As welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell points out on her blog here, this means that a first time mother in Auckland on welfare will receive $672 per week and a further $124 for every child after that. The median New Zealand full-time wage (June 2013) is $844 per week. An individual taxpayer will pay about 15% tax on their income so will receive about $720 in the hand. Beneficiaries get additional entitlements such as lower cost government services and discounts from many private sector organisations, so you would have to conclude that most young, single women would be better off having babies than working for a living.
The inequity of this situation, and even the fact that all the evidence says that encouraging welfare dependency produces poor social outcomes, are not my primary objections to this policy. It is the cynical opportunism of it that gets to me. No one can seriously argue that New Zealanders incomes of up to $150,000 need welfare, so this policy is not about need. As with Working for Families, it is about making more and more New Zealand families dependent on, and grateful for, the largesse of a Labour Government. Elections are won and lost on the votes of the middle class and these policies bring almost all of the middle class into the welfare system.
All taxation is, by definition, legalised theft (OED defines theft as to 'take another person’s property without permission'). Most people justify the taxation and welfare system because it enables government to provide for the needy in society. Labour's new policy doesn't even have that merit. As Lindsay Mitchell points out again here, the most commonly used measurement which counts children in households below 60 percent of the median household after-housing-costs income, has fallen from 37 percent in 2001 to 21 percent in 2012. No one needs this policy, least of all higher income earners. Where is the morality in taxing a young school leaver earning the minimum wage ($13.75 per hour) so the government can give money to someone earning say $145,000 per year?
Fortunately I think most New Zealanders will see this policy for what it is - a cynical election year bribe. However, between Labour and its fellow-traveller Green Party, they may muster enough votes to out poll the governing National Party and implement their dishonest policies.