Can we afford to have kids?

Does it even matter these days? It seems that with all the benefits the government provides, we don’t need to consider the financial support of our children.

A parent or couple on one average NZ salary can claim up to $10,000 until each of their children turns three. Sole-parents can continue to receive support until their youngest child is over fourteen. Yes, support for struggling parents is essential. However, I’ve been witness to a couple who limit their income to one parent’s salary to qualify for payments x8 for each of their eight children. Similarly, a work colleague refuses to work more than a three-day week for fear that her salary will exceed the sole-parent benefit requirements.

The government has now increased the pay and time-length for parental leave. A parent can now continue to receive income for 5-and-a-half months.

My concern is that with tax-payers providing this cost, those parents who are thinking sensibly about whether they can “afford to have kids” are in the meantime supporting those parents who through care to the wind and said “Let’s have children anyway, the government will provide.”

 - Jerm Smiley

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