Preventing Teen Welfare Dependency Strategy ‘Logical’

Media Release 8 May 2012
Family First NZ says that the government’s attempts to prevent long-term welfare dependency of young people is a laudable objective, and free contraception is just one logical option.

“Up to half of current DPB recipients started on welfare as teenagers, and 20% of women on the DPB have had additional children while on the benefit. While we acknowledge the importance of welfare as a safety net for extreme circumstances, long-term welfare dependency can reduce work effort, can promote the rate of unmarried teen mothers, poverty-prone single-parent families, and reduces marriage rates,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. 

“Offering contraception to teenage mothers to prevent future pregnancies until they are ready for having another child is a logical and common sense approach.”

“Long term welfare dependency harms children through poorer social, health and educational outcomes. There is no evidence that increasing benefits and widening the net of welfare will improve children’s lives. In fact, the opposite is true. The Ministry of Social Development said that substantial research shows that ‘girls who grow up in families that receive welfare are themselves more likely to receive welfare once they are adults’. We need to break this cycle of dependency.” 

However, Family First is rejecting offering the contraception to teenagers simply because they are daughters of beneficiaries. 

“The message we should be sending these teenagers is to promote strong relationships, and delaying sexual activity until they are ready for the consequences. Once again, a common sense and logical message,” says Mr McCoskrie. “This proposal by the government is not ‘beneficiary bashing’. Allowing dysfunction and dependency to harm children and locking families into poverty is the real ‘beneficiary bashing’.”

Family First is hoping that the government will also adopt other proposals aimed at teenagers including:

  • requiring 16 and 17 year old sole parents to undertake training and education, parenting and budgeting programmes free of charge, and for their welfare payments to be managed
  • young people under 18 who receive welfare would be required to live with a responsible adult or adult supervised setting
  • families who are failing to meet the essential needs of their children through neglect or drug or alcohol abuse would receive forms of support including treatment and management of their welfare payments by a third party in order to provide a safe environment for their children
  • requirements that parents ensure their children are attending school and having regular health checks
  • at-risk families with complex needs to be provided with wrap-around services by single integrated providers which address the needs as a whole
  • where there is a clear need for budgeting support because the child or children’s well-bring is put at risk, this may entail a provision of a ‘payment card’ programmes for use only on essential items, to ensure that children’s needs are properly met



35 comments for “Preventing Teen Welfare Dependency Strategy ‘Logical’

  1. Chuck Bird
    7 May 2012 at 1:56 pm

    “However, Family First is rejecting offering the contraception to teenagers simply because they are daughters of beneficiaries.”

    Bob, what you say might be right in theory. However, what if a teenage girl of a beneficiary is already sexual active?

  2. 7 May 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I am disappointed in the government deciding to do this. Contraception is not (usually) medication, and I believe should be paid for by the user, not by the taxpayer. Paula Bennett’s statement that Pharmac already pays for contraception is, I think, misleading in that occasionally contraception is prescribed for therapeutic reasons, rather than for birth-control reasons.

  3. Samuel Dennis
    7 May 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I am horrified to see you supporting the government’s stance, which is specifically aimed at funding “implants or intra-uterine devices”, given your otherwise strong anti-abortion stance. The contraceptives they will be funding, particularly the IUD, work at least partially by preventing conceived babies to implant in the uterus, causing them to die. This is an early abortion – allowing conception then killing the child. Your position on this issue appears completely opposite to your position on abortion, as I had until today thought you believed in a right to life from conception. Please urgently clarify your position on the rights of the unborn.

  4. Bob
    7 May 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Then it doesn’t matter whether they’re a beneficiary or not.

  5. Bob
    7 May 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Isn’t it better to pay nominal price of contraception than costs of long-term welfare dependency with the associated negative outcomes?

  6. Bob
    7 May 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Hi Samuel. Understand your concerns. We are totally pro-life. However, there is some uncertainty around the functioning of IUD’s. Our understanding (and after some discussion with our medical advisors) is that the primary mechanism of IUD’s is currently believed to be the prevention of fertilization. The chemicals in the IUD are thought to change the composition of the natural secretions in the uterus, making it harder for the sperm to reach and fertilize the egg.
    However, we’re open to debate and further info 🙂

  7. Elizabeth
    7 May 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Bob,For a bit more info you can go to this site:
    I suggest you do more research as virtually all forms of contraception are abortifacient. Preventing fertilization may be it’s primary purpose but it doesn’t discount the fact that it can cause an abortion to take place. We are seeing here the beginnings of the battle raging in the US right now over Obama’s health mandate. It may start as a voluntary system but then pressure will be applied and benefits will be cut if the woman doesn’t agree. What about freedom to practice one’s religion? It is totally against my beliefs to use contraception and I will not be forced by the government nor allow them to give this to my daughters.

  8. Samuel Dennis
    7 May 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Both IUDs and hormonal implants work to both prevent fertilisation and to ensure that any fertilised eggs don’t survive. These two mechanisms are acknowledged by all medical experts.

    Where people differ is on what they consider the “primary” mechanism – ie which happens most of the time. A pro-lifer might argue that an IUD kills a baby 80% of the time, and a pro-choicer might argue it only does that 20% of the time for instance. And each of them can say what they like, because there has been no real research to figure it out as far as I am aware. Who would fund that research? The manufacturers won’t as they would prefer the issue was never spoken about, and the pro-life lobby would disagree ethically with using it for a trial in the first place. So the research will probably never be done, and people can continue to claim whatever they like about what is the “primary” mechanism.

    All while ignoring the real issue – is it right to kill any babies at all? Even your own medical advisors, by stating that preventing conception is the “primary” method, acknowledge the existance of the “secondary” method – causing the death of the conceived baby. Whether it occurs more or less than 50% of the time is completely irrelevant. We all know it happens.

    Would you oppose the policy if it would cause a thousand deaths? What about ten? What about just one?

    Because we all know babies will die. None of us know exactly how many, we could invent whatever number we like, but numbers are irrelevant. It’s a question of human life.

    You could have been one of those numbers.

  9. Samuel Dennis
    7 May 2012 at 7:12 pm

    The other point to remember is that there are highly effective contraceptive methods that do not risk any deaths at all – barrier methods (condoms, diaphragms) and natural family planning (modern methods of which are as effective as the pill). So the government could choose to fund methods of controlling family size that were entirely ethical. There is no need to risk the deaths of children to meet the government’s goals.

  10. Bob
    7 May 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Yep – fair point. This strategy is simply OFFERING contraception to prevent further unwanted pregnancies for a teenager. We will certainly be monitoring the ‘coercion’ aspect. But it seems to make sense to avoid a solo teen parent having more babies. Surely that’s in the best interests of all concerned – including the children!?

  11. Samuel Dennis
    7 May 2012 at 8:50 pm

    So it’s better for a solo teen parent’s children to be killed in her uterus than to be born and have a chance of life, however poor?

    Which would you choose if YOU were the child?

  12. Bob
    7 May 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Of course not!

    Many pro-life people believe that these contraceptives prevent entry to the uterus – it’s primary function

    But I acknowledge that there is debate on that issue.

    It’s not as clear cut as RU486 which is clearly post-conception

  13. Elizabeth
    7 May 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Just one baby killed from the mother using this device should be enough for a pro-life person to stand up and say no, this is not a good thing. I think that even though it’s ‘primary function’ is to prevent fertilization, it does not prevent ovulation, therefore there is a chance of conception and that’s where the other functions of the IUD come in to play by making the womb inhospitable to a fertilized egg. In my book that is killing a baby. Whichever way you look at it these methods are not 100% effective in preventing conception, (or for that matter pregnancy), so ineffect the tax payer will be paying for women to receive contraception that is abortifacient. This is contrary to my beliefs as well(and many Christian people would agree with me), it means everyone who pays taxes will be complicit in abortion. I do not expect it to be a truly voluntary scheme and anyone who does has no knowledge of history or what is happening in the US. This is the slippery slope and if it is allowed then the future looks bleak. The government is sending a very clear and strong message with this and also with the euthanasia issue that some humans are valued less than others and that they are the ones who will decide who is worthy to live.

  14. Bob
    7 May 2012 at 10:22 pm

    All the more reason to promote abstinence and marriage! See you at the Forum on the Family then 🙂

  15. Samuel Dennis
    7 May 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Why would we bother coming if it’s clear that the organisers don’t even care about the lives of children?

    Think carefully about this Bob. There is very little debate on this issue among pro-lifers. You are holding an untenable and contradictory position that is going to cause a lot of trouble for Family First if you attempt to keep it, by alienating you from many key supporters. Even the Conservative party is opposing this policy.

    Last chance to withdraw this press release before the majority of your supporters finish tea and open their emails.

  16. Bob
    7 May 2012 at 11:28 pm

    The Conservative party are opposing it because they don’t think the taxpayer should be paying!!!

    Here’s a good summary which highlights that there is still debate on this issue. It shows that pro-life people can still support certain contraceptives

  17. Samuel Dennis
    7 May 2012 at 11:46 pm

    A second very valid reason to also oppose it.

    Christians can certainly use some contraceptives, I completely agree. But there is no real debate among pro-lifers around the IUD. It’s just far too risky. And that is the point both myself and Elizabeth are trying to help you see.

    I’m being blunt because I care about the success of you and your organisation, you are critical to conservative debate in this country.

  18. Bob
    8 May 2012 at 12:07 am

    We are supporting contraception – but there are a number of options for men and women as to what they use

    Our debate with you today has highlighted that we will definitely promote the non- questionable ones (preventing ones) while noting emerging research (as per the positioning statement of Focus)

    Thats why we have consistently and loudly opposed RU486, supported
    parental notification, promoted informed consent, supported action against the Supervisory Committee, promoted pro-life members of the committee, and highlighted the statistics around the number of teen abortions each year.

    Enjoy your dinner 🙂

  19. Samuel Dennis
    8 May 2012 at 12:33 am

    Focus conclude quite rightly that ALL hormonal methods are questionable enough to require further research before we can be certain that they are safe. Glad to hear you won’t be supporting questionable methods…

    You have a good dinner too!

  20. Bob
    8 May 2012 at 2:06 am

    The jury is still out on “combined” oral contraceptives – as per the positioning paper.

  21. Samuel Dennis
    8 May 2012 at 2:32 am


  22. Rosjier
    9 May 2012 at 1:06 am

    I agree with Samuel – I am horrified you would support this. Handing out contraceptives is no way to promote abstinence and marriage not to mention the sacredness of sex and the sanctity of life.

    Please withdraw your support, or as a matter of conscience I (and I’m guessing some others) will withdraw my support from you and family first.

  23. Bob
    9 May 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Giving contraceptives to young teenagers who already have babies and may have more as solo parents seems a common sense approach to exceptional circumstance.

    We have consistently and loudly opposed RU486, supported parental notification, promoted informed consent, supported action against the Supervisory Committee, promoted pro-life members of the committee, and highlighted the statistics around the number of teen abortions each year.

    We have also promoted marriage and abstinence (one of the major themes of the Forum on the Family this year).

  24. Chuck Bird
    9 May 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Rosjier, I wonder if you have seriously thought what you are trying to achieve. I was introduced to Bob by a friend some years ago. I am not a Christian but believe in the main things Bob is promoting – the family unit and marriage. I respect Christian’s point of view and most Christians I know respect mine. Unfortunately, there is a fanatic minority who are antagonistic towards agnostics and even other Christians who do not completely agree with them.

    It certainly appears to me that Bob has bent over backwards to address Samuel’s concerns. That does not appear to be good enough for you. You not only threaten to withdraw your support but implicitly are encouraging others to do so if you cannot have your own way.

    Bob politely tries to address your concerns. I really wonder what planet you are from. We have a 17 year old girl who is sexually active. Her mother and grandmother were teenage mothers and beneficiaries all their lives. As well as being sexually active she drinks a lot. What chance have you or anyone else of convincing her of the sacredness of sex and practicing abstinence till Prince Charming comes along?

    Supplying a girl like this is entirely different than schools supply contraceptives to underage schoolgirls, many not sexually active without parents knowledge is an entirely different matter.

    I have been to most if not all the Family First Forums. I have also made a modest monthly donation to Family First. I do not agree with everything Bob says. Sometimes I say something. Sometimes I don’t. However, there is a lot more I agree with like his promotion of marriage and opposing false and dangerous sex “education” in schools than I disagree with. As a financial supported I have seen the accounts. I can say that it appears Bob is not doing what he is doing for the money.

    I think we should be supporting him not publicly undermining him because we cannot have everything our one way.

  25. Rosjier
    11 May 2012 at 12:05 am

    However what this is proposing is the exact opposite of promoted informed consent. Are these women going to be told about the dangers of long term usage of the pill; the increased risk of breast cancer, the chances of becoming infertile, and the psychological effects of taking this drug? I severely doubt it, and yet you don’t see it as contradictory – I don’t get it.

    Not being able to see the immorality of contraception is one thing, but the promotion of this eugenics program is entirely another and is going too far.

  26. Rosjier
    11 May 2012 at 12:38 am

    Hi Chuck,

    Thank you for your comments.
    Firstly I would like Bob to change his stance on this issue, or failing that keep it as his private opinion and not involve Family First in this.

    I do respect your views, Bob’s views and Family Firsts. I agree that there is a fanatic minority who are antagonistic towards agnostics. This is sad.

    He tries to address my concerns – yes, but unfortunately this is not something my conscience allows me to monetarily support.

    As I am only a parent of two kids under two, I will not comment on a situation of having a sexually active teen.

    I am glad that you have been to all of the forums, I am glad you find it a worthy cause to support. I am sure I agree with bob on 100% of the issues he raises except: “We are supporting contraception.”
    If Bob fails to see why, I am more than happy to explain, either here or in a more private conversation. Unfortunately for me though, this is a non-negotiable issue.
    As I believe:
    1.) An end does not justify the means. (even in extreme circumstances)
    2.) Contraception is intrinsically evil
    3.) Therefore it can never be promoted (even in extreme circumstances)
    I am sure you disagree with my second premise, and by all means you and everyone else who disagrees, continue to support Family First and Bob. I did not mean for it to be a threat, but more of a pleading with him to change if not his personal conviction, then simply the fact that Family First is not silent on this issue. If you both feel a private conversation is more apt for this type of discussion I am even happy to delete these comments when we start that. However I don’t see the need as my first comment was moderated.

  27. Chuck Bird
    11 May 2012 at 2:23 am

    Hi Rosjier, It is hard to know where to start. While Family First is not a political party it is trying to bring about social change for the good and try and prevent more anti family legislation. In my view there are a couple of reason groups like Family First have less influence than they could have. The first is because of internal disagreements. The second is that when they are too many people like you who are what many consider extreme fundamentalists in a group in drives away moderate conservatives.

    This applies even more to conservative political parties. I do not know if you are a member of the Conservative Party. Regardless, try putting yourself in Bob or Colin’s place. Suppose you say I am happy with all of you polices but this one. If you do not change it you have lost my support. Let us say you are talking to Colin and he says please do not leave and gives in. Then what happens when the next person say the same thing over another issue?

    You say, “Contraception is intrinsically evil 3.) Therefore it can never be promoted (even in extreme circumstances).” I think I can safely assume you have a similar view on abortion. We occasionally hear of cases where an 11 girl has got pregnant due to rape and the Catholic Church strongly opposes abortion. The Church gets widely condemned. I do not know Bob’s view exactly on this sort of situation or Colin’s either. Suppose Colin agrees with the Church that any abortion is murder even in a case like this. Also suppose that this is 2014 and the Conservative Party is polling just on 5%. There would no doubt be a few members of the Conservative Party who would share that view and tell Colin what they think he should do. Do you think he should strongly support the Catholic Church and lose the election?

    As I said there are things that Bob says I disagree with. But the reality is that most of what Bob says will not change legislation. The legislation to supply contraceptive to beneficiaries is in place. It has wide public support and I am sure that would include many Christians. If Family First were to take your position what would be achieved? In my view less than nothing. The legislation would stay in place and Family First would have less support from the public on other issues.

    I will be coming to Forum on the Family and maybe bring some more. I hope you consider that fact that other supporter of Family First may not be happy with some of Bob’s public statements and realise if things going to change. I am glad to hear that Colin have changed his view on policies being non negotiable.

    It is okay for your view to be non-negotiable. No one is trying to change it. However, it is unrealistic for supporters to make non-negotiable demands on Bob.

  28. Bob
    11 May 2012 at 2:53 am

    The immorality of contraception??!!


  29. Chuck Bird
    11 May 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Rosjier, I have one more question for you. What is your real full name? Bob and I for that matter use our names. On other forums where contributors are not so civil I have had plenty of abuse and even on occasion threats for my stand against militant homosexual activist who want to diddle with the minds of schools children.

  30. Rosjier
    14 May 2012 at 12:20 am

    Thank you for your honest reply.
    I see exactly where you are coming from, and fully agree with all your logic, except where you say that I cannot have a non-negotiable stance on issues. As I said in my last comment, even if Bob didn’t reverse his position on this issue, he still has the choice of remaining silent. I do not think that saying “no comment” will lose him support. There are many issues he could disagree with me on and not lose my support. If he was not in favour of home-schooling I would disagree, but still support him, or not in favour of rising the drinking age, or in favour of anti-smacking or bringing corporal punishment back into schools, or even the death penalty in extreme circumstances. These are negotiable issues, and I have a feeling Bob agrees with me on all of them. But it is true, as you say if someone supports a non-negotiable issue such as abortion or contraception or euthanasia I am bound by my conscience not to support them. Because an end does not justify a means, therefore if your means is intrinsically evil it does not matter what good may come about you cannot choose that means.
    My name full name is Rosjier A.F. Hall

  31. Rosjier
    14 May 2012 at 12:25 am

    Well Bob, I am a Catholic, Is it that surprising we would support you?

    I’m happy to explian the immorality of it to you if you like.

    What I don’t get is you are more suprised at that than me saying you are supporting a eugenics program.

  32. Tony Broad
    3 June 2012 at 3:44 am

    I am devastated that you and Family First are promoting contraception!

    It seems that Family First tries to hide its original Christian underpinnings these days, but I did not realise that you had jettisoned them completely.

    Back in 1968, Pope Paul VI eloquently explained what is wrong with contraception: “The fundamental nature of the marriage act, while uniting husband and wife in the closest intimacy, also renders them capable of generating new life—and this as a result of laws written into the actual nature of man and of woman. And if each of these essential qualities, the unitive and the procreative, is preserved, the use of marriage fully retains its sense of true mutual love and its ordination to the supreme responsibility of parenthood to which man is called. We believe that our contemporaries are particularly capable of seeing that this teaching is in harmony with human reason.”

    This truth hasn’t changed in the intervening period.

    The Pope also warned:
    “Responsible individuals will quickly see the truth of the Church’s teaching (about contraception), if they consider what consequences will follow from the methods of contraception and the reasons given for the use of contraception… They should first consider how easy it will be (for many) to justify behaviour leading to marital infidelity or to a gradual weakening in the discipline of morals. Not much experience is needed to understand human weakness and to comprehend that human beings, especially the young, are so susceptible to temptation that they need to be encouraged to keep the moral law. It is wrong to make it easy for them to violate this law.”

    I don’t need to explain to you of all people how these prophetic insights have come to pass in the increased availability of pornography, the breakdown of marriage, implementation of abortion, normalisation of homosexuality, decriminalisation of prostitution, etc, etc.

    So it is distressing to see you blithely supporting precisely the thin end of the wedge (or the first step on the slippery slope) that led to where we are now.

    Family First should stand for no pre-marital sex, no sex outside marriage, natural family planning, no abortion.

    Apart from this fundamental argument based upon God’s immutable law regarding all artificial methods of birth control, you also should consider that the contraceptive pill in particular is a very harmful option:
    • The pill kills babies;
    • The pill harms and kills women;
    • The pill harms the environment.

    Of special note is the fact that combined oral contraceptives often work through causing an abortion, i.e., denying access by the developing human being to the nutrients it needs, therefore starving and killing it.

    By supporting this form of abortifacient, you forgo any grounds for objecting to morning after pills or medical abortions (RU486). It is a small step then to accepting surgical abortions.

    I hope you can see why I am concerned!

    Please consider a retraction and get Family First back to its foundations.

  33. Tony Broad
    3 June 2012 at 4:07 am

    Note to Elizabeth: NZ taxpayers are already funding abortions – 16,000+ per year, so all taxpayers are already complicit in paying for abortions. We should pray for God’s mercy for that sin every day. We don’t have an option to opt out. I don’t recall whether any debate about conscientious objection to such funding happened in NZ back in the 70s (I was in high school at the time and don’t recall). So in NZ we have already lost the debate that is occurring in the US now.

  34. Elizabeth
    3 June 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Hi Tony,
    Thanks for your point and you are quite right about tax-payer funding of abortion here. Right now however there is not a lot we can do about that I don’t think. We do have a chance to turn the tide though with this contraception ‘law’. If we stand up together and send a clear message to the govt. then we may have a chance of making an impact and then go from there. We could grow the movement like it is in the UK and hopefully get to the point where we can object to the funding of abortion and be heard. It is so heartening to see all that is happening in the US and the UK by the pro-life movement, I have joined ProLifeBook to keep up with the news. I would say a lot of Americans had no idea that Planned Parenthood was cheating the nation of it’s tax dollars for abortion services but now it is all coming to light and the Obama mandate has been the wake up call. I hope this new ‘idea’ from our govt. will be our wake up call, it is sorely needed so the little ones being killed every week have a voice.

  35. Bob
    3 June 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Sorry Tony. We are not a Catholic organization. As stated in our trust deed, we will speak from a family friendly perspective with an emphasis on the Judeo-Christian values which have benefited New Zealand for generations.

    Simply because we believe in contraception (which even pro-life doctors acknowledge that the jury is still out on whether some of them are abortifacients) does not disqualify our core values, as you contend. Nor does it negate the huge impact we have had on the family issues and pro-life issues in the public domain

    We will have to agree to disagree on this issue. But we will continue to fight for the rights of the unborn child and the welfare of the mother.

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