Thursday, May 10, 2012

The sole parent contraception proposal

On Stuff recently, there was an interview with a number of young people living in Huntly West.  These people shared their views on the government proposals to offer free long term contraception to sole parent beneficiaries and their teenage daughters.  There has been a lot of discussion on the pros and cons of Paula Bennett's latest plan in New Zealand this week.  On the one side, there are those who say "support everyone in need, no matter how or why' and 'walk a mile before you judge' and on the other are those who believe that to prosper is to be good, and any who do not should be punished, and certainly not 'encouraged' by any form of state support.

But I read the piece in Stuff on the young people in Huntley West, and I wonder why nobody asks what would positively give these people something else to aspire to, to find in their reach, to fulfil themselves with?  Because no matter what you do about disincentivising repeat solo parent pregnancies and upping the return to paid work requirements for sole parents, until the young people of Huntley West and other seriously lacking-in-hope-and-opportunities areas in New Zealand have real opportunities which engage and inspire them, a boyfriend and a baby are going to be beautiful beacons. 

I'm on the walk a mile first side.

2 comments:

Janet said...

I'm wondering if the government will do something similar here in Australia, don't think we are that far off. I think it could be good to offer free contraception if it were part of good quality free health care that also offered free dental care and other useful things. And only if people were respected in their decisions to take it up or not, and in no way tied to income support.

I work delivering income support and over here, it's really quite brutal. Long queues, long waits on the phone, harassed looking workers and lots of punitive action with very little real help. We're supposed to be moving to a more "helpful" model but really, I think it's just spin. We need what you suggest, "real opportunities to engage and inspire".

Annanonymous said...

Well said, Sandra. That article was beyond awful. If its portrayal of these young parents is to be believed (and I'm far from convinced), then the fact they have so little cultural capital should make the rest of us ask questions about ourselves.