The sheer scale of this meth hysteria is depressingly intense and large.
In almost every possible and conceivable way, the State utterly failed.
Social Policy should be based on making life better, not punitively cripple it.
That’s what Housing NZ and their political masters did, they crippled vulnerable people seeking shelter.
HNZ threw 900 beneficiaries out onto the streets, banned them from HNZ for 12 months, in some cases had children removed, were allegedly getting secret information from Health Boards targeting addicts using their services and indebted hundreds with hundreds of thousands in contamination costs while needlessly costing the country over $100m.
All at a time when we were in the middle of a housing and homelessness crisis!
Housing NZ, Bill English & Paula Bennett were all told in 2016 that HNZ were applying their own policy incorrectly, and yet HNZ still threw 300 onto the street after being told this directly.
Because at a time when Paula and Bill were trying to privatise state housing, negative media attention against druggie beneficiaries was great marketing.
The entire hysteria would not have happened if the fourth estate had not bee asleep at the wheel.
And that’s not what will happen next, a thorough examination of the media’s role in whipping up this hysteria. This blog and Public Address were sounding alarms about this policy from the beginning, Lisa Owen and John Campbell picked that criticism up and were the only ones challenging this witch hunt.
Where was the rest of the media?
How did this monstrosity manage to get out of hand so fast in a first world country country based on science? Because the corporate media’s favourite whipping boy, beneficiaries, were involved and no one lost money in newspapers from beating up on bludgers.
Mix this media contempt for the poor with many middle class landowners who now have tenants in their precious investment portfolios and the fear of a loss of capital gains mixed with neoliberal cultural disgust at self failure for being poor in the first place, and you had all the self interested ingredients and momentum for hysteria to take over.
That this fiasco wasn’t taken to pieces by the mainstream media shows how utterly failed we are by our fourth estate.