viernes, 20 de octubre de 2017

Prospects for family values dim in a left-led New Zealand | MercatorNet |October 20, 2017| MercatorNet |

Prospects for family values dim in a left-led New Zealand

MercatorNet |October 20, 2017| MercatorNet |

Prospects for family values dim in a left-led New Zealand

Jacinda Ardern will build houses, but will that save the family?
Carolyn Moynihan | Oct 20 2017 | comment 1 

Winston Peters and Jacinda Ardern. Photo: Maarten Holl/Stuff
It’s Labour Weekend in New Zealand in more ways than one. The worker’s spring holiday (which takes in Monday) kicked off last night with the news that the Labour Party will lead the new government, thanks to a coalition deal with New Zealand First and a confidence and supply arrangement with the Green Party. Adding spice to the mixture, the Prime Minister elect is a 37-year-old woman, Jacinda Ardern, who rocketed into the limelight only two months before the September election.
This result, which came after two weeks of haggling with both Labour and National, hung on the decision of NZ First and its leader, Winston Peters. Peters failed to win in his own electorate and his party gained 7.2 percent of the national vote. The Greens’ share of the vote was 6.3 percent. Labour’s was 36.9 and National, on the opposition benches, can console itself with a 44.4 percent share. But that’s MMP politics, and it certainly makes life interesting.
What does it mean for the country?
Peters last night explained his decision by saying that “far too many New Zealanders have come to view today’s capitalism, not as their friend, but as their foe… That is why we believe that capitalism must regain its human face.”
That seems a fair enough generalisation in a country with the most inflated housing market in the developed world, and where the government has lately been renting motel accommodation for homeless people.
Housing was a prominent issue in Ardern’s campaign, along with child poverty and stretched mental health services (young Kiwis, in particular, seem to be in poor shape psychologically). She has already confirmed Labour’s commitment to build 100,000 affordable homes over 10 years. Other priorities, shared with NZ First, include cutting back on immigration and stopping sales of land to foreigners. The coalition partners intend to give more weight to full employment and regional development. Further tax cuts budgeted by National will be dropped.
Much of that may find acceptance outside of their own support base. But not everyone who wants to see housing more affordable and more jobs in the regions also wants the kind of social agenda that Labour and the Greens favour. According to research by advocacy group Family First, the following is where the party leaders stand on family and moral issues.
Greens leader James Shaw has the most negative profile on this score, but Ardern’s is a pretty near match. They are both gung-ho with same-sex marriage (already legal here) and same-sex adoption (Ardern debates the issue here) as well as the gender agenda. They have not responded to Family First inquiries about the legalisation of surrogacy.
They also both support removal of abortion from the criminal law, where it remains despite virtual abortion on demand, and legalisation of euthanasia. They have not responded to questions about the full resourcing of palliative care. They are generally unresponsive to parental rights and choice issues and Shaw, for one, opposes parental notification for teen pregnancies.
All three leaders have signalled that they want charter (or partnership) schools and national standards abolished.
Peters and his party have a conservative record on marriage, family, and pro-life issues. Moves to change the abortion law or legalise euthanasia would involve a conscience vote. Otherwise NZ First is unlikely to have much influence against progressive bids to enshrine same-sex adoption in law, legalise surrogacy, decriminalise or legalise marijuana, and accommodate transgender demands. Such moves are quite likely.
What seems unlikely is that this government will come to grips with any of the social trends underlying the issues of poverty, inequality, deteriorating mental health and educational failure. To do so it would have to be honest about the state of marriage and the family.
A report, Child Poverty and Family Structure, published by Family First last year, shows that the New Zealand family is on shaky ground. According to 2015 figures:
* Just over half (53 percent) of our children were born to married parents, while for Maori the figure was only 21 percent. Some 27 percent of registered births were to cohabiting parents – relationships that have 4-6 times the risk of breaking up by the time the child is five. Cohabiting parents are poorer than married parents.
* Poorest of all, however, are the 28 percent of families with dependent children headed by a single parent. Some 51 percent of children in poverty live with a single parent and will struggle to improve their lot over time. The majority of these parents are mothers receiving a single parent benefit.
* Higher rates of poverty among Maori and Pasifika children are reflected the greater number of sole parent and cohabiting families among these groups.
These figures and linkages tally with international patterns. They also show that any politician serious about solving child poverty (or teenage depression, for that matter) has to do more than raise benefits and build people houses. If they want to make life better for children they need to encourage marriage, make it easier for couples to have children and stay together.
Increasing paid parental leave (from 18 weeks to 24) is one step all the partners in the new government support. They should also pursue income splitting to lighten the tax burden of parents – something neither Ardern nor Shaw will commit themselves on.
Meanwhile, Millennials continue to delay having children, or cohabit and have few, with the result that the completed fertility rate, which has held up better than in most other OECD countries, thanks to higher rates among Maori and Pasifika, has now sunk below two (1.87). And since the new government is anti-immigration, this will become an economic problem in time without some moral and financial inducements to higher fertility.
However, the fact that Ardern herself is cohabiting and childless does not make one optimistic that she will see the sense of this. We shall have to wait and see how the realities of governing a country whose basic social unit is so fragile change a political outlook that is not altogether positive right now.
Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

October 20, 2017

The Soviet goal of a worldwide communist revolution was never realised, but it was not for want of trying. Most if not all Western countries had a communist party for much of the twentieth century. I knew an old communist in New Zealand who had grown up to her mother’s advice: “If your housework’s done you’re neglecting the cause.” Connie eventually became a very stanch Catholic and a thorn in the side of the local lefties.

Today Francis Phillips reviews a book that gives us a glimpse of the British communist movement, a memoir of his parents and their circle by The Times journalist David Aaronovitch. Something that struck me was the fact that this couple, who had four children, stuck together despite their troubled marriage and the decline of the movement. It was their communist “faith” that provided the glue. There is a lesson in that somewhere for today’s troubled marriages, I think.

(Somewhat) related items this week: The Russian Revolution in filmWhy Russia thinks it’s exceptionalRussia’s workforce decline.

Carolyn Moynihan
Deputy Editor,
Prospects for family values dim in a left-led New Zealand
By Carolyn Moynihan
Jacinda Ardern will build houses, but will that save the family?
Read the full article
Party Animals: My Family and other Communists
By Francis Phillips
Growing up Communist in post-war London.
Read the full article
Two brilliant picture books
By Susan Reibel Moore
Sophie Masson is one of Australia's gifted authors.
Read the full article
Bedlam in Seattle: pro-lifers kicked out of coffee shop
By Edward J. Hamilton
Can a gay cafe owner refuse to serve Christians?
Read the full article
How euthanasia affects nurses
By Annmarie Hosie
It could create a nearly intolerable conflict of interest between caring for patients and following orders
Read the full article
To Christians in the Western world: a call to action
By Anastasia Sinyawski
Remember that the fight of the Christians in the Middle East is the fight of the Western church.
Read the full article
Russia’s workforce decline
By Marcus Roberts
The fruits of collapsing birthrates from twenty years ago.
Read the full article
Luther and the divorce between faith and reason
By Martin Fitzgerald
The reformer’s rejection of philosophy has put us in two minds.
Read the full article
The story of ?????
By Karl D. Stephan
Freezing women's eggs leads to imponderable moral complexities.
Read the full article
Why Russia thinks it’s exceptional
By Gregory Carleton
Centuries of war and invasion have profoundly shaped Russia's worldview and self-image
Read the full article
The branding of John Stuart Mill
By J. Budziszewski
If it harms ‘only me’, is it no harm at all?
Read the full article

MERCATORNET | New Media Foundation
Suite 12A, Level 2, 5 George Street | North Strathfield NSW 2137 | AU | +61 2 8005 8605

No hay comentarios: