Robin Grieve: Welfare root of problem

By Robin Grieve

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The automatic response by most to what has emotionally been labelled child poverty has been to criticise the Government for not doing enough and to urge it to do more. True solutions however are more likely to lie with the Government doing less.

People on low incomes would immediately benefit were the Government to stop doing things which take money out of their pockets. Welfare payments that are universal, such as superannuation and paid parental leave, are prime examples of these. Welfare for the wealthy schemes take money off people who cannot afford it, and give it to people who don't need it. KiwiSaver is another example, with the very generous taxpayer contributions funded by those who cannot afford to be in the scheme given to those who don't need to be in it.

Dumping the pointless and ineffective emission trading scheme will make petrol and electricity and just about everything else cheaper, and reducing the role of central and local government will reduce taxation and regulation and free the entrepreneurs to innovate and create wealth for themselves and others with much-needed jobs.

The real benefit of reducing the role of government is that welfare policies reward poor choices, and by doing so they encourage them. Government schemes that assume a parent's responsibility to feed their children and house their family encourage abdication of personal responsibility.

The more the Government does, the more it will need to do.

Of course the Government has a role in helping people who can not provide for themselves, but destroying their hopes and aspirations with addictive handouts is not the compassionate help they deserve.

Living in poverty is usually the result of choices people have made. Successive governments have allowed them these choices. No Government should encourage people to have children when they do not have the ability to provide for them.

All children deserve parents who have been empowered to accept their responsibilities and who have the ability to make good choices. The more the Government does for them, the less likely it is that they will.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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