Forget the fact that running surpluses at a time when the private economy is still slow is counterproductive, The true ugliness of this surplus is that it has been created by cutting beneficiaries to the bone…
Forecast surplus of $1b from drop in welfare
The Government’s forecast surplus for the coming year was a result of a $1 billion drop in welfare spending.
That was one of the key messages of Finance Minister Bill English who was in Christchurch yesterday selling the Budget message of continued restraint in Government spending.
English told an audience of business people that in 2010 the Government had expected to be spending $11.5b on welfare this year.
However in following Budgets it trimmed the forecasts and this coming year it would be spending about $10.5b.
“The welfare bill is going down and going down faster than we expected.
…what is happening in welfare in NZ should be a deep source of shame. Paula Bennett’s reshaping of Welfare into a whip has produced thousands of beneficiaries being thrown off Welfare as a host of new reasons to disqualify them come into effect. The purposely dense application process is skewed in order to intimidate and create a sense of anxiety designed to produce hopelessness so that the applicant gives up. The dole application for example is 73 pages long, a Mortgage is about a dozen pages.
So the myopic and wrong focus on Budget Surplus has been paid by the most vulnerable and least able to cope with such a withdrawal of financial state support. There are consequences to applying naked ideological cruelty as social policy and they are all negative.
It’s going to be a terribly cold winter for many New Zealanders this year, I doubt the glow of National’s Budget surplus will keep them warm in the dead of night.