Monday, July 12, 2004

Don Brash accuses the Government of making marriage unfashionable while attacking its welfare policies

Don Brash, in his speech at the National Party conference last weekend, almost accuses the Government for making marriage unfashionable, but he never says what he will do to make marriage fashionable, or even say whether it should be fashionable at all.

Brash has sided with married two-parent families, highlighting the fact that the number of children born to unmarried parents had risen from 13 per cent in the 1970s to 44 per cent. Why would he mention that statistic if he did not consider children were better brought up by married parents - or partners were less likely to split up - than unmarried parents?

He also said that some unmarried two-parent families raised their children in the "best possible way" but "alas, too often, the children grow up with only a single parent, with the father providing neither financial or emotional support".

Meaning, of course that the welfare bill rises. Yet why the restriction to unmarried families? Does that mean that Brash considers that de facto couples are prone to splitting up more so than married couples? Well, who knows? He goes on to talk about a marriage break-up.

"Take the case of a young married couple with one baby, with the mother at home looking after the child and the father earning a relatively modest $12.50 an hour. After paying income tax, but receiving the benefit of the family support and child tax credits, their net income is a little over $23,000.

If instead of being married, the young woman went on the DPB and refused to name the father of the child - as many women now do - so that the father could live in the same house as a “boarder”, the combined income of the family would be almost $35,000, or some 50 per cent above that if the same family had been married. Is it any wonder that marriage has become unfashionable"

Or, really meaning, it any wonder that the welfare bill is so high? So Don, what's the point - strong families or increased welfare? The above example is more likely to happen within a defacto relationship. Does that make de facto relationships unfashionable, Helen Clark may well ask? Anyway, how often does a married partner live as a "boarder" with their partner?

What would Brash do to promote marriage, if he indeed considers it should be fashionable? If he doesn't, why does he note that it has become unfashionable, as if that is a bad thing?

Brash does believe in strong families, but he seems to think that slashing the country's welfare bill is more important than having kids raised in stable families.

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