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Speaker: My People

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  • Sacha,

    She has 8 - the last of whom are twins. Now, she and her husband are self employed. They bring in quite a lot of dosh. Imagine if he or she died. Imagine if their business turned to shit.

    Jackie, I believe you're conflating supporting children who already exist with incentivising new ones. Of course the existing 8 children should be supported in that scenario. But does that mean automatic entitlement for a supported new 9th one? Especially if it's to make the surviving parent feel better.

    How do you think other members of society might think about that proposition? Again, I'm talking about competing claims, not about whether there's a basic right to reproduce or about what makes a good parent.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Sasha, I don't believe you are talking about eugenics, but using arguments based in biology as some justification one way or another with regards to reproductive rights makes me and, it would seem, others very uncomfortable.

    To step back for a moment, I have to agree with Danielle:

    Funnily enough, I am finding it hugely difficult to give the merest smidge of a fuck about this heinous breeding-n-rorting problem.

    I don't think this is a real problem we need to deal with.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    How exactly would 'parental licences' be enforced, without crossing some kind of moral event horizon?

    And in Europe there's all sorts of consiracy paranoia about the 'revenge of the cradle' and 'Eurabia' amongst certain hardline circles, such as Geert Wilders and Bat Ye'or. Surprisingly, the self-proclaimed libertarian Wilders is known to favour a tax or ban on headscarves.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Thank you, Martin. Never my intent to offend.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    How do you think other members of society might think about that proposition? Again, I'm talking about competing claims, not about whether there's a basic right to reproduce or about what makes a good parent.

    I feel fine. Next!

    Slightly more seriously, we do a lot of things that might be seen as creating a sort of moral hazard -- treating smokers for lung cancer gratis, paying ACC to rugby players who break their necks -- because it's easier to administer and no more unfair than the likely outcome of some sort of micro-managing rigour. An excessive focus on fairness can actually create worse outcomes for everyone.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    How do you think other members of society might think about that proposition?

    Well, OK, let me get a bit more meta. Why do we always have to frame our arguments in terms of making some niggardly, meanspirited douche grudgingly accept something? Why can't we just say 'fuck that guy! He's an asshole!'?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Why do we always have to frame our arguments in terms of making some niggardly, meanspirited douche grudgingly accept something?

    Because I want to have these discussions with open-minded thinking nice people so I can understand the complexities of the issues.

    If we don't have these discussions then the only time I ever have them is with assholes and then it isn't a discussion but simply an argument.


    On that note I apologise in advance for the multiple posts that follow but you guys raised some really cool thoughts that are worth following.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Ok I have a niggle about these reproductive rights. As far as I can tell there is no such thing. There is a reproductive ability, which is not equal at all, I have friends who struggled to reproduce at all and it had nothing to do with the laws or benefits.

    If you are referring about some natural right to have lots of babies then are you including or excluding the right to die in natural childbirth etc etc. The point is reproducing is a responsibility and and not a right. It isn’t something to protected legally.

    What is to be protected is the child. Which is where this began.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Why do we always have to frame our arguments in terms of making some niggardly, meanspirited douche grudgingly accept something? Why can't we just say 'fuck that guy! He's an asshole!'?

    Oh, sometimes we can. Usually when we don't need to persuade such people politically or personally to consent to a shared course of action. Or when there are aren't many of them.

    If we don't have these discussions then the only time I ever have them is with assholes

    True. Although I don't want to upset people here for the sake of a discussion either. Maybe spent too much time over last few days working at abstracted population health level.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Are we suffering from a surplus of children in the country? No.

    I agree this country has no surplus. But I disagree that this planet has no surplus. I am reluctant to ignore the planet as a whole simply because our little bit of it is jus’ fine. I'd also note that almost everything we describe as being good about New Zealand is as a direct result of our population being low.

    While I’ll argue vehemently that we ought to provide better for all the children regardless of how big the family is, I’ll also argue that those people who do have big families are doing some harm to our planet – less harm than any merchant banker but more harm than a family of 2 or 3 children.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Surely we don't think only fecund parents will be rorting the system?

    But that’s not the point. They aren’t rorting the system they are rorting the children, intentionally or unintentionally. Our tendency is to focus solutions on the parents, by taxation or benefits. I argue if you focus the solution on the children most of those discussions about mythical rorting of the system become moot.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    You may be opposed to eugenics, but unfortunately, your arguments seem to suggest that you aren't.

    Unfair Jackie. Sasha has been really clear and his arguments are nothing like eugenics.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The point is reproducing is a responsibility and and not a right. It isn’t something to protected legally.

    I believe it is actually protected. Just subject to balance against other rights.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    his arguments are nothing like eugenics

    Apparently they sound closer than I would like them to. I welcome help avoiding that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    While I’ll argue vehemently that we ought to provide better for all the children regardless of how big the family is, I’ll also argue that those people who do have big families are doing some harm to our planet – less harm than any merchant banker but more harm than a family of 2 or 3 children.

    All things being equal, but then no things are equal. We've been stereotyping about families with multiple children being of a lower socioeconomic extraction, and poorer people are more planet friendly. They travel less, they own fewer cars, they eat less veal, they use less power. But then we are back to the accounting, aren't we? Shall we get people to trade their Suzuki Grand Vitara or their job as merchant bankers for the right to an extra child?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    If we keep improving productivity, sustainability and the effectiveness of social supports then none of this matters.

    It's a sign to me that we're falling into the same trap as Bill English by focusing only on costs rather than using our shared strengths to increase opportunities and value. Mindset is what interests me most.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    The speakers on the PAS go round and round, round and round, round and round. Just thought I'd add that to be helpful :)

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    I’ll also argue that those people who do have big families are doing some harm to our planet – less harm than any merchant banker but more harm than a family of 2 or 3 children

    So a family with no children would be even better for the planet? Or maybe we should all kill ourselves to achieve the best outcome for the planet?

    This accounting is just so stupid! Maybe we could see children as something other than a liability or a cost to society.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Without children, we have no continuance - just like every other species on the planet - except: genes can flow on if your siblings have children...

    I have no children. I've never wanted to have children, being the kind of human I am - BUT! Some of my sibs have had children - these are my nieces (only 2 unfortunately) and nephews (quite a lot, goodoh!) And their children have - are -will be- having children.

    Cool! The family lines continue.

    I just find the the 3 kids/no kids/only some if you can support 'em/none, if you cant /arguments really really stupid - good people, evolution simply doesnt take these matters aboard.*


    *Actually, evolution being a process doesnt take __Anything__aboard, but it does reaallly work...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Maybe we could see children as something other than a liability or a cost to society.

    Yeah, it's all a bit too "save the rainforest, sterilise a Brazilian".

    Still, having spent rather a lot of time lately visiting at the old folks' home, I'm noticing how at least 50% of the carers are from somewhere other than NZ. And the demographic bulge hasn't even hit there yet.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Jackie, I've just found up the cheatsheet I used for 'ough'- that kid may find it helpful.
    (I made it for me when I was 11)

    through
    thorough
    trough
    thought
    though
    tough
    bough
    lough

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Joe, what should be factored in is the family care thing - we do look after our own - but frequently, we need support from the state.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    If we keep improving productivity, sustainability and the effectiveness of social supports then none of this matters.

    It's a sign to me that we're falling into the same trap as Bill English by focusing only on costs rather than using our shared strengths to increase opportunities and value. Mindset is what interests me most.

    For lack of a better - and succinct term - we can call it 'investment cringe'. It started with Muldoon's Dancing Cossacks, followed by the 1987 Crash, the bankruptcy of DFC, and Fay Richwhite's Grand Theft NZ.

    One symptom of investment cringe is cargo cultism, whereby we all wait for the next Merrill Lynch or Warner Bros to deliver us to salvation. Another major symptom is racing to the bottom while coasting in neutral with no steering wheel or brakes - ie, TranzRail & Telecom under Rod Deane. Yet another symptom is the cartellisation of the housing market by the Black Monday Club.

    KiwiSaver, the NZSF, and the Sam Morgans of this world have begun challenging the orthodoxy, but they're still a minority tune amidst the cacophony. And the first two are in danger of being drowned out by it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    - we do look after our own - but frequently, we need support from the state.

    Once it's down to palliative care, the state is pretty much the only option for me and mine. Even if I knew where to buy morphine, my abilities don't extend beyond pushing the buzzer when the little light on the pump starts flashing. I just hope that no-one back in Fiji is missing out, because so many of their angelic young women seem to be doing indispensable work relieving the suffering of our own elderly.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    O dear Joe - that's just happened with an elderly great aunt (last one on my father's (unacknowledged) side) -we literally can pay (there is not a direct line descent) or - ignore.

    Since this person despised my mother marrying my father...I am not, in my financially compromised current situation, going to do anything.

    But in the years forgoing, she would've contributed quite a lot to the world out there- not the world here, not the art world, and not anything to do with Maoridom.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

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