Paula Bennett will be wishing she had listened to Alf.
He advised her not to go soft and wimpish by offering free long-term contraception for beneficiaries and their daughters.
Someone was bound to squawk in protest.
And because squawking in protest was inevitable – well, bugger it, let’s give ’em something to squawk about.
So long as women are pocketing welfare benefits, let’s ensure they do not spawn a new generation of beneficiaries.
No, not by compulsory sterilisation. That would be apt to have the critics denounce we Nats as Nazis.
But we could put female beneficiaries of child-bearing age into chastity belts, to be removed when they secured jobs and incomes that weaned them off the benefit.
The unstated intention (after all) is to stop the fecund buggers from adding to beneficiary numbers.
Paula raised various objections and went ahead with her own scheme, which she announced yesterday.
And sure enough, today her policy is being being labelled an insult and intrusive to women’s right to have children.
There’s just no pleasing lefties and greenies.
One account of the hullabaloo is to be found here.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett yesterday said contraception would eventually be fully funded for female beneficiaries and their 16 to 19-year-old daughters.
The move was part of the first round of controversial welfare reforms that would cost the Government $287.5 million over four years, including $81.5m of new money.
And what gratitude has Paula been show for this rare demonstration of Key Government generosity and largesse at a time when we are pulling in our belts?
None (inevitably) from Auckland Action Against Poverty spokeswoman Sue Bradford.
This morning she is acknowledging the contraception is voluntary (Alf would have made it compulsory for welfare bludgers).
But she then says it is “totally unacceptable” for the Government to get involved in women’s reproduction.
“Most New Zealand women will not accept that. It’s because beneficiaries are seen as people who are worth less than others,” she said.
Bradford said the Government was persuading women to take contraception through sanctions, such as having beneficiaries who have an additional child on the benefit to look for work when that child was one.
“We believe that women in this country have the right to control their own reproduction,” she said.
Paula is insisting young women will not be coerced to get a contraception implant.
“It’s not compulsory, it’s just something to add to them trying to plan their family so they’ve got choices. It’s completely reasonable.”
But we all know about Sue Bradford’s idea of reasonable.
Anyway, Paula went on to say she often heard young women could not afford contraception.
“There is often an additional cost. Some are subsidised, some are not and it depends on what is best for you and your body as to what you take,” she told Radio New Zealand.
Actually, Alf thinks the best thing about all this came from John Key.
It is quoted in the same Stuff report cited above.
Prime Minister John Key told TV3’s Firstline programme that young people often engaged in sexual activity and the Government was trying to make sure the outcome was in their hands.
Alf missed the TV3 interview.
But he did hear this astonishing pile of pap from Radio NZ.
Beneficiary advocates are calling a Government subsidy for women on the benefit to get contraception insulting and barbaric.
This report explained that, in its first phase of welfare reform, the Government had set aside $1 million to pay medical appointments for women wanting long-term contraception, such as implants or intra-uterine devices or IUDs.
The subsidy will be available to female dependents of beneficiaries aged 16 to 18 years from July, and for all other female beneficiaries from mid-October.
But the Beneficiary Advisory Service in Christchurch says targeting beneficiaries is insulting.
Spokesperson Rebecca Occleston says the Government is implying people on the benefit are deliberately having children to get more money – and that is offensive.
The Beneficiaries, Advocacy and Information Service in Auckland is pleased contraception is not being made mandatory, but says
…the move is still barbaric and unnecessary.
Manager Pam Apera says the majority of people she deals with do not keep having children to stay on the benefit.
Legislation to make the changes for the first stage of the welfare is before Parliament.
We still have time to put Alf’s ideas into effect.
He notes that, if the Government gets in its bid, it could pick up some Leather Chastity Panties from ebay.
The ad says they
Have a Steel Ring In the Front, You Can Attach Chains or So
For Female Use
The starting bid is $US11.99.
With a budget of $1 million or so, you could pick up a big bundle of them.
Enough to clamp a pair around the reproductive bits of every beneficiary woman of child-bearing age, with several left over as spares.