It was a tired looking Jacinda Ardern with her "human hot water bottle" draped across her lap telling us on a Facebook video how she designed the $60-a-week baby bonus some years ago on the floor of a friend's home in Hastings.

The most important years of a child's life are the early years, the nursing Prime Minister told us from her lounge, and it's a time in New Zealand when children were facing the most persistent poverty.

So that's the rationale behind it. Trouble is it's paid to everyone when they have a baby, regardless or how much dosh they've got.

And if they don't have much then the payment will go on for three years.


There's an old story about giving a man a fish but not teaching him how to fish.

And that's the trouble with welfare, some get so used to it, that's the only life they know of and indeed are interested in knowing.

This Government is certainly handing out plenty fish but if the recipients can't be bothered learning how bait a hook, or to cast a line there's no need, or compulsion, for them to learn how to.

The father of the welfare state in this country Mickey Joseph Savage this time 80 years ago was steering the Social Security Act through Parliament.

The Act was designed to "safeguard the people of New Zealand from disabilities arising form age, sickness, widowhood, orphanhood, unemployment or other exceptional circumstances."

So it was more of an ambulance on the way down the cliff face rather than one taking its passengers to the supermarket.

One of the opponents of Savage's Act, seen as giving birth to the cradle to grave mentality, said it penalised the thrifty and rewarded the spendthrift. And that's a sentiment that could equally apply today.

It's long been said welfare for the sake of it, without the proper checks and balances, and without any expectation from those receiving it to get off it, simply entrenches the poverty cycle.


Having a baby isn't an exceptional circumstance, it's something all our parents did and admittedly they too got a child allowance but the universality of it was dropped long ago, until now.

It's not as though New Zealand needs to expand it's population, it's doing quite well on that front.

Surely our money they're now spending on baby bonuses would be better spent on something like contraceptive advice, or at least on educating the young on the responsibilities of bringing a baby into the world.

There are already plenty of benefits built into the system for those who refuse to heed advice - it's called the welfare cradle.