Friday, February 09, 2007

The breakfast club

You might have expected the Maxim Institute to be supportive of John Key's proposal that businesses should provide breakfasts for the children of the deserving poor. More than that, you might have thought it was Maxim's idea: after all, Maxim relies on corporate donations to survive and so should society. It also seemed to chime so tunefully with Maxim's new enthusiam for Social Justice. But you would be wrong. Maxim is really very grumpy indeed about Mr Key's modest proposal. Rather than applaud the reappearance of Lady Bountiful, Maxim is worried:
However, it's not just important that we help to feed those children but it is important how we feed them. We need to be careful that in dealing with dysfunction we do not generate more. For example, if a single mum is struggling to get by, and her son's school starts providing breakfast then it's likely that she'll stop feeding him in the morning. The challenge then is to devise a way that businesses such as Tasti can work in partnership with homes and families, rather than taking on their role and placing greater burdens on schools.
Indeed: the slattern will stop buying breakfast and will spend the money on Vodka Cruisers and party pills. Before you know it, she will be up the duff again and the Tasti Foods will have another mouth to feed.

More importantly, Mr Key's proposal simply has not been thought through. It is all well and good involving businesses in these matters but only if there is profit to be made. As noted above, Maxim relies on corporate donors; at the last count these included Pumpkin Patch, the CD and DVD Store (ever wondered why they have a Christian Music section - now you know) and evangelical souvenir manufacturers the Derek Corporation, the people who put the fundamentalist back in fun. Does Mr Key really expect these good people to start feeding children?

Come on John, there's money to be made! After all Maxim's efforts to bring home the vote for National in 2005, Mr Key should realise that it is time to start putting something back into the business community. Maxim's vision of Civil Society is all about replacing state provision with volunteers and businesses. The volunteers will do it for nothing, just as they always do, but the businesses need payment. It is National's job, once duly elected, to ensure that all these services provided by the state are privatised.

Remember John: it's about taking, not giving.


Anonymous said...

An excellent post Paul,

Doesn't Maxim realise that Tasti is already "in partnership with homes and families".

Their products can be bought at local supermarkets and superettes by any family in New Zealand that chooses their particular products.

This illustrates an obvious point -that the centre right can be just as silly as the fundamentalist far right.

NZ Party Babe

Pamziewamzie said...

Oh dear. Maxim have always been full of contradictions. Great post.

David said...

I'm intrigued by the list of Maxim supporters. Where did you gather this information from?

Paul said...

It was first mentioned in a North and South article a few years back, 2002 I think. I don't have the article to hand but it named the major donors and members of Maxim's advisory board. I don't know if all these people are still involved because Maxim is not open about its corporate supporters.

David said...

Was it by chance the article "God's work and the civil society" by Warwick Roger, from the Nov 2003 edition? (Index NZ abstract)