Tuesday, April 04, 2017

National's creepy eugenics plan fails

Back in 2012, the National government decided that right-wing extremists fantasies of the poor "breeding for business" were a sound basis for policy, and decided to use WINZ to do something about it, by making free long-term contraception available to beneficiaries. At the time I called this "creepy eugenics", as it was about enabling state control of fertility than enabling people to control their own. The good news is that it the policy is a complete failure:

When introducing the fund, the Government estimated that up to 16,000 women would access the grant, and $500,000 was budgeted for the first four years of the fund.

But in briefing documents released under the Official Information Act, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) show only 795 grants were made from the fund in its first four years.

In total, just $143,325 was spent over that time, at an annual cost of $35,000.

The report cites a number of barriers to adoption, including WINZ's controlling bureaucracy and a reluctance of doctors to impose long-term contraception on teenagers, but its hard to escape the conclusion that people just didn't want their fertility controlled by WINZ (or indeed, for WINZ to know anything about it. Because really, who the fuck wants to talk about that with them?)

As noted in my earlier post, contraception is a great thing, and it lets people control their own lives. And it should be freely available to all via the public health system, rather than pushed by WINZ to stop some people (but not others) from having kids.