What Metiria has done is forced the cruelty of the neoliberal welfare state into the spotlight. Some will claim it is political suicide, I utterly disagree.
The majority of the 800 000 missing voters are beneficiaries.
They have walked away from the system because they fear and hate the punitive system.
The Daily Blog has catalogued the list of terrible treatment at the hands of state agencies and how their flawed punitive and draconian ‘fraud’ process actually hurts and damages more than it holds to account.
NZs neoliberal revolution occurred 30 years ago and it has impacted every fragment of our economic, social and political narrative. A neoliberal welfare state is not there to help the vulnerable because that’s considered dependency, instead it acts like a giant stick to beat people and find ways to punish them for breaches of rules they don’t know about.
Just consider this…
Figures released to Checkpoint With John Campbell show 60 percent of beneficiaries had a debt, up from 49 percent in 2008.
The debt includes money owed for overpayments, one-off grants for living costs, and some fraud.
…you read that right, 60% of beneficiaries owe WINZ money because of WINZ convoluted processes and spite. That debt is effectively a life sentence to most beneficiaries, they are indebted slaves to a system that will punish them if they ever dare speak out against it.
This viciousness is not only seen in the spiteful policy of MSD but also in the mass surveillance powers they have given themselves to spy on beneficiaries.
Metiria’s honestly and courage has reached out directly to those beneficiaries and made a direct appeal in a way Labour has always been too frightened to do,
If the Greens can get those beneficiaries to the ballot box in September, and their promise to lift base benefits by $180 each week gives those beneficiaries every real incentive to do so, then the Greens could destroy all expectations.
I am proudly voting Green because it’s the only Party who will do anything meaningful on the poverty and inequality that has mutated and mutilated our society. Metiria admitting she was forced to break the law to feed her child doesn’t make her a hate figure, it makes her a leader who has experienced the cruelty of spiteful social policy firsthand.
I can think of no better candidate for Minister of Social Development than a person who has experienced the system at its worst and most counter productive.