The Police (and pretty much everyone else) Know how to Prevent Crime, Why Don’t the Politicians?

Jess Berentson-ShawTax and Welfare53 Comments

It was nicely done really; Judith Collins neatly deflected the question posed by a delegate at a Police Association’s Conference about when the government was going to start addressing the causes of the crimes, notably child poverty. She repelled that pretty brave question by simply saying child poverty was not the Government’s problem to fix.

The following week the Government announced it would be spending $1billion to provide 1800 additional prison beds. While that is a one off cost, it also costs $92,000 to house each prisoner per year, so the on-going cost will be over $150m. Labour also announced it would be funding 1000 more frontline police at a cost of $180m per year.

This is all ambulance at the bottom of the cliff stuff. No-one has attended to what that member of the Police force was saying; deal with low incomes and low opportunities in childhood and you don’t need to spend billions on new prisons, or constantly have to fund more frontline police.

Let’s look at what the evidence has to say.

Low Incomes & Few Opportunities in Childhood Leads to Crime

Children from low-income communities are both more likely to perpetrate and be the victims of crime.

Incidence of violent / property crime for 15-21 year olds are significantly higher for those from more deprived backgrounds. Young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds are responsible for approximately 49% of officially reported youth crime (and 28% of self- reported, i.e. actual crime).

It is unlikely that merely lacking money directly leads to a child committing crime. Rather, a child who grows up poor is more likely to be a low achiever in their education with more behavioural and or mental health issues, and it is these factors that influence their likelihood of running up against the criminal justice system.

There are nearly 20,000 children with a parent in prison, and statistics show that those children are more likely come from poor communities, have poor education outcomes and end up repeating the cycle of crime. There is a strong relationship between having a family member in prison as a child and ending up in prison as an adult. In one study in New Zealand, around half of prisoners had family members in prison when they were growing up, and it is estimated that in New Zealand around 2% of children have a parent in prison at any one time.

The statistics show that life for children who have a parent in prison is pretty grim. They are more likely to experience a lack of resources, their family is more likely to be dependent on a benefit, they struggle behaviourally and at school, and have poor health. In such circumstances it is hard to see how the children of prisoners in New Zealand have much opportunity to escape a cycle of poverty and crime.

Statistics New Zealand data shows that while there have been reductions in youth crime appearances in court overall, the gains have been mainly for European/Pakeha children. In 2013/2014 European children made up 27% of youth court appearances (falling from 33% in the 10 years since 2004) yet Māori children went from 45% to 57% of all youth court appearances. While the absolute numbers of appearances for all ethnicities have gone down, both apprehensions and appearances in court show a serious overrepresentation of Māori young people. Low income is noted to be a key factor in the criminal offending of young people.

Young People with Low Incomes are More Likely to be Victims of Crime

Children are far more likely to be the victims of crime than they are to be the perpetrators. On average each year in New Zealand, 12.5 children (aged up to 18) die as the result of assault. This is high internationally. The Child and Youth Epidemiology Service reports that hospitalisation for abuse is eight times greater for children living in poor communities compared to those in the least poor.

When asked, 14% of young people reported they had witnessed adults hitting or physically hurting another child in their home in the last 12 months, while 7% had seen one adult hit or injure another Reporting witnessing violence in the home was more common if young people lived in a poorer community

Investment in the Early Years Prevents Crime

Instead of competing in some sort of bizarre race to the bottom with the United States for the most number of people incarcerated per head of population, we need to attend to what works to prevent crime.

While the idea of scaring young people out of crime (boot camps, prison visits etc) might have popular appeal, it is a total failure as it has been found to increase the probability of crime. What does work is reducing the stress on low income and families and providing families with sufficient material resources to ensure their kids have opportunities to thrive.

As we discuss in our book ‘Money Works’ (due early 2017), increasing the incomes of low-income low opportunity parents using unconditional cash assistance reduces children’s likelihood of engaging in criminal activity. Yes giving parents more money, and trusting them to identify where the pressure points in their family life are, improves both the economic position of a family and reduces stress (the key pathway between poverty and poor outcomes for children).

A substantial body of research supports unconditional cash assistance in countries similar to New Zealand. Just one of the studies from this body of evidence was a “natural experiment” called the “Great Smoky Mountains Study of Youth” in western North Carolina. In this experiment profits from a casino built on an Eastern Cherokee reservation were distributed to some but not all families in the local community (tribe members received about US$4000 per adult per year). Almost overnight, the receipt of the casino profits moved some of these children (who coincidentally had been researched since birth) out of poverty.

The children and their families lifted above the poverty line experienced remarkable changes in well-being compared to those families who were not lifted out of poverty. One of the many changes was the families’ involvement in crime. Those parents who received cash had fewer interactions with the criminal justice system (fathers were 50% less likely to be arrested) and children were 22% less likely to be arrested as teenagers; parents had better mental health, and parented more positively. These improvements were greatest for the poorest families. The authors of the study concluded that ‘Overall, the results indicate that parents in households with additional incomes make better choices in their personal behavior and with regard to criminal behavior.” As this study shows it is the lack of income and stress that causes poor decision-making, not the other way round, as some people falsely believe.

In a world where cash confers choice & opportunity why deny it to low-income families?

As we have explained before, additional (and unconditional) cash allows low-income parents to provide fairer more equitable opportunities for their children. It does so partly because it acts as a tool to alleviate stress. No families have exactly the same problems, types of financial pressure and stress in their lives, so it makes little sense for Governments to prescribe to all low-income families how to improve their lot through assistance laden with behavioural conditions.

Cash also protects children from the negative biological impacts of poverty related stress (which include less than optimal brain and immune system development). Cash will not solve the problem entirely, but it is an extremely cost efficient and wide ranging compared to the targeted solutions that are currently favoured.

Politicians in denial of the evidence

Why don’t politicians get the link between few opportunities in childhood and a life of crime? Why are they determined to avoid admitting that investment in early years is a much better spend than on prisons or policing later? Even Bill English has called prisons a ‘fiscal and moral failure’. While Minister Collins might claim that spending on prisons is ‘planning for the future’ it is just the inevitable outcome of poor policy and failing to attend to what works.

It is getting utterly farcical. First there is a refusal by Government to admit low incomes in childhood are a real problem, then a claim that we can’t measure it, then that there are no good measures anyway, then that we can’t set a target to reduce poverty and finally Mrs Collins claiming it is not the Government’s problem. It is like watching a toddler refuse to own up to eating the cake despite the crumbs all over their face: deny, deflect, blame.

Invest in the Future not Prisons or Police

If Governments really want to invest in the future, prevent children from engaging in crime, relieve the stress in families and reduce parents interaction with the criminal justice system then spending $1billion a year on low income families with children under 5 seems a pretty good place to start.

The Police (and pretty much everyone else) Know how to Prevent Crime, Why Don’t the Politicians? was last modified: October 26th, 2016 by Jess Berentson-Shaw
About the Author
Jess Berentson-Shaw

Jess Berentson-Shaw

Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw is a science researcher working for the Morgan Foundation. Jess holds a PhD in Health Psychology from Victoria University.Jess has over 10 years’ experience working on applying science and evidence to public policy. She worked on improving the use of science in public health practice in NZ, before working as a Research Fellow at University College in London, where she researched how doctors and clinicians translate scientific evidence into their clinical practice. While in the UK she also developed a national data collection system, which was used to determine what factors contribute to poor outcomes for women and babies during pregnancy and birth. On her return to New Zealand she directed a research group that specialised in the independent evaluation and application of research and science to health policy and practice. Jess loves science and what it can do to make the world a fairer place.

  • Dale Smith

    Yep, pretty much sum’s it up… Giving money to the poorest of people denies the rich taking the cream from whether it be, back handers, in-sider trading, vested interests, etc… that & the fact it gives the poor “Freedom to choose” So it ain’t going to happen.

    • Baby Doll

      Too many families in New Zealand are being robbed of options. By reduced income and legislation. There are laws in this country against poor people.

  • Karen Davis

    Also check the high level of young people in the youth justice system who have neurodisabilities. See for example the research reported here: http://neurodisabilitiesforum.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Neurodisabilities-Forum-2016-Report-1.pdf It’s an indictment of how we treat young people with learning disabilities in New Zealand, especially those in families without financial resources for extra help.

    • Baby Doll

      The state services and agencies in New Zealand deem neurodisabilities to be caused by parental emotional NEGLECT and abuse. THESE children are likely to be wrongfully uplifted from parents, heavily abused in state care and end up in prison and the mental health system

  • andrewo

    I think you’re drawing a very long bow with very limited data to support it.
    Crime, Neglect, Abuse and Poverty are interlinked in a very complex manner so assuming that more cash will fix poverty which will fix crime, neglect, abuse and poverty is a naïve assumption. Especially when faced with examples like the Kahui family who were receiving over $2,000 per week in welfare, most of which was spent on booze, when those twins were bashed to death.
    Does poverty cause crime? Most poor people are not criminals so no, in most cases poverty definitely doesn’t cause crime.
    So until you’ve got more evidence, keep your hands off my wallet.

    • Mike Kelso

      “Most people who drive drunk don’t have an accident, so clearly, drunk-driving doesn’t cause accidents”.
      Poverty does lead to a significantly increased chance of head-butting the criminal justice system. This costs the country lots of money. You can save money (yours, and mine) by investing in those families who struggle, for whatever complex set of reasons.
      Unless, you just can’t swallow the idea of giving someone money that they haven’t “earned” for themselves. Like you did… right? Because, everyone is born with an equal set of opportunities to make it on their own…. right? Quoting anecdotal examples like the Kahui case – as awful as it was – is pointless. it’s about what works best across the board, for thousands of families, 10s of thousands of kids, helping them to grow up with a little less resentment and a little more hope. And breaking the cycle for the next generation after that.

      • andrewo

        Actually I was brought up on welfare, living with a single, invalid parent. Despite this I never felt the desire to burgle someone’s house or steal a car. This was because my mother was a decent person who brought me up to respect people, property and authority. Down the road were some total ferals who eventually progressed to prison. They had more money and both parents but were in essence, scum.

        You assert that “Poverty does lead to a significantly increased chance of head-butting the criminal justice system” (which is just socialist code for ‘criminality’) but you offer absolutely no evidence of that. So post some links to papers that:
        a) Prove the linkage between poverty and criminality
        and
        b) That poverty causes criminality, not the other way around

        • KJT

          Can’t you use google for yourself.

        • He_Maori

          Yes, as KJT simply put its – questions a) & b) can be answered. I take my hat off to your parent, they did a bloody good job of protecting you from the harsh reality thats faced by many families, such a good job you should buy a lotto ticket and they should be given a knighthood.

        • Baby Doll

          It’s all a very Victorian aspect on poor people ist it. EUGENICS in a different form

          • andrewo

            We are already practicing what you say: When we tax the middle class and hand cash to unwed women to produce fatherless children who are destined for prison.

          • Baby Doll

            Domestic violence survivors are not the biggest group of welfare recipients.

          • andrewo

            Which proves my point that poverty is not the root cause of family violence.

      • Baby Doll

        Quality antenatal care, neonatal care and follow up supports for their severe disability from being born 3 months early would have meant those boys would be still be here.

        They died of disabilities brought on by a corrupt and inadequate health and social system that discriminates against low income and ethnic minority families. Low income families are more likely to be trying to cope with disabled children from inadequate and in equal health and social services.

        It starts with quality antenatal and obstetric services, and follow care for all mothers and babies .

        • andrewo

          No they didn’t and they weren’t “found innocent”. They just got off on a technicality because one blamed the other and the rest of the family refused to nark on them. The forensic evidence was that those kids were bashed to death.

    • jennifer martin

      this govt is putting its hands in your wallet to build more prisons so it seems that you prefer more prisons to having a go at reducing poverty and taking away the need to build more prisons in the first place. what ever way it goes, hands are going in your wallet.

      • andrewo

        I’m not a fan of either Jennifer.
        We have no choice but to lock up criminals who present a threat to society. I see little evidence of our ability to rehabilitate most of these people so effectively we just warehouse them. (Can recidivists be rehabilitated and how? If there are any experts on this topic feel free to post) The vast majority are repeat offenders so it may actually be less expensive to lengthen sentences rather than suffer the cost of their crimes, police costs in catching them and court costs sending them back where they belong. (Double sentence length and thereby halve the crime rate?)
        Maybe we should be committing more effort to turning around young offenders rather than putting them inside with old lags who just teach them the tricks of the trade. Separate prisons for young offenders with a real attempt at rehabilitation?
        In my view first prize would be to stop encouraging this criminal underclass from reproducing via welfare. At the moment we tax the middle classes in order to fund the production of the next generation of criminal. The Youth Court can, with great accuracy, predict future criminality based on birth circumstances alone: Absentee fathers/DPB mums are key drivers.

        • Duncan Cairncross

          Hi
          If we lift our eyes we can see countries like Norway which have much lower levels of recidivism, – they spend a LOT more money on their crims – but as a result they only have to spend it once so that despite spending more money per criminal they spend a lot less money overall

          That is once they have fallen off the rails – they also start with lower numbers because the “poor” in Norway are looked after better and are effectively not as poor as ours

        • vigor

          Indoctrinated mouthwash , all these ideas have been tried in the past , with dismal results to say the least , Your just pouring petrol on the fire . The system you are upholding is a complete successful failure .

          Your key drivers have been the whipping post for politicians who perpetuate middle class fear.
          and angst . Easy fodder for the cause .

          On one hand you say circumstances don’t mean diddle squat (look at me ) On the other criminality is based on birth circumstances. Pff

          .

        • Baby Doll

          State care is the common denominator in bad out comes.

          That most uplifts of children are wrongful and are more likely to be of single mother children – should not those factors be eliminated

          • andrewo

            Fine. Keep the state out of bringing p children completely. That would include providing welfare.

    • Sandy

      More prisons are being built and on average one prisoner costs the government $94,000 a year what the government need to do is rehabilitate prisoners going in to prisoners so they can come out reformed beings, but this is not happening. NZ has the worlds 2nd largest imprisonment rate…. If the prisoners can be rehabilitated may just be able to break the cycle of crime that runs in families who live in poverty.. At the moment the governments creating harsher policies and longer sentencing and thats their solution to the issue even to minor crimes. But evidence proves this approach doesn’t work at all. People are reoffending because they not only know how to live on the outside they don’t know how to survive on the oiutside because they dont have and may never have had the resources to do so. For others offending if given money and are educated through community programmes and getting the right help and advice and direction it would save you much more money than you spend now. Politicians dont address the issues because the issue benefits their profile. NZ also wants to avoid the hard issues because it means change and something new. It also gives those socially excluded a voice too

    • Sandy

      The introduction of Neoliberalism and the free market after the 4th labour government laid the foundation to the issues the government refuse to acknowledge..

    • martin

      What you need to do is to become rich enough not to pay any tax – perhaps if you worked harder, made better choices, weren’t so lazy didn’t spend it on booze/fags/whatever, then your wallet could be permanently protected – it is easy to develop a counter-argument based on sophistry but much harder to look objectively at the facts – people from poorer households end up committing more crimes – and trickle down economics hasn’t worked – so we need to accept more crime and paying nearly $100k per year for a prisoner to be incarcerated or work out a cheaper way that also doesn’t have a victim of crime as part of the path

    • He_Maori

      There is plenty of evidence and its growing – no need to personalise is either and claim NZ will be taking from your wallet. How would you feel if the right changes meant more cashflow into your wallet?

    • Baby Doll

      Those babies were not bashed to death. They died of their severe disabiluties. THEY had severe disabilities from being born 3 months early , mainly due to the mother not receiving the appropriate antenatal natal care she should have been given – and having to work a heavy manual job during a complicated pregnancy. Then not receiving the appropiate neo natal or follow up care .

      Those wee babies were never going to live long . THERE is big questions over the lack of health and social assistance the family was offered. The parents were not receiving $2000 a week in benefits. THEY were on one dole raising 4 children , 2 with heavy disabilities and no assistance or respite

      IT is too easy to scapegoat low income patents in low socio areas

      • andrewo

        Another example of failing to own a problem .

        Those children were admitted to Starship with severe head injuries and massive bruising and as a result the Chris Kahui was charged with murder based on the forensic evidence.
        According to questions raised in parliament the Kahui household (including the grandfather) was receiving $2240 per week.
        Read the facts here:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cris_and_Cru_Kahui_homicides

        • Baby Doll

          The brain injuries were sustained as neo nates. Bleeding on the brain is common for premature babies. C PR for frequent apnea [respiratory cessation] also causes it. There was no bruising or external injuries on the babies at the GPS s office .

          6 adults allegedly receiving 2 k between them and support several children is a pittance. THEY were also not receiving the disability payments they should have.

          Bearing mind having heavily disabled infants should have put ms King on the top of the list for state housing. She should also have been receiving home help and respite care. Why was she not given this –

          Had they been affluent they would have received all manner of assistance from the state and charity campaigns. INSTEAD they get their children punished.

          Think on that –

        • Baby Doll

          I have read the facts elsewhere . There was not any evidence to definitively prove any abuse provided to court . He was not found guilty .

          THERE WAS no injuries or health issues for those babies that could not have happened in hospital care

  • Draco T Bastard

    In a world where cash confers choice & opportunity why deny it to low-income families?

    Because it removes the force needed to make those people work to make other richer.

    Poverty is needed to support having rich people or, to put it another way, the richer a few are the more poverty we have. That’s been known for centuries. In fact, it’s in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.

    The big problem with simply giving poor people money is the market system – the capitalists will put up prices to capture all that extra money for themselves with the result that those people will only be lifted out of poverty for a short time. We need a structural change, one that ensures that the economy provides equitably for everyone and doesn’t just work to make a few people rich.

    We cannot afford the rich.

  • Brendon Smith

    Hmmnn, great work here Dr, but when you say poverty, pls I think the main poverty is of parenting, and the main reason for that, fatherlessness, I know lots of great solo mums who do it proud, but the most common thing in boys or girls in trouble, lack of boundaries, lack of a good working role model, possibly lack of education, so when we have around 30% of children growing up in NZ without a dad, why do we continue to encourage this?
    things that may happen when a dad is bad or absent…

    1. Children may feel unprotected. There is increased risk of abuse from new partners, strangers and the mother. (Farrel, 2001)
    2. Boys have more trouble with the police and law and anti-social behaviour. 90% of West Auckland police-involved youth are fatherless. (Police Interview Nov.2005)
    3. Boys are more inclined to suicide and have poor mental health. Fatherless males are 5 times
    more likely to suicide. 63% of NZ youth suicides are from fatherless homes. (McCann 1999)
    4. Boys will likely be more dependent on mothers. The intensified relationship can make
    adolescent separation more troublesome and adversarial.
    5. Boys are likely to transfer that dependency to a woman partner.
    6. Boys may lack the clear, more black and white boundaries that males tend to hold. Underfathered
    men are more likely to be violent to their partners.
    7. Under-fathered girls are more likely to become pregnant. (US and NZ, 2 to 8 times Ellis, 2003)
    8. The under-fathered child is more likely to use drugs. Fatherless boys are 10 times morelikely to abuse chemicals. (NZ McCann)
    9. Fatherless boys may feel angry and cheated, uneasy around friendly adult males. Authority
    figures receive a lot of the projected anger felt for the absent father.
    10. Truancy may increase. Fatherless boys are 71% of high school dropouts. (US 2001) and 9
    times more likely to drop out of high school (NZ McCann 1999)
    11. Fatherless boys are 20 times more likely to end up in prison. (McCann 1999)
    12. Solo parent boys may feel a duty to be ‘the man’ of the house and may become prematurelyadultified.
    13. Poverty is more common in fatherless homes. Single parent families are 3 x more likely to
    experience poverty than a 2 parent home
    14. Educational achievements may be reduced. 80% of referrals to Resource Teachers ofLearning and Behaviour are Boys. (NZ 2009)
    15. 90% of all homeless and runaway children come from fatherless homes. (Farrell US 2002)
    16. There may be difficulty feeling confident while dealing with or around males in later life for both boys and girls.
    17. Physical health, happiness and social skills may all be reduced.

    • Duncan Cairncross

      Great theory
      How do you intend keeping the fathers at home – nail their feet to the floor??

      How about approaching it in a manner that could actually work (and has been shown to work)
      Do what Sweden and the Scandinavian countries do
      SUPPORT the MOTHERS!! and the kids
      That actually works and doesn’t require some way of keeping errant fathers at home
      although I would be interested in your ideas to achieve that

      • andrewo

        That may work if NZ was populated with Swedes

        • Duncan Cairncross

          So you are a racist? – You don’t think we can do anything the Swedes can do? – except maybe produce as many pretty blonds

          • andrewo

            If taking note of the statistics is racist, then maybe 😉

      • Baby Doll

        Great idea. Better than keeping women and children reliant on the whims of an abusive partner or older male family member

      • andrewo

        Duncan
        The evidence shows that children need both a mother and a father in their lives if they’re to grow up as balanced, successful people. No matter how much money we throw at this problem the state can never be the father. In the absence of a real father, children look for father figures elsewhere, and too often the local gang becomes that.
        Liberalisation of divorce laws, defacto relationship laws and the provision of DPB have all undermined the status of the traditional family and the results can be seen in the crime statistics every day.

        • Duncan Cairncross

          Hi Andrew
          Our prejudice is that both a mother and a father are needed
          The actual evidence (from the Scandinavian countries) is that a properly supported mother is very good at producing “balanced, successful people”

          The traditional family is NOT nessesary – and trying to force people into a mould that they have rejected is a bad idea – you will be wanting us all to go to church and pray to the sky fairy next

    • KJT

      Well. Research has shown that if you want women to have less children, the most effective method is to give young women more power, wealth and education. I.e. Give them enough money to be independent.
      Even if they have had one child,without a father in residence they are much less likely to have a second if they are financially supported enough not to have to depend on the next bloke, that happens along.

    • KJT

      Many of our poor children have both parents working!

    • Baby Doll

      None of which is true

      Though social attitudes that objectify and sexualise single mothers and their children , do put them at much higher risk from abuse from out side their home

  • Fern Hickson

    Thank you Jess, this is an excellent critique of our crazy justice policies and this government’s chilling refusal to try to address child poverty. In my work with at-risk youth I have observed that middle class teenage boys have their own skateboards and bikes on which to get their independence and thrills; boys from poorer families don’t own such things and their desire for thrills is instead quite often gained through stealing cars. A charity that would provide bikes and skateboards to low income families may well make a dent in future prison populations.

  • mark

    Good article. Read this quote the other day which seems apt.”Leadership that isn’t responsive and responsible to all members of society really isn’t leadership at all”.

  • phill

    no mention of iq .. the highest indicator of criminal likelihood
    the issue is a lot more complex than this study of unknown parameters can identify
    if you want to quote what studies have shown .. give me the links to the study and the methodology
    otherwise ‘studies’ can say pretty much whatever they want them to

    • vigor

      Yar we have more studies coming out of our wazooies than you shake a stick at

  • TonyA

    Get rid of the word “poverty” it is divisive and leads to all sorts of entrenched defensive behaviours. New Zealand does not have too much child “poverty”, IT HAS NOT ENOUGH CHILD “PRIORITY”.

    Regardless of cause, too many children are neglected and the community spends its time and energy on arguments over definitions of poverty and potential solutions. Imagine if all the energy consumed in this discussion had been used to make a “loser” kid get some wins and feel good about themselves.

    I live in Vietnam and, a few days ago, encountered an 8 year old boy wearing torn shorts and a lot of street dirt selling chewing gum at about 20 cents per packet. The Vietnamese associate I was with was embarrassed by this kid’s presence and tried to slip him about $1 to leave us alone. The boy straightened his shorts, pulled himself up to his full height, declined the offering and declared “Sir, I am not a beggar, I am a business man”. He refuses to be a loser because somebody, somewhere (parents or not) has shown him how to believe in himself – not because somebody has handed him money. I have encountered him again since then, and I can assure he lives in poverty by any definition.

    Let’s stop wasting energy arguing about what we are doing, and spend some of it on making kids have this sort of self belief. Work FOR child PRIORITY, not against child poverty and I think we will make much more progress.

    • He_Maori

      Unfortunately ‘poverty’ is now the political measurement discourse – workers face of the issue here use it becuase it draws results from government, government is sort of obligued and reluctant to use it because they do have to do something about it. Its meaningful weight comes from our subscription to the WHO who define it it and being unfair and unjust – NZ cant be seen to be an unfair and unjust society. Government would love your idea though Child Priority would make their job easier. Govt gets to deine what a priority is as opposed to adhering to a WHO definition.

      • TonyA

        See what I mean. All that effort and not one less child considers her/himself a loser as a result.

  • KJT

    The Standard

    12 December 2013 • 97 comments
    How to: Pick an Excuse for Not doing Anything About Poverty
    KJT
    Right wing, excuses reasons, for not doing anything about children in poverty.
    1. “It costs too much”.
    2. “Taxation is theft”.
    3. “They are not as poor as they are in (Insert a third world Nation with less than half our GDP, and a 10th of our resources per capita)”.
    4. “The statistics are wrong”.
    5. “It is not as many as they claim”.
    6. “You can’t get rid of poverty by giving people money”.
    7. “I was in a poor persons house and they had “Chocolate biscuits, a colour TV, or, horrors, a bottle of beer”!!
    8. “It’s all those solo mothers on the DPB breeding for a living”.
    9. “I know a person who…………..”
    10. “It is a choice they make”.
    11. “It is people who make poor choices”.
    12. “They shouldn’t have had kids they couldn’t afford”.
    13. “Why should “I” pay for other peoples kids”.
    14. “The centre will never vote for it”.
    15. “We will do something if finances allow”.
    16. “Giving them money made them poor”.
    17. “Those socialists made them poor by giving them benefits”.
    18. “I pay enough taxes”.
    19. “There are no poor in New Zealand”.
    20. “Not now, later!”

  • BlueSky

    The social welfare system has become a political tool used by unscrupulous politicians like Collins to manipulate voters and society. Providing a UBI removes that. The debate changes from who is deserving the right to an income to how much should that be.

  • Hi Jess, I’m with you 100%, Spending a $1 billion on new prisons seems to be an abomination. But to change this you need to answer your own question: Why don’t politicians [those holding the reins of power we should say] see it this way [i.e. accept the research you have presented]? It may be because a) they don’t know about this research b) they don’t believe it – as some of your blog post respondents don’t c) they genuinely believe prisons are the best solution d) they think the voting public want more prisons (even though the politicians themselves may not believe that is the best thing to do) e) or some other force is at play on their opinions and actions. There will be a reason. Could the Morgan Foundation ask a political scientist to scientifically address the question in a blog post: Why is this Government planning to build more prisons when research suggests alternatives will have better social and economic outcomes? A decent political analysis should help determine whether alternatives are politically possible … and provide insights into how they might be achieved.

  • FNP

    Dear Gareth. The sooner you form a political party and start putting a manifesto together, the better. I will vote for you and so will half the country. Please do it.

  • Baby Doll

    No access to reliable legal supports is more likely to lead to conviction. Low invcome and ethnic monority folk are more likely to be convicted and to receive a custodial sentence.

    Low income and ethnic minority parents are more likely to be judged as abusing children; far more likely to have children wrongfully removed. Children in state care are universally abused. THEY are more likely to go to prison and be involved with mental.health. Children in state care are unlikely to finish high school, 50% are unable to attend high school while in care .

    Slap people down enough and they stop getting up