There is a belief amongst some on the Left that our comrades inside the Government are so over whelmed by the enormity of the job and are being so expertly manipulated by the Public Services that there will be only shallow promises an no real policy change.
With the new level of spin masters stepping in, the oil ban managed to completely stop the slide of the Government after some painful weeks of sustained media attack.
I am someone who knows the people inside the machine and know how staunch they are and want to believe they can make the changes.
On housing, education, environmentalism and public transport this new Government are working hard.
We must not let the perfect defeat the good.
There is however one area where Labour, the Greens & NZ First are letting everyone down.
The toxic culture of our spiteful Welfare departments.
That the State continues to use a boyfriend/girlfriend as a reason to cut welfare is so sick and so damaged and so fucking ugly it makes me feel deeply hateful towards a system designed and built to be as cruel and punitive as possible.
That this obscenity, this specifically designed hook that is masquerading as social policy is still allowed to exist under a new Government that claims to be progressive is offensive.
The reason the partner rule exists is so that Social Welfare can police beneficiaries and look for a way to cut beneficiaries off. They can spy on welfare recipients and use this information to claim fraud and will go back to the moment a ‘relationship’ started and recollect the lot PLUS penalties and interest on the penalties.
This traps beneficiaries into punitive debt servitude.
Remember, these are welfare departments who hunted down a beneficiary and claimed she owed hundreds of thousands from being in an abusive relationship and when quizzed by the Judge as to why WINZ were continuing to chase her when she had no money, they said she might win Lotto!!!!
This counter productive spite makes our prison nation complex look like well thought out social policy.
The new Government must detoxify these neoliberal welfare agencies immediately.
- Giving AAAP a public contract to hold the agencies to account and provide beneficiaries with support people to guid them through the toxic welfare culture.
- Create a 0800 tip off line that takes complaints from frontline staff if Managers are being cruel.
- Demand an immediate working group of community groups forced to work with social agencies and look to implement immediate changes over the toxic culture.
- Retraining of front line staff, better wages, conditions and more mental health off time.
The new Government must show they are serious to change the toxic sadism of WINZ and the rest of these neoliberal punitive monsters.
It is not good enough to demand investigations into historic abuse by the State when you are enabling abuse right now.