Story: Family welfare

Post-war support for families

Post-war support for families

State financial support for families expanded during the 20th century, particularly in the period after the Second World War. Social-security beneficiaries were often seen as taking advantage of state benefits. Keith Waite’s 1950s cartoon ‘Social insecurity’ was prompted by an announcement that annual social-security costs exceeded £45 million. The metaphor for the welfare system is a shoddily constructed and constantly extended house inhabited by men who sleep, lie around, smoke cigarettes and read books. While women and children were also beneficiaries of social security, they are invisible. The cartoon highlights an ongoing concern in New Zealand about the risks of state financial support for families, especially the potential disincentive for men to undertake paid work.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: E-549-q-02-020
Cartoon by Keith Waite

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Maureen Baker and Rosemary Du Plessis, 'Family welfare - Family autonomy and state policy', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 1 March 2024)

Story by Maureen Baker and Rosemary Du Plessis, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 29 Jun 2018