Ardern and Walker right on Bennett

New Zealand Social Welfare spokespersons, Jacinda Ardern(labour)  and Holly Walker (Green) have come out saying Bennett’s latest press release is a cynical ploy and the latest in a series of announcements that seek to stigmatize beneficiaries.
They are right of course. I have just enough working knowledge of politics to know that all announcements are withheld to either maximise political leverage or to act as a distraction. Sometimes the pollies also like to be looking productive.
My guess is Bennett’s announcement is an attempted smack-down of the increasing call to extend the in-work tax credit to beneficiaries thereby making it the “In and Out of work credit”. It won’t happen of course as Act, United Future and the Maori Party will oppose it but National can’t afford to lose to much support given the Children’s Commission is about to have the scythe taken to it.
here is the press release:

Notice the political spin in the heading:
Investment approach refocuses entire welfare system.
That there is a box of fluffies in one soundbite. Very positive wording and talk of “investments” and “refocusing”.
1: No mention of the paranoia every women on the benefit will feel at the release of these figures. If you’re a sole parent you’ve been hung out to dry. This is the eternal problem with National. Their broad-brush punitive measures that affect society’s perception and worth of all women started under Richardson. Ruth Richardson ripped the benefit system apart and provided no training opportunities to a legion of women who had left their useless husbands in the massive social changes in the ’90’s. Fair enough require certain things fron beneficiaries such as their children making Wellchild checks. But real women who want real work want to hear about what job training or opportunities they will have to get work, not what a pack of thieving trolls they are, which is essentially the message underlying such a press release. 

2: Where is the comparison with another branch of the welfare system? Say, the cost of retirement? I don’t begrudge superanuitants at all but I know a political ploy when I see it and it would be a cold day in hell before National releases the costs of keeping a pensioner.
Bennett is like a curates egg, or “some parts bad and some parts good”. I don’t disagree with her announcements around parent being required to find early childhood education for their 3 year old’s but it’s dangerous to villify sole parents with such a press release.

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