Thursday, 10 May 2012

Cracking it? (Updated)

I wasn’t going to blog about the free contraception for beneficiaries’ thing. To be completely honest I feel a bit apathetic about it all - shameful I know.
But here’s the thing, I agree that it is probably not the most responsible decision to have a baby if you are on the benefit. Equally I believe that it is a decision that the would-be parents have to make themselves.

I also accept that the move could be seen as putting the responsibility of birth control solely on the woman but I think that there would be many out there who would be grateful for the option, especially if it’s free.

And the offer of free contraception is just that, an option, for now. Those women who are on the benefit and do not want to get pregnant (for whatever reason) will have to want it to ask for it.
Obviously there are many arguments for and against this policy and it is good that it has been widely discussed. I am not sure where I exactly stand on the whole debate but it was a story in the Waikato Times that got me thinking about it as a subject for this post.

Well actually it was a conversation between a DJ and a guest on Radio Tainui about the story that got me thinking.
I had seen the story beforehand, I think most in the Waikato had, but it is hard for me to be objective on this one. I have worked with Alistair Bone and found him to be a good guy. He sees things through a different perspective and I always thought that was a good thing.

His story on Huntly had clearly irked some, with the radio guest taking a swipe at the newspaper over it, while others applauded it. The diverse range in opinion shown in the posts on the bottom of the story
KMTW posted a comment, which read:

“I'm sick to death of people bagging Huntly. There are so many hardworking people here. I live down the road from where these ridiculous interviews took place and love living in this town. Come on Alistair Bone - this article is crap on a stick.
“'The rail line runs straight through Huntly West' - yes it does, well done. It is also used to transport coal. Solid Energy is a major employer of local people. 'The twin towers of the power station don't go anywhere' ???? Where are they supposed to go?? The power station employs many locals. Maybe your interviewees could get off their asses and get a job there! 'There are so many gangs locals need more than a hand to count them off and subset them into senior and junior' - Really? Where? Gangs as in Mongrel Mob or Black Power are not dominant in our streets. We are not a gang town!! Sure we have youths who wear scarves (as pictured) but I would hardly call them gangs which you could 'subset' into senior and junior chapters.

“'On paper its a terrible place'... we don't live on paper. We live and breathe in the real world. Huntly West is as safe as houses to me. I walk these streets at night. I know my neighbours and they know me. We are a proud community. We choose to live in Huntly West. “
Bryce said it was a “good article".

"There are so many people in New Zealand who think with this same mindset of "have a baby, get a payrise" that I am glad to see something like this published. Drug, alcohol & gang culture is what leads to this mindset, these are the true evils of society.”

Reading the story what I think Alistair was trying to do was paint a picture of those who could potentially benefit from National’s policy of free contraception. It is a shame that some of the people he interviewed said things like "I heard you crack it on the benefit if you have babies.
Raising children is hard; there is no doubt about that. Raising children on a benefit is even more difficult.
The problem, the way I see it, is Huntly could be any town or city in New Zealand and when you have a claim in it you become protective of it.  Perhaps that was the point, I don’t know - what do you think?

Alistair wrote an opinion to run the day after his story. Check it out here, does it change your opinion on the story?


  1. I agree with KMTW it seems all too convenient, and lazy, to head to a town like Huntly West to feed people's prejudices. Just what the good folks of Huntly need...yeah right.

  2. I never read the story, but was told by my partner who normally enjoys Alister's writting that it sounded subtly condescending, as he viewed the pepole of Huntly like a scientist would view bugs in a petrie-dish. Btw, enjoy your writing, but please come up with a better name for your blog. Being involved in design industry, its just awkward, doesn't have good search results, and is too long for people to write and make mistakes.

    1. Kia ora koe, thanks for the comment and feedback. The name By Microwave is incredibly personal to me and for those who understand the story - which one day I may explain on this blog - it is, in my opinion, relevant. But yes, I can see your point about the search results and length. Just remember it's just like a byline if my name was Microwave :).