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Friday, July 28, 2006

Yee gads 

In the wake of the Kahui disaster, there's been a lot of reporting like this. Not entirely dis-similar from US-style "underclass" reporting circa 1995, but with somewhat less emphasis on crime, and somewhat more sympathy towards both those involved and (non-carceral) state intervention. There's plenty of home-spun "solutions" being offered:

When parents take their children to school or preschool, he would like them to be able to see a Plunket or public nurse, a dental nurse, a social worker, a budget adviser, a drug and alcohol counsellor or a kaumatua, and state agencies such as Work and Income and Child, Youth and Family.

"For example, get Work and Income to help with school uniforms. Families will come in who are entitled to a Work and Income allowance but they have to go to the middle of town to get it paid. They need to have offices that are smaller and more community-oriented."

On the first point, a school is not a one-stop shop for every state-provided social service. Nor is it a panacea for all of society's ills (as some in the left would have it). Nor is it the cause of those ills (as some in the right would have it). It is a place that tries to teach children skills and values deemed necessary for them to be economically productive members of society.

On the second point: really?? If you can't be assed to get off your chuff and go from suburban Rotorua to central Rotorua (we're not talking Papakura to Auckland Central here!) to collect the social entitlements you're eligible for (i.e., those things provided by others, basically for free) then you probably don't deserve them. Who knows if this is urban legend though. Sooner or later the prospect of an entitlement will get most people off the couch, one presumes.

Some low income families can even get Work and Income to pay for over night school fieldtrips. We had a student who was paying that way. It's all confidential of course apart from those who need to know.

Interesting because there are other families who weren't eligible who can't afford to send their kids on these fieldtrips.

When money is available and being used for such things though then I think that is really hitting its intended mark.

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