Wednesday, 2 March 2016

The welfare of the born and unborn

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Abortion was made legal in this country back in 1977. Various restrictions were applied, but using the best available statistics I can find it would seem in the intervening 39 years around 500,000 terminations would have been carried out. This means half a million people never got to tread the earth on what we euphemistically call “Godzone.”

Ronald Reagan reckoned everyone who is for abortion has already been born, but I’m not making judgements here. However it’s worth thinking about how society might have fared had this not happened.

Among the aborted there will have been a number of genius’s; perhaps some highly skilled surgeons, one or two rocket scientists and even at the pinnacle, a newspaper columnist. Most however will have been ordinary good folk who would have worked hard and minded their own business. And then again there will have been criminals, some of them hardened and sadly violent.

Left to emerge unscathed, the babies will have grown into children who would have filled our educational institutes and presumably so too would their offspring. Perhaps Lansdowne, Totara Drive and Harley Street schools would still be around and thriving.

And maybe we wouldn’t have had to bring in immigrants to do all the work. Phil Twyford would be ecstatic if Asians weren’t buying up all the Auckland housing stock and maybe this would have reduced house prices in the Queen city which in turn will have meant that Bill English wouldn’t have had to agonise over the potential financial implications.

And speaking of English, these new-born’s will have been taught the universal language so when you rang Spark or Vodafone you would be able to understand what the receiver of your call was actually saying. (When I left Wairarapa College I could speak fair French, lousy Latin and great Britain.)

It’s possible that the vast majority of them might have fled to the lucky country during those halcyon days when Australia was lucky. But it was unlucky for New Zealanders who found themselves without the safety net of welfare payments. The Labour Government have always fumed over this mean-spirited action, carefully ignoring the fact that it was Herr Clark pontificating from the ninth floor of the Honey Factory in Helengrad who had decided that the reciprocal arrangements with Australia needed to be kerbed.

This is what she said at the time:

“Australia estimates that it pays NZ$1.1 billion in social security to New Zealand citizens living in Australia. There is a vast difference between that and the NZ$170 million which we currently reimburse Australia for. We do not intend to go further down that road. Our spending priorities must be to attend to the needs of New Zealanders who continue to live here in New Zealand. For that reason the new social security agreement between us will cover only cost-sharing for superannuation and payments for people with disabilities. This will represent savings over the next three years of around NZ$100 million to the New Zealand taxpayer. The New Zealand government is pleased with this outcome and we do believe it is a win-win for both countries.”

The dark side of me can’t help but think; did Mr and Mrs Clark senior ever contemplate an abortion?

“Abortions will not let you forget you remember the children you got that you did not get.” - Gwendolyn Brooks 


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