Waatea News Column: What Luxon means is more Oranga Tamariki


One of the interesting insights we’ve gleaned from new National leader Chris Luxon, is that he likes to double down on policy failure.

When questioned on welfare, Chris made it very clear that he was a supporter of Bill English’s ‘investment approach’.

That approach is what created Oranga Tamariki.

The ‘investment’ approach to welfare goes like this.

Some people on welfare are there forever and cost the State lots of money.

Early intervention of removing children from bad homes will save the State money in the long run.

By accounting for everyone costing the State money, you can ‘borrow’ some of the cost to remove children quicker.

That was what Oranga Tamariki became.

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What Chris Luxon is clearly stating by supporting Bill English’s ‘investment’ approach is a brutal bureaucracy that waters down universal provision of welfare for the worst cost individuals and treats them like a statistic.

If National get back in, expect more counterproductive neoliberal experiments in welfare.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. Luxon and English’s “ investment “ approach is also profoundly misogynistic and anti-children as it goes hand-in- hand with personal beliefs which deny women the right to control their own bodies and forces them into full term unwanted pregnancies to produce unwelcome children, who are then assessed in terms of their economic impact upon the state with little concern for the ongoing daily well-being of the little people themselves.

    Oranga Tamariki appears to function in lieu of of bygone orphanages which also had varying degrees of success in caring for children, who through no fault of their own, were deprived of the care of a healthy and loving mother, or mother substitute, which, in the natural order of things, appears to be a good life pattern.

    It is almost unbelievably brutal, that men, the species who create these children, then proceed to view them simply in terms of their economic liability. The most shocking aspect of all the anti-abortion rhetoric, is the lack of concern about what then happens to helpless little babies born into a non-positive environment. I gather that males can compartmentalise easier than women do, but it’s not clear whether this produces the best outcomes, or healthy happy people.

    Over to the poet, Robert Frost :


    “ A voice said, Look me in the stars
    And tell me truly, men of earth,
    If all the soul-and-body scars
    Were not too much to pay for birth.”

  2. It sounds like social engineering. Had English and others not wanted a low wage economy and the privatisation of anything that moves, the rocky basis of so many vulnerable children’s lives could be immeasurably better.

  3. The alternative (the current settings) has been demonstrated to be worse. Currently we are trying to ‘hard-wire’ welfare dependency on an intergenerational basis whereas at least English’s method was to attempt to bring people out of welfare.

    Yes it has shortcomings but where the alternative just cements an underclass that gets progressively poorer and more desperate I’d rather die trying than to not try at all.

    • Nah fam get rid of disincentivising punitive bureaucratic WINZ trying to squeeze clients with debt, fraud cases etc and replace complicated system with a univrrsalised Super …a simple Citizen Wage ubi for everyone paid out through IRD. Convert WINZ (Work & Income NZ) WINZ Welfare Intervention/Investment NZ ins to agency specifically supporting people with extra needs eg physical, mental disability, health, dementia/Alzheimers and with most “Case Managers” pivoting to becoming “Work/Training Brokers” actually helping those who want work/need help finding work. Concentrate on those seeking work rather than trying to coerce ill, disabled etc into taking any old min wage. Plus truth of matter registered 3.4% unemployment only tip of unemployment iceberg with under employment, people getting forms of welfare privately from family, friends, soup kitchebs, begging, Grey market and black market illegal/cash in hand/bartering activity goes ft o 11%or so and beyond to over a third of labor age pop. Not participating in job market. Truth is there fundamentally structurally baked in not enough jobs for everyone …compounded by Indian, Phillipino imports replacing many Maori, Pasifika & Pakeha, in construction, buses, taxis, retail/fastfood etc while we still barely have any manufacturing where well off rather invest in houses than in job creating ventures.

  4. The investment approach doesn’t have to result in kids being taken away from parents. It can also be used to support parents and children with home-based social care. This costs more initially but often has better results. However, it definitely needs to be funded properly.

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