Labour centrists think they are so clever. Poor Carmel Sepuloni was hung out to dry over her very reasonable stated position to repeal National’s punitive benefit stop if the beneficiary has a warrant issued for their arrest. Most warrants are issued for unpaid fines for traffic or parking infringements, and almost nobody poses a risk to public safety. Carmel has the real concern that this impacts the beneficiaries children most of all. But Labour has decided not to follow through with the repeal. The media pointed out the child harm.
Clearly some Labour centrists are concerned that a repeal will make them look soft on crime and worried National will bull horn that. The problem with being so focused on optics rather than your principles is they have just damaged Labours brand integrity which Jacinda has wonderfully built up as based on kindness. Labour now looks as callous and as stupid as National. And on this point the centrists are.
Optics are an imagined outcome not the real practical consequence this law has on some children. Centrists are more frightened by their own shadows rather than looking for ways to lead on a principled position.
For example, this law under Labour applied to about 4,000 cases. Under National it was about 2,000. This can indicate that National wasn’t properly resourcing the department so they weren’t able to pick up and identify the cases. So National was just window dressing tough on crime but in reality they weren’t prepared to fund it. National’s money is not where its mouth is.
Or how about, this is only 4,000 cases a year for people who aren’t violent criminals. A strong focus on such a small number drives up administrative complexity and cost which wastes tax dollars. And rather than making society safer it could drive financial desperation and some could resort to crime to look after their family.
And this law shows National is the party of petty. Agonising and law making to punish tiny numbers of poor people is not going to drive the economy to greater heights, or lift our society to greater standards of care and safety. Wouldn’t it be a more effective to focus on the small number of the most wealthy and get more tax audits on them, or stronger laws around their economic behaviour.
So our labour centrist heroes self harm once again. But they will push on and tell everyone it’s only a flesh wound. Just like how they must surely now see the colossal economic stupidity they have built into the affordable housing crisis. Ruining our historic cities for no gain in affordable housing. Stoically they keep going forward, without a leg to stand on; to admit an error is political suicide; but small cuts don’t matter?
Centrists leadership fails. Have the courage to change your decision and repeal this harmful to children benefit stop law. In fact Jacinda should kick some arse over this. Repeal the absurd policy changes that are designed to destroy our historic cities because the changes as proposed can never bring about affordable housing. Kick several over this.