The Dim-Post

October 11, 2012

Nostalgia for failure

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:10 am

Today the government releases its white paper for helping vulnerable children. Felix from NewsTalkZB complains on Twitter:

Social Development Minister was able to give embargoed i/vs to newspapers on white paper. Declined to do the same for us and others.

And Sue Bradford replied:

Yes, I can’t help but wonder what strategy is driving Bennett to so unwisely favour some media over others.

Yes – why indeed? Maybe there’s some clue hidden within the text of the Fairfax story:

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett puts her mouth where her heart is: that too many Kiwi kids are failed, but that we can do much better.

“The day I got offered the job of Minister of Social Development the first thing I said to the prime minister on the phone, at 9pm on a Sunday, was ‘does it include Child, Youth and Family?’

The former solo mum has a clear idea of what she wants and how to get it. She’ll listen, but once a plan is set in motion there’s no stopping the determined Waitakere MP.


Anyway . . .

The cornerstone of the Government’s plan is raising awareness of the signs of child abuse and neglect, and urging people to report it.

A Child Protect telephone line is planned for concerned neighbours, family, friends and professionals to ring when they suspect a child is being badly treated.

Comments made to the phone line, and information gathered by government and community organisations, would be entered into a Vulnerable Kids Information System to track those deemed at risk.

Which reminds me of my time back at IBM in the mid 1990s. It was a failing company – for a variety of reasons – and one of them was that management’s solutions to every conceivable problem was to ‘raise worker awareness’ by building a tracking database and putting it on the intranet.

Also, I’ll try and update the tracking poll today. Many more results like yesterday’s Roy Morgan and we’ll get to see Bennett’s plan to help solo mums out of benefit dependency by stoning them to death in soccer stadiums.


  1. Bennett’s plan to help solo mums out of benefit dependency by stoning them to death in soccer stadiums.
    Do we have any soccer stadiums ?

    Comment by ihstewart — October 11, 2012 @ 8:49 am

  2. Comments made to the phone line, and information gathered by government and community organisations, would be entered into a Vulnerable Kids Information System to track those deemed at risk.

    Several salient points were noted on RNZ this morning:

    (i) Consolidation of disparate databases of information is unlikely to assist in identifying cases as abuse as families where this is occurring already tend to be under the remit of one agency or another
    (ii) No further funding is proposed to at the case worker level – while the information might be there, no further capacity has been allocated to deal with the cases
    (ii) Limited mention is made in the white paper detailing the causal issues related to violence against children

    Comment by Gregor W — October 11, 2012 @ 8:56 am

  3. Bennet dismissed poverty as simply ‘an excuse’ this morning on Breakfast tv….

    Comment by max — October 11, 2012 @ 8:58 am

  4. She is right.
    Is poverty a valid reason to abuse your children?

    Comment by King Kong — October 11, 2012 @ 9:14 am

  5. It’s not a reason, but could be a cause.

    Comment by Uno — October 11, 2012 @ 9:42 am

  6. It would tasteless in this context to talk about killing two birds with one stone, but there you go…

    As every New Zealand economist is so careful to keep reminding us, sports stadia (stadiums…whatever) are a waste of taxpayer money. Holding public stonings could tip the financial balance in favour of having them built. .

    Comment by billbennettnz — October 11, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

  7. On the policy side of things, has anyone heard any word on privacy rules with this database? eg. How long will the government be holding collated and possibly unverified hearsay claims from members of the public about other individuals before it’s destroyed, who has access, and how else it might be used in future?

    I can certainly think of plenty of ways that it might be mis-used many years in the future.

    Comment by MikeM — October 11, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

  8. Are you suggesting that Paula Bennett might use private information she has access to as a Minister for political gain? Thats slanderous

    Comment by BeShakey — October 11, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

  9. “Bennett said the White Paper didn’t claim to address child poverty.

    “I was always blatantly targeting these most vulnerable, abused and neglected children in this country and that’s what this piece of work was always about.””

    I don’t know how you tackle child abuse without tackling child poverty.

    Comment by James W — October 11, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  10. @9 That is why you aren’t the Minister of Bene Bashing

    Comment by Andrew R — October 11, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

  11. It’s not “poverty” that causes people to abuse their children. Well, maybe, in a few cases it is, but it’s more likely to do with factors such as segregation and ostracism, two awful things that are being encouraged by Bennett by targeting kids from underprivileged families.

    A lot of issues arise as to how her plans will be set into motion. Will those targeted be the right ones? Will there be any actual assistance to them, or merely more pen pushing and ticking of boxes?

    Comment by Dan — October 11, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  12. @ #11: Instead of public toilet signs reading ‘white’ and ‘colored’, we’d probably be seeing signs reading, ‘taxpayers’ and ‘non-taxpayers’.

    Comment by DeepRed — October 11, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

  13. the fairfax spin has the fingerprints resembling those of richard long, karl du fresne and/or hartevelt all over it.

    Once again Bennet is trotted out to divert attention away from embarrassing problems.

    For a change she is not bennie bashing (well almost ,not quite.)

    Cough! indeed!

    Comment by peterlepaysan — October 11, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

  14. You forgot the third sign “elite non-taxpayers”, which is air conditioned and carpeted in red velvet.

    Comment by Dan — October 11, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

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