National's Beneficiary Bashing Policy | The Jackal

1 Nov 2011

National's Beneficiary Bashing Policy

The announcement today that National will run yet another campaign based on bashing beneficiaries was expected but no less repugnant.

They've been on the back foot since the election campaign begun and needed something that would ensure supporters would continue to buy National's brighter future for the rich.

But what should make even the most ardent right-wing supporter think twice about giving National their vote is the additional costs involved in not having a functioning welfare system. These costs will be far greater than the mere billion dollars National expects to save over four years.

Nationals projected savings are only 1% of the total amount that will be spent on welfare over the next four years with the cost to implement the changes projected at $520 million for same time period. This makes any savings as low as $480 million or approximately 0.5% of the total welfare spend. However the social cost to Nationals policy on poor communities will be huge.

New Zealand already has over one in five children growing up in poverty.
WINZ will now decide if somebody on the invalids benefit is sick or disabled enough to receive the newly named Supported Living Payment, most likely taking that assessment away from Doctors who are properly qualified to make an informed decision. That's the dysfunction National proposes...

...and here's a bit of their spin:
“This benefit is for those who’re unable to work at all and the name change reflects the fact the term ‘invalid’ for many, is offensive and outdated,” Paula Bennett said.
...and some misinformation from right-wing propagandist David Farrar:
The Invalids Benefit basically does not change, apart from the name (which is a sensible change as the name is demeaning, as the criteria includes those terminally ill etc).
Does anybody actually believe National is making changes just because the name is outdated?

The six O'clock news on TV3 tonight reported that Invalid beneficiaries will be work tested, clearly contradicting what Paula Bennet and David Farrar are trying to make us believe. Here's the video:

What makes this particular National policy so disgusting is that they plan to work test invalids including the permanently and severely disabled, severely mentally ill or terminally ill. These are some of the most vulnerable people within our communities.

National plan to force these people into WINZ to be interrogated about their injuries and ailments, denigrating them and threatening to cut off their meager financial lifelines if they don't do what they're told. No wonder suicide rates always increase under National.

The right wing sycophants appear to completely ignore the fact that there aren’t enough employment opportunities available in New Zealand. Without enough jobs, those kicked off the dole will be forced to leave the country, rely on their families and friends for charity or resort to joining gangs to survive. This will undo much of the good work recently achieved by Police to reduce crime rates.

Nationals plan simply does not make good social or financial sense.