Phil at whoar.co.nz has described the government as being like Alice in Wonderland. I'm leaning more towards Kafka. The genesis of the idea is the same, there is some form of cognitive dissonance within the government. Looking at the proposed welfare reforms (and glumly accepting that they will be implemented), it's obvious that John Key never realised that the Dead Kennedys' "Kill thePoor" was satire. Actually, I doubt John Key ever listened to DK, he seems more like a Phil Collins-type.
I would like the principle behind the proposed reforms explained. I can see some horrible logic, is it:
· Women who have children must not have more children, if they are receiving a benefit (because [insert reason here – I haven't worked it out yet]). Or
· Women who receive the DPB should not have sex (because sex outside marriage is immoral). Or
· Children who are born to a woman on the DPB deserve less support than other children (to punish the mothers for their wantonness)?
The tripe that the government served up in parliament over the last two days has been appalling, and has gone almost unchallenged. Key and Bennett have both talked about the positive side of the ledger, jobs created, and completely ignored the other side, jobs destroyed. Authors at The Standard have picked it up in several posts, but opposition parties have dropped the ball and it's gone swish over the heads of the media.
The proposal is that carers for five + year olds need to be ready for part time work, and 14 + year olds for full time work. The cognitive dissonance here is that unemployment has steadily risen since National came to power; there are no jobs because more jobs have been destroyed than created.
At least we have had record net migration to Australia. Imagine how bad unemployment would be if all those skilled people hadn't left the country.
The vilest part is saved for the most sinful of beneficiaries (the woman who dares to have another child while on the DPB), who are required to be ready to work when their child is one year old. Is there any evidence to show this is a good idea? Because to me it looks like it is purely punitive, and ideologically based.
At a fundamental level I agree with National, in fact I would go further and say the benefit system needs to be abolished. Where we differ, drastically, is that I believe the abolition can only occur when we have a society where the payment of benefits is unnecessary because no one needs them. National have moved us away from that goal and put us in a position where benefits, as a proxy for support from society, are needed more than ever. Hang your head in shame, Mr Key.