Substantial benefit increases appear off the Government’s welfare agenda as it chooses to grapple with housing and mental health.
Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni strongly signalled her plans for welfare reform at the Child Action Poverty Group conference on Monday, asking welfare advocates to “trust in the coalition Government”.
Advocates speaking on Monday criticised the Government’s “puzzling and disturbing” failure to act on its promises to the poor, and insisted the $7.5 billion Budget surplus be spent on boosting the income of beneficiaries.
Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft said that the Government must undo the damage of the benefit slashes of the 1991 “Mother of all Budgets”.
There are 3 great touchstones of NZ culture; Alcoholism, garden variety racism and bashing the dirty filthy beneficiary.
Kiwis love to bash the dirty filthy bennie with as much joy as we love to see the All Blacks bash rugby teams on the field. Because NZers lost union muscle under neoliberalism, they look at the pittance they are paid weekly and compare it with the welfare payment with envy and get rage filled towards beneficiaries.
National play to this dark side of our nature by promoting draconian punishment towards beneficiaries every chance they get and it’s the reason Labour are too gutless to lift benefit payments as a way to combat inequality and poverty.
So how does Labour trick the bigoted sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind into agreeing to a lift in welfare payments without the bigoted sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind losing their shit?
Easy. Make the first $20 000 anyone earns tax free.
The bigoted sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind will think they are getting a tax cut without realising that it also impacts people on welfare.
Labour may be too cowardly to lift benefits directly for fear of enraging the bigoted sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind, but that doesn’t mean they can’t trick the bigoted sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind into acquiescing to one by blinding them with the naked self interest of a tax cut.