalling record of child abuse.

November 14 in history


On November 14:

1805  Fanny Mendelssohn, German composer and pianist, was born.

1840  Claude Monet, French painter, was born.

1878  Julie Manet, French painter, was born.


1889 Pioneering female journalist Nellie Bly (aka Elizabeth Cochrane) began a successful attempt to travel around the world in less than 80 days. She completed the trip in seventy-two days.

1908  Joseph McCarthy, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, was born.

1918 Czechoslovakia beccame a republic.

Flag Coat of arms


1919  Veronica Lake, American actress, was born.

1922 The BBC began radio service.

1927 Bart Cummings, Australian race horse trainer, was born.

1935  King Hussein of Jordan was born.

1947 P. J. O’Rourke, American writer, was born.

1948  Prince Charles  was born.

1952 The first regular UK singles chart was published by the New Musical Express.


1954 – Condoleezza Rice, former United States Secretary of State, was born.

1959  Paul McGann, British actor, was born.

1969 NASA launched Apollo 12, the second manned mission to the surface of the Moon.

1971 Adam Gilchrist, Australian cricketer, was born.

Adam Gilchrist.jpg

1973 DPB legislation was introduced in New Zealand.

1973  Princess Anne married Captain Mark Phillips, in Westminster Abbey.

2007 The last direct-current electrical distribution system in the United States is shut down in New York City by Con Edison.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

Katherine Rich’s valedictory speech


The ODT has an edited copy of Katherine RIch’s valedictory speech. Some highlights include:

When I announced my retirement, one of the first emails received said “good riddance, you’ve said nothing, done nothing and stood for nothing.”

Harsh I thought, but typical of many political letters to MPs.

Funny thing was a week later I received another email from the same man.

It said: “Mrs Rich, my heartfelt apologies. Comments from your colleagues, the media and even your opponents seem to have been uniformly positive. I can only conclude that I’d got you mixed up with someone else. Sorry about that. Mistaken of Petone.”

It was a strange exchange, but in a way it sums up politics.

Leaving here is hard at such an exciting time and after the hard graft of opposition, but it’s the right decision for me.

Being an MP isn’t a job. It is a life.

Political service is all consuming and the New Zealand public deserves nothing less.

I leave at a time of my own choosing, positive about Parliament, my party and our democracy.

More follows the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

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