“Hardship Reduction Package”? Whose Fault Is The Hardship!

By   /   May 29, 2015  /   9 Comments

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Make no bones about it. While a pittance is better than absolutely nothing, this Budget was not a serious stab at eliminating or even just ameliorating the endemic poverty which exists here in New Zealand.

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Without a doubt my favourite MP from New Zealand First’s 2014 intake is Palmerston North-based MP Darroch Ball. (Ron Mark doesn’t count, coz he’s been around before)

There are many reasons why this is so, ranging from his longstanding positive relationship with NZ First Youth, through to my considerable enthusiasm for a secret project he’s working on that I’m not at liberty to write about yet (but watch this space).

But the thing that really tipped me over the edge and which I thought deserved highlighting right here on TDB was Darroch’s response to the euphemistically termed “Hardship Reduction Measures” contained within last week’s Budget.

When diagnosing the underlying causes for the situation of systemic and entrenched poverty which National claims to be responding to, Darroch’s thoughts almost exactly mirrored my own.

Let’s never forget it was National, and the ‘mother of all budgets’ in 1991 that severely cut welfare, and they have taken the axe to it in many ways since. National has turned a country of reasonable equality into one of appalling inequality.
Or, as I might have less prosaically put it … looking to National to provide a solution on the issue of child poverty is rather like asking a mosquito about possible cures for Malaria. (I would have said “like asking Tony Blair for a solution to intractable conflict in Iraq” … but then remembered some geopolitical comedian had, in fact, made Blair something called a “Middle-Eastern Peace Envoy”)

Darroch is right when he states that “the Budget payment of an average of two dollars a day does not improve the health and education of a single child.”

He’s also completely correct to point out that this “tinkering around the edges in a haphazard approach” from National merely means “supported poverty” rather supporting people on a pathway out of the deprivation and desperation of economic want.
But NZ First’s social development spokesperson didn’t just tell us why these blatantly inadequate measures ought to be opposed in favour of something better.

He ensured that his words were matched with action where it mattered – in the House, with our votes.

Now you might be forgiven for wondering what’s so special about that. After all, speaking in opposition to Government policy where it’s deficient and voting accordingly is something that every Opposition party does. Indeed, it’s our job.

But where other parties were apparently quite content to vote in favour of measures they agreed with New Zealand First in deeming wholly inadequate … only NZF actually had the guts and the gumption to actually oppose National’s bill in both word AND deed, voting against same in the House.

(Between this, and previous incidences of parties such as Labour failing to follow up vocal opposition with actual votes in the House, it’s no wonder people are increasingly coming to see New Zealand First the true leaders of the Opposition in Parliament.)

Make no bones about it. While a pittance is better than absolutely nothing, this Budget was not a serious stab at eliminating or even just ameliorating the endemic poverty which exists here in New Zealand.

That would have required actual, tangible efforts at job creation; and a far more realistic increase in the dollar value of benefit payments.

Instead, we got the biggest exercise in cosmetic “concern” for the casualties of caustic Neoliberalism since John Key paid a visit to McGehan Close way back in 2007.

And while National may protest that its “Hardship Reduction Package” is at least an acknowledgement that there is a problem with the way it’s been playing at economic management for the past six years … it is in no way, shape, or form a solution.

Instead, might I be so bold as to suggest that there’s only one “Hardship Reduction Package” involving National that’s actually worthy of the name.

Voting for a Party which resolutely believes in a “comprehensive plan that ensures our welfare safety net is real.”

Can you smell what Darroch is cooking?

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9 Comments

  1. bad12 says:

    Lest we forget Curwen, befor the ghastly Ruth Richardson and the equally abhorrent Jenni Shiply in 1991 attacked all beneficiaries with $20 reductions in their benefits,(to be followed later with ‘market rents for State House tenants), the 1984 Labour Government got stuck into beneficiaries befor them,

    It was the Lange Labour Government that imposed income tax, closely followed by GST, on all welfare benefits,

    It was the Labour Government of Helen Clark which with deliberation designed the Working for families tax credit scheme to exclude all beneficiaries despite them being taxpayers,

    Given the choice at the time between allowing beneficiaries to benefit from the Working for Families tax credits or giving tax cuts to business that Labour Government chose the tax cuts to business,

    So, the kindest thing to be said about just which of the major Party’s is responsible for today’s abhorrent poverty among those reliant upon benefits for income is that it is pretty hard to discern just which Party of the 2 was the worst…

    • stefan says:

      “It was the Lange Labour Government that imposed income tax “.. Actually, it was the Muldoon government that did that.. I remember it well, as I was briefly on the dole at that time….. If you’re going to attempt to paint the lanour party as being no different from the tories, you need to do real research… Timeline isn’t just a catchy slogan.. It’s a real cause/effect progression… I don’t disagree that the last labour government didn’t manage to get past the wall of obstruction put up by a now proven tory poodle pack, but let’s keep it real… I would hate to think that this is just another attempt at misinforming for political aims…

      • bad12 says:

        Oh Bravo!!!, You ”would hate to think that this is just another attempt at misinforming for political aims,

        And Then, You…Do…Just…That,

        If it wasn’t for the lecture attached the benefit of the doubt would have to have been extended in your direction with perhaps the codicil that you should get that ‘memory’ of yours checked,

        You question me on fact and then provide none yourself except that from your,(faulty???), memory,

        Income Tax Amendment Act (No2) 1986, (now who were the Government in 1986???),

        ”This Act gives effect to the 20th August 1985 statement on taxation and benefit reform announcement of measures to:

        ”Subject all basic income-tested Social Welfare Benefits and income tested War Pensions to taxation with effect from 1st October 1986” unquote.

        http://www.ird.govt>…>Archivedlegislationcommentary>Income Tax

        Now who were the Government in 1885 and 1986 when this Legislation was first signaled and then enacted, not the Labour Government of David Lange by any chance,

        So, it WAS the Labour Government in 1986 that imposed income tax on all welfare benefits, and, it appears that the only ”misinforming for political aims” occurring here is from You…

  2. wild katipo says:

    Yes well ,….the reference to Aroha Ireland made me look up the news articles all over again.

    I remember posting about the article that was in the New Zealand Herald when she and her husband were about to buy their first house.
    That article was only up for the most briefest of time in the Herald I also noticed as it was election year.

    Wont come as a surprise to those who have seen this happening in this country for a long time coming – when contrasted with how this govt has got their own ‘people ‘ working for the media to influence public opinion and perception of them as well….

    John Cambell being the latest casualty of this propaganda machine National has successfully foisted upon us.

    But its interesting to note about Aroha Ireland …in an article in Stuff . co.nz 7/09/2014 where we read ….

    ”I will never come back to NZ etc etc…and goes on to quote some figures …

    She was working in the warehouse at Coles Supermarket and earning $ 38.00 per hour , full time ,….which equates to $1520.00 EVERY WEEK !!!!!!

    She stated ( last year ) that typically , rent was about $265 .00 per week for a 3 bedroom , 2 bathroom and double garage house .

    I will leave you to read the rest of the article for yourselves.

    You know? ….have you ever wondered why this country has one of the worst statistics for youth suicide in the ‘ developed ‘ world ???

    Have a good long think on that for a moment.

    Then compare that to the miserable minimum low wage economy that Bill ‘ Double Dipper from Dipton ‘ English and all the other neo liberal bastards in parliament gleefully encourage .

    He likes the idea of low paid work slaves – and that includes immigrants – swelling the labour pool for low paid menial jobs that just aren’t there.

    Why?

    Because in his own words – ”it encourages foreign investment ” .

    Ill BET he bloody well loves a low wage economy ‘ because it encourages foreign investment ‘ !!!

    Pricks like that have shares in those bloody ‘ foreign investments , THAT’S why ‘ !!!

    And helps to produce cannon fodder young children like Aroha WAS – not as she is now – she was a clever girl who got out – but in her own words was heading in that miserable poverty lifestyle direction.

    Word of warning to the wise , Curwen …..whatever NZ First can come up with to move this country out of this despicable neo liberal economic wasteland that affects thousands upon thousands of the working populace , the working poor ….and sets up their children to live in the same manner….

    You better make DAMN SURE it steers well clear of even the hint of any subversive neo liberal ideology ….WHY?….

    Because it’ll be digging NZ First’s first and final political grave , that’s why.

    That ll be the end of your party as far as political credibility is concerned.

    Mark my words.

    • G. T. says:

      NZders in Aussie don’t have any recourse to welfare or state subsided anything. The Coles worker from NZ is basically living an ACT tax policy lifestyle. That $1k+ wage has to cover everything and anything that may go wrong. It isn’t just for chips n beer. If your “at risk teen” ever loses her job, she’ll have to come back to NZ if she doesn’t have alternate means of support. Or live in the street. And to suggest kids are killing themselves because they can’t see a life of $1k+ a week only reveals your priorites not their reality. The idea that life should be high wages ignores that high wages in isolation are the source of the problem. No one needs high wages if the country is organised in such a fashion so that no one will live in substandard housing or on the street, no one will be denied medical or health services, no one can’t pay utilities and eat in the same week, no one will be left to rot because they can’t work through disability, and so communities can’t be preyed on by corporatesand so forth. It’s called Socialism – the line under which no one will fall.

      • stefan says:

        “The Coles worker from NZ is basically living an ACT tax policy lifestyle”………… Bullshit… The anti kiwi legislation enacted by John Howard, was pure kiwi bashing for populist, electoral reasons, under the guise of keeping chinese immigrants from NZ out…. The reason wages are higher than NZ, even when living costs are taken into account is because there is still a union presence here… Not as strong as it once was, but significant none the less… There is also the fact that, from the day one starts work, superannuation is accumulated, and if she left oz, and came back to NZ, then she is entitled to get it all back… The locals here are generally unaware of the anti kiwi rules, and are horrified when informed.. Howards nasty, racist act will eventually be rescinded as it has been shown to be based on a fallacy….. This is known, and acknowledged here.. NZers are well regarded as hard workers, and good citizens generally, so, it’s only a matter of time before sense prevails…

      • wild katipo says:

        Yes we all know about when John Howard offered Helen Clarke the option of making it easier for NZer’s to become Australian citizens….then she turned that down.

        And yes we all know there isn’t the backstop if you loose your job like here.

        And yes we all know about children of NZ parents in Australia whose children cant do university there because they are Kiwis.

        And yes all know about there being no govt assistance if a worker becomes ill and has to leave work.

        And yes we all know that Kiwis in Australia pay the same tax as Australians but are treated like second class non – citizens.

        And yes we all know all that despite that they receive almost none of the same govt assistance as Australian citizens.

        And yes we all know that that wage has to cover anything that may go wrong and its NOT JUST FOR BEER AND CHIPS.

        But what is really appalling is that either your national pride wont let you admit that living like a dog in poverty creates angry stressed parents , long term discontent , marital breakup and depression in young people when considering their long term life prospects.

        Or maybe its because you are a closet ACT supporter yourself.

        MY advice to you buddy is get a grip and stop living in denial about it.

        And this is no ACT dogma mate , this is reality – and niether is it simply fobbed off as just ‘ my priorities buddy – this is the often quoted common sense reality’s voiced by parents and young people up and down this country.

        I suggest YOU in fact , are more the one to be enabling ACT – thinking by simply rolling over in denial about how bad things have gotten in this country.

        Attitudes like that are nothing more than a sign that you think nothing can be done about things so we might as well carry on the way we are. Pathetic.

        If you really want up to standard housing , medical and health standards and being able to pay utility’s and eat regularly , no one left to ‘ rot ‘ through unemployment or disability , and community’s not being preyed on by corporate’s – then stand up about WHY we have those appalling conditions .

        And don’t try to lecture me about Social Democratic Keynesian economics until you name the disease that caused its demise in the first place either .

        And we all know it was the neo liberal disease from 1984 onward’s.

        Maybe instead of being so fast to get your hackles up about Australia doing far better than NZ and owning large chunks of this country’s wealth you would do better to wake up , stop letting parochial pride get in your way and admit it.

        Maybe once that’s done some of the good things we all want could be achievable and we could have that Socialistic society you mention.

        Now then , ….. wouldn’t that be nice?
        .

  3. Mike in Auckland says:

    The government is delivering us another con-job, no doubt about it.

    If even a former Deputy Chief Executive of MSD tells us that the words of this government cannot be relied on, it is official that the Budget delivered simply more BS and nothing else:

    ‘Richard Wood: Relationships Aotearoa demise could be just the start’

    NZ Herald, 29 May 2015:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11456278

    All this talk about “wrap around services”, about “supports”, about “helping” those on benefits to “break free from” benefit dependence is a cunning attack on the weakest of the weak, simply to drive them off benefits and into whatever jobs there are.

    It is all about cost cutting and savings, and there is no evidence they deliver more health and disability and other support services, as even the health budget has not increased on a per capita basis.

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/16685-bill-english-takes-lessons-from-work-will-set-you-free-propagandists/

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/16737-work-has-fewer-%e2%80%9chealth-benefits%e2%80%9d-than-mansel-aylward-and-other-so-called-experts-claim-it-can-cause-serious-harm/

    So they do not even provide inflation adjustments anymore when paying for the services the contracted NGOs deliver for MSD and WiNZ.

    As we know, they want to create more “competition”, on “the market”, to drive down costs, which will mean more low paid and volunteer work to do the hard work, previously done by qualified staff.

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/17163-mental-health-employment-service-sole-parent-employment-service-oia-info-implies-msd-trials-a-failure/

    And we can already guess, what meagre amount will be left for the parents on benefits, of the promised $ 25 in April next year, once other benefit components will be abated as a result.

  4. Jim says:

    The hardship is caused by inflation – which in caused by the money printing of the Federal Reserve, ECB and other Rothschild owned Central banks. Period. 100% on food prices in the past 7 years. We now feed 60 million people overseas but can’t feed our own- or balance our books. Total all round theft- led by the Central Banking mafia- a fact covered up by the media (and blogs) all over NZ.


 
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