National... Masters at passing the buck | The Jackal

17 Sept 2012

National... Masters at passing the buck

People may have noticed a common theme running through Nationals policy direction... Bashing beneficiaries.  Welfare is after all the right-wings favourite bait and switch topic, with Paula Bennett's announcements invariably designed to grab attention away from a damaging hullabaloo being reported by the MSM.

In February, Stuff reported:

Sole parents on a benefit who have additional children will be required to work part-time when their baby is one.

Not only does this policy ignore all the scientific evidence concerning the detrimental effect of severing the attachment bond, it ignores the fact that there isn't enough work available to begin with... In no small way due to National bungling the economy.

Such policy also increases the stress of young parents at a time when stress is already abundant. The negative effect of placing largely unachievable requirements on young parents that impede a child's developmental process is the antithesis of good policy making. The detrimental impact on society because children who do not develop a proper attachment bond grow up to be overrepresented in all the negative statistics should not be underestimated.

Clearly National is attempting to ensure beneficiaries do not have more children through coercion and social engineering... A stupid plan that wont work and is mainly designed to pander to the ignorant bigots amongst us.

In May, the NZ Herald reported:

Women on benefits - including teenagers and the daughters of beneficiaries - will be offered free long-term contraception as part of a $287.5 million Budget package for the Government's welfare reforms.

But critics say the measure borders on state control of women's reproductive choices.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett and Prime Minister John Key announced the package yesterday, aimed at supporting beneficiaries to get into training or work.

It includes $1 million to pay for long-term contraception measures such as implants or intra-uterine devices.

I hate to say it, but there are similarities with the Nazi's eugenics program here. Before you invoke Godwin's law in order to dismiss my argument, please let me explain:

Only a pretext of choice exists with case managers having all the power over their clients, and there's a real possibility that contraceptive choice turns into forced sterilization. Why else would National only target beneficiaries with such a disgraceful policy?

Unfortunately many on the rightwing truly believe that poor people shouldn't be allowed to procreate, and soft selling the sterilization of the poor agenda means such fascism has been largely accepted by the general public. Through propaganda and encouraging resentment against beneficiaries many people are deluded enough to believe there are positive aspects to Nationals backwards policy.

But if that wasn't bad enough, earlier this month One News reported:

Beneficiaries with outstanding arrest warrants will no longer receive a benefit while evading police, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has announced.

"Of the approximately 15,000 people with a current arrest warrant, around 8,200 are on benefits," Bennett said.

"If someone has an unresolved arrest warrant we will stop their benefit until they do the right thing and come forward to the authorities," she said today.

The person will be given 38 days to clear or challenge the warrant before their benefit is stopped, or reduced by 50% if they have dependent children.

National's policy to cut benefits or half them for people with dependent children because they're wanted for arrest will simply not work. In fact it will make many criminals need to commit more crime just to survive. I guess they have to fill all those empty jail cells they're building at Wiri somehow.

Such archaic policy will not help the growing amount of impoverished children in New Zealand, many depending solely on their parent’s meagre benefits. A recent report to the government showed that 270,000 kiwi kids now live in poverty, with inequality growing the fastest of all OECD countries. Clearly punishing desperate people and their children is not an acceptable solution to reduce the child poverty rate, which in my opinion should be at the top of the agenda.

As usual the theme is one of bashing those perceived to be somehow different or unworthy, reminiscent of another era mankind should feel highly ashamed of and never return to. A kinder gentler form of fascism is just as unacceptable!

This week, the Otago Daily Times reported:

New child-care rules - or "social obligations" - for beneficiaries announced this week have proved polarising. The rules include a stipulation that beneficiaries' children must attend early childhood education for 15 hours a week from the age of 3, attend school from age 5 or 6, enrol with a GP and complete core WellChild/Tamariki Ora checks, including immunisation.

If parents do not comply after three reminders, their benefits will be halved.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the rules would ensure the children of beneficiaries - whom she deemed the "most vulnerable" - get the best possible start to life through access to education and health services.

Except the children from families where their income is halved wont get a good start in life at all. They will be even more impoverished and therefore unable to learn properly... In some cases children will not even be able to afford to attend school at all. How stupid of National is that?

Likewise health services will be largely unaffordable to families who are already struggling on welfare that has not kept up with the cost of living. The evidence that such policy will even work is non-existent and Paula Bennett is basing her repressive ideas on nothing more than ideological blindness. The shear ignorance of this woman is astounding!

Now we have an inadequate report (PDF) from private Australian firm Taylor Fry costing $800,000 to show how expensive welfare is for no other reason than to gain more beneficiary-bashing ammunition. In the midst of cutting budgets left right and centre, National has wasted nearly a million dollars gaining information that the Ministry of Social Development already has available. Unfortunately the cost of feeding starving children in schools so they can learn properly isn't as much of a priority for National as finding more reasons to hate the poor.

Instead of actually creating enough jobs to ensure there is less welfare dependency by increasing opportunity, National is playing to peoples fears and prejudices and fostering resentment against those they perceive to be inferior. Beneficiaries have become an ostracized and subjugated people that the government wants to get rid of in all the wrong ways... What an unfortunate and shameful state of affairs.

However beneficiaries are not less worthy... The only real difference is that welfare dependent people have been impacted detrimentally to a greater degree by the dysfunctional system... A system that is hell bent on blaming the victims for its own failures. The National government is happy to promote this failure in order to give people something other than the rightwing agenda to blame. National are after all the masters at passing the buck, which in the end will be the only claim to fame the current government has.

Update: Today, 3 News reported:

Beneficiaries who fail to answer three phone calls and a voicemail from Work and Income are being told they'll have their welfare payments slashed in half.

A step too far to the right off the ledge if you ask me.