The Dim-Post

May 9, 2012

Talkback bait

Filed under: psuedopolitics — danylmc @ 9:48 am

The thing that intruiges me about the government’s plan to provide long-term free contraceptives to female beneficiaries and their daughters is the amount budgeted for the program. $1 million dollars.

According to MSD, there are approximately 190,000 working age female beneficiaries. Let’s be conservative and guess that this scheme also provides for half that many daughters, and you have 270,000 clients, which works out at $3.70 per person to pay for doctors visits and birth control.

Sue Bradford is worried that WINZ staff will pressure female beneficiaries into going on birth control against their will. That’s not going to happen, because the money simply isn’t there. That million dollars will pay for some pamphlets about birth control to be printed up and distributed to WINZ offices and . . . that’s about it.

Why a million dollars? Did that figure come from a research study? Treasury? A policy analyst? My guess is that it came from a media advisor as the lowest amount the government could spend and still generate the headlines, news stories and discussion on talk-back that they’ve enjoyed over the last few days.


  1. The reason for introducing this subsidy is the government’s rules around subsequent children. If the government is going to crack down on parents who have additional children while on benefit, it would look bad if they couldn’t afford contraception to prevent pregnancy, so the government pretty much had to do this or they will look really silly when this policy takes effect.

    The interesting thing is the timing of the announcement. This was decided months ago.

    Comment by DT — May 9, 2012 @ 10:07 am

  2. Contraceptives are already subsidised for under-25s – so that probably helps the numbers.

    Comment by marsoe — May 9, 2012 @ 10:08 am

  3. $1,000,000 is a suspiciously round figure, but it’s not necessarily a ridiculously low one. For one thing, it applies to long-acting contraceptives, which are hardly a popular first choice. For another, as pointed out above, other types of contraception are already subsidised for this target market, so this million is additional to existing spending. They may well find they don’t spend the whole million.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 9, 2012 @ 10:20 am

  4. The imaginary boat people didn’t work last week, the welfare whores have this week.

    You’d think political journalists might have read “Distractions for Dummies”, but apparently not.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — May 9, 2012 @ 10:44 am

  5. I think it was also targetted at under 20s. So the number of beneficiaries under 20 probably needs to be examined to determine how realistic that number is…

    Comment by kyotolaw — May 9, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  6. Same place the deficit predictions come from: MagicNumberLand

    Comment by MeToo — May 9, 2012 @ 11:41 am

  7. talkbackbait or beltwaybloggerbait?

    Comment by merv — May 9, 2012 @ 11:52 am

  8. Long-term contraception has been fully funded by Family Planning and available free for women under 22 years since August 2010:

    In the March 11, 2011 NZ Herald, Simon Collins wrote:

    ‘The Welfare Working Group appears to be pushing on an open door with a proposal to offer “long-lasted reversible contraception” to all women on benefits.

    Family Planning chief executive Jackie Edmond said Pharmac began fully funding a new long-lasting hormone implant called Jadelle for all women last August (2010). The hormone, contained in a tiny match-sized rod implanted in a woman’s arm, is 99 per cent effective against pregnancy for three to five years. It can be reversed by removing the rod at any time.

    The only cost is the fee for having the implant. At Family Planning this is free for women under 22.

    Ms Edmond said the number of implants done through Family Planning jumped from 109 in the six months to the end of January last year (2010) to 1712 in the past six months.’

    Also, as the numbers and rates of births, abortions and pregnancies among women under 20 years have been falling since 2008 (see Statistics New Zealand’s Infoshare Health and Population data, it appears that greater use of contraception among young women is already underway.

    Comment by Laura — May 9, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  9. If it is free already for under-22s at Family Planning, the pifling sum of $1m makes sense. And so does sammy’s comment @4.

    Comment by MeToo — May 9, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  10. “Distractions for Dummies”
    And the biggest distraction for the proles is Lotto. Everyone just hopes that it will be their turn this week and that they will get to go to The Island.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — May 9, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

  11. Well done Laura. That puts the distraction in perspective.

    Comment by xianmac — May 9, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  12. Another way of looking at is:
    – (Heroically) assume only 20% of the cost goes on scheme administration and marketing
    – (Heroically) assume total cost per implant is $150
    – That assumes 5,300-ish implants.
    – So a 2% uptake of the “offer”

    Comment by goodguy — May 9, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  13. I wouldn’t be surprised if they spent more than $1 million announcing that they’re spending $1 million.

    Comment by Hugh — May 9, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

  14. Family Planning is available only in the cities. Some GPs do free family planning for young single girls, but many don’t.

    It’s a move that makes access to free contraception more equitable.

    Comment by annie — May 9, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

  15. It’s seems to me to be one of the few policies National has introduced that does directly assist the less well-off.

    Comment by NeilM — May 9, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

  16. I have a question for the moderator of this blog, is it true that Pete George is banned from commenting on Dim-Post?

    Also, excellent point on the paltry sum being diverted to fund this ‘policy’ (read- excuse to scare idiots about the risk of poor people breeding)

    Comment by alex — May 9, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  17. If it is true that Pete George is banned from the Dimpost I am glad. His comments and the ensuing arguments were rather tedious and prevented me from spotting the humorous ones. Although, of course, if you start banning non-funny people then I would be gone soon too.

    hmmmm… anyway, this whole policy just seems like they read your scaremongering post and decided to do it earlier than the election. I still have seen no evidence to suggest that there is more than a tiny, tiny number of women who deliberately to choose to have babies so they can stay on the DPB (who would? It’s such a shitty lifestyle and looking after babies is HARD work). Apparently just 7% of all babies in NZ are born to under 20 year olds, so hardly a crisis going on among beneficiaries teen daughters either, despite NZ womens’ reckless promiscuity (thanks Colin! Now, can I come I up for coffee?).

    Here’s a good quote about how being a mother is different from most types of work in that it’s value to society changes (or is seen to change) depending on who’s doing it. “When performed by married women in their own homes, domestic labor is work—difficult, sacred, noble work….But here’s the real magic: when performed by low-income single mothers in their own homes, those same exact tasks—changing diapers, going to the playground and the store, making dinner, washing the dishes, giving a bath—are not only not work; they are idleness itself.”

    Comment by Amy — May 9, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

  18. I’m not the moderator, but I believe Pete George was not banned from this site. Rather, he was hounded from it.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — May 9, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

  19. Amy, as a nutwing right job, I’m more likely to be banned before a non-funny person. I think Danyl has read that famous quote that goes something along the lines of “First they banned those selling iPhones, and I didn’t speak out as I sold not iPhones”.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — May 9, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  20. I think providing free long-acting contraception to people who might otherwise be put off by the cost is a great idea.

    However, I think they should fund GPs to provide it to anyone with a Community Services card, and leave WINZ out of it. This would remove the power imbalance issue, and it would also put more power in the hands of the people whose job it is to be aware of the side-effects and to advise people properly about these.

    Comment by kahikatea — May 9, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

  21. Agreed kahikatea, it’s actually not a bad policy at its heart, I just don’t really trust WINZ with it. (Not that I trust WINZ with much, really).

    Re: Pete George, I found him extremely aggravating. I dunno about you guys but there are few things more annoying than his habit of repeating trite political banalities as if they were blinding, paradigm-shattering insights. Buuuuut I would like to think if he was banned it was for something more offensive than just being an unoriginal self-regarding blowhard, although having said that I am somewhat hypocritically glad he doesn’t foul up the comments section anymore (for whatever reason).

    If he was hounded out my only regret is I didn’t have a hand in it.

    Comment by Hugh — May 9, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

  22. there doesn’t seem to be much detail but it appears this will pay in the first instance for a GP consultation and then for the contraception if it’s not one already subsidised.

    it’s very unlikely a GP is going to place any unwarranted pressure

    Comment by NeilM — May 9, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

  23. Am I the only one seeing a particular irony that Pete George’s absence from the Dimpost is being discussed on a thread headed “Talkback bait” and dealing with contraception? Can you imagine the immense value his 813 comments on this topic would have added to the discussion?

    So … “banned” or not, I care not a whit.

    Comment by Jeremy Johnston — May 9, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

  24. @Jeremy: The nice thing about Pete is that he basically always said the same thing so if you really miss him you can just copy and paste.

    “Bla bla new style of politics, bla bla responsibility, bla bla citizenship, bla bla giving people a voice, bla bla United Future”

    Comment by Hugh — May 9, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

  25. You called?

    Comment by PeteGeorgesGhost — May 9, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

  26. Have a look at Pundit. Watkin has an intriguing table about who is getting the dpb.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — May 9, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

  27. I haven’t seen any coherent response from Labour. Too busy obsessing over Lusk I suppose. And Colin Craig briefly looked good a few days ago but does less well without a direct comparison to John Banks.

    Comment by NeilM — May 9, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

  28. You socialist morons and your “free”.

    You have the brains of gnats.

    Comment by Redbaiter — May 9, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

  29. Hooray for Redbaiter!

    Comment by Gregor W — May 9, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

  30. +1 to that Gregor. What this discussion needed was some bizarre sniping from a member of the Klan.

    Comment by alex — May 9, 2012 @ 10:06 pm

  31. test

    Comment by Rhinocrates — May 9, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

  32. test, again – WordPress is being silly

    Comment by Rhinocrates — May 9, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

  33. “eighteen” Rather, he was hounded from it.

    “twenty-three” my only regret is I didn’t have a hand in it.

    Sorry everyone if I was such a nuisance in my role, but I thought that it was worthwhile to “go nuclear” as it were and destroy a couple of threads to drive him out (though I shouldn’t take sole credit). Persistent stupidity of his kind, especially the kind of stupidity that is compoudned with narcissism is simply unbearable.

    The Dimpost seems a lot better without him.

    One thing that rankeled was that that fool shared the name of an author who wrote Red Alert, a novel that became the film Dr Strangelove and I’m, sure that Generals Ripper and Turgidson would approve of my actions.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — May 9, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

  34. weird…

    Comment by Rhinocrates — May 9, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

  35. OK, ignore me fellows, it seems that WordPress is allowing some but not other remarks. As I said, “weird”…

    Comment by Rhinocrates — May 9, 2012 @ 11:01 pm

  36. OK, that is odd. One word posts get accepted, longer ones do not. Let’s see if this works.

    Anyway, what I meant to say, in reply to eighteen and twenty-three, sorry if I was a bore, but I felt that it was necessary in my minor role in hounding PG, but it was his persistent stupidity that offended me. In this world, with the gift of life, one has no right to glory in being thick as if it made one a “nobel savage” and PG, like a true narcissist WOULD NOT BLOODY STOP. Sorry if it wreck a couple of good threads, but I felt that it was worth it in the long run. The Dimpost seems to be doing pretty well without him.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — May 9, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

  37. The whole point of making contraception work well is to take the stigma out of it. The Roe vs Wade ruling in America did the same with legalised abortion, and some years later, the authors of Freakonomics established that slumping crime rates coincided with fewer unwanted babies as a result of Roe vs Wade.

    I get the feeling that Minister Bennett’s latest move is putting the stigma back into contraception, given her born-again faith-based dogma. And we all know that abstinence has been proven to be complete bollocks by scientists.

    And to those who support state control of the gene pool, does Alberto Fujimori come to mind?

    Comment by deepred — May 9, 2012 @ 11:43 pm

  38. It’s funny, but I don’t recall cries of “Eugenics!” when we first implemented a system in which the govt promises to fund however many children you produce if you’re a sole parent on a benefit, but if you work for a living you can pay for your kids your fuckin’ own self. Maybe people were less stupid back then.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 10, 2012 @ 7:45 am

  39. This isn’t a policy design to make a difference or even to win votes this is a policy to shore up the base, so that next time Key or Bennett or any National Party MP are button holed at some National party fund raiser and someone asks them ‘what are you doing about all those bludging solo mothers that breed like rabbits’ they now have an answer.

    The fact it will make no difference in the real world is of no consequence.

    Comment by rocketboy2007 — May 10, 2012 @ 8:36 am

  40. when PG’s about you have to do more scrolling but in terms of the blogosphere he’s not too bad.

    Comment by NeilM — May 10, 2012 @ 8:47 am

  41. my flatmate who has an IUD says she doesn’t understand the point of this policy because they are already free (or $3 which is almost the same)? she also said she loved it and since she is one of the NZ women that Colin Craig doesn’t like, it has been doing sterling work and (no doubt) saving the state many dollars in paying for abortions etc.

    Perhaps that is why it will only cost the govt $1 million because effectively all they will do is send an email (and possibly pamphlet) to WINZ officers telling them to direct their female clients towards their GP and ask if they would be suitable for an IUD? The GP visit will be free anyway if they have a community service card.

    Finally, do you think that the people who support this policy are also opposed to more immigration from Asia? Because you can’t really have it both ways – if we stop our youngest, most fertile citizens from having children AND we stop inward immigration of young migrants (and, let’s face it, why on earth would you want to come here from the USA or Australia, so that pretty much leaves us with England and Asia), then pretty soon almost everybody in the country will be over 65. And who will pay their pensions then while they spend their hours gibbering on talkback?

    Comment by Amy — May 10, 2012 @ 9:14 am

  42. Pete George owns 25% of a thread narrative without even being here.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 10, 2012 @ 9:30 am

  43. This whole issue profoundly depresses me. Not that we have a government quite willing to isolate, objectify and attack vulneralbe sections of ou society as somehow to blame for something. No. What has depresses me is how many of my fellow New Zealanders are happy to participate in the pogrom. I was re-watching episode 2 (“Chaos and Consent”) of the 1997 documentary “The Nazis: A Warning from History” the other week, to my mind the most frightening and pertinent episode to today. Looking at the Stuff poll, I have to ask – have we really learnt so little?

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 10, 2012 @ 9:30 am

  44. @ Sanc

    It’s not really a surprise though is it?

    It’s pretty normal in times of economic uncertainty for the sitting government to create an existential threat (Jews, Commies, terrorists, bludging bennies, boat people, whatever…) so that people become too distracted to hold the architects of their misfortune to account.

    Just take a deep breath and remember that it’s a passing phase.

    Kiwi’s are too lazy and passionless to actually take it to the next level of persecution.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 10, 2012 @ 9:42 am

  45. Kiwi’s are too lazy and passionless to actually take it to the next level of persecution.

    such as State-funded abortion?

    Comment by NeilM — May 10, 2012 @ 9:53 am

  46. Can of worms alert!

    @ NeilM – are you suggesting that the State facilitating a woman’s right to control her own fertility is persecution?


    Comment by Gregor W — May 10, 2012 @ 10:11 am

  47. What I find profoundly depressing is that targeting an offer of free contraception at the group with the highest risk factors for various forms of unpleasantness is greeted with hysterical wailing about eugenics and Nazis. It’s an offer of assistance to do the right thing, not a gas chamber.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 10, 2012 @ 10:15 am

  48. are you suggesting that the State facilitating a woman’s right to control her own fertility is persecution?

    no I don’t, I was asking you that question.

    Comment by NeilM — May 10, 2012 @ 10:16 am

  49. “…no I don’t, I was asking you that question…”


    Comment by Sanctuary — May 10, 2012 @ 10:19 am

  50. It’s generally been conservatives who have claimed that state-sponsored contraception and abortion is a coercive regime of social engineering.

    That the doctors who women are sent to don’t provide a “balanced” picture of abortion and are mislead into a choice they would otherwise not have made.

    That susceptible young minds are given the wrong message at school via reproductive biology classes.

    Of course any form of govt funding is open to misuse but until proof is supplied and when there’s plenty of proof to the contrary then claims of coercion don’t really amount ot much.

    Comment by NeilM — May 10, 2012 @ 10:33 am

  51. Fair point, NeilM.

    But were not talking about women voluntarily going to medical professionals for an advice on contraception or an abortion.
    Were also not talking about school kids who can opt out (or be compelled out by their parents) of the biology lesson on the basis of their religious beliefs.

    Were talking about a selected, essentially captive audience (DPB mums) being advised by a non-medical caseworker – possibly the only representative of government authority and largess that these women ever have an interaction with – telling them that long term contraception is a good idea to stop them popping out more rug-rats.

    Though the policy may well be sincere in it’s intentions, the mechanism is fraught.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 10, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  52. Is the policy to be administered by WINZ? I just don’t want to bother reading the press release story myself…

    Also, how did Redbaiter manage to log on as Psycho Milt? :^P

    Comment by Clunking Fist — May 10, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  53. “Pete George owns 25% of a thread narrative without even being here.

    In his island fortress hideout off the coast of Dunedin, Pete cackles as his unwitting pawns fall into place one by one. ‘Exactly as planned’ he muses.

    Comment by Hugh — May 10, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  54. Rhinocrates, what browser are u using?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — May 10, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  55. Clunking Fist @ 53: I alternate between Safari and Firefox, and sometimes I use Chrome. Overall, I prefer Firefox because of its plugins. I’ve found that WordPress has been… “eccentric” a number of times, regardless of which browser I use, but it gets sorted eventually. Apparently now it’s behaving itself again.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — May 10, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

  56. Just heard a repeat of Morning Report… the critics of Minister Bennett’s welfare changes steered clear of the usual bene-bashing responses (that was largely left to Sue Bradford et al), pointing out the changes place the burden of proof unfairly on the women. They also accused Bennett of putting deadbeat dads in the too-hard basket. A common complaint about DPB mums is the refusal to name the father, and I’d say domestic violence is a bloody good reason for it – and for all its faults, the existence of the DPB in the first place. So the whole thing is starting to develop a whiff of ‘barefoot and pregnant’ about it.

    It’s worth noting that America’s most hypocritical welfare reformist, Newt Gingrich, is himself a deadbeat dad.

    Comment by deepred — May 10, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

  57. Ahh, Milt the moron and his “free” contraceptives.

    Here’s an idea.

    What say we get the government to supply everyone with not only free contraceptives, but free houses, free education and free cars and free clothing and free food and free fuel. (Just for starters)

    What an incredible standard of living and spending power we would then all have.

    Politicians are such great people giving us all this free stuff.

    We should have more of them too.

    And government. Lets make it as big as we can. The bigger the gummint, the more free stuff.

    How could we lose???

    Comment by Redbaiter — May 12, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

  58. Oh yes, it’s not actually “free,” is it? The govt has to find the million bucks it’s forking out on it from somewhere, and they’ll get it from us! How could I have forgotten that? What a fool I was, thinking “free” is a commonly-used term to mean something the recipient isn’t required to pay for.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 12, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

  59. You’re as bad as any cheap cynical second hand car salesman giving away a “free” TV with every sale.

    You sell socialism to a gullible under-educated underclass with the same selfish dishonest amoral technique.

    Comment by Redbaiter — May 13, 2012 @ 8:30 am

  60. Thanks for your constructive criticism. Our under-educated underclass deserves better, and I shall attempt to improve my technique.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 13, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  61. In New Zealand the “under-educated underclass rejected socialism at the last poll thereby refutting Redbaiter’s claim. However the “under-educated” underclass would be quick to seize the oppotunity of a free 40′ LCD tv.

    Comment by Harriet — May 14, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

  62. Cheers, Rhino, it’s reassuring to know that i’s not just my IE causing me problems.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — May 14, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

  63. CF @62 You’re welcome. I’ve noticed similar problems with other WordPress blogs as well.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — May 14, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  64. Vibe is a tax-payer funded organisation that last year received more than $1.4 million in Government funding. It often ran short of cash and was repeatedly penalised by Inland Revenue for filing late returns. Senior staff were sometimes paid late. Twice in January 2008, Coulston “loaned” $30,000 of her own money to cover the wages bill. At the same time, thousands of dollars were spent on staff meetings in cafes, gym memberships, leaving gifts and parties.

    Comment by Panama — May 27, 2012 @ 8:39 am

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