Every now and then, as an amateur blogger, I read an article that is so powerful that it makes me wonder why I bother writing at all. Matt McCarten’s latest column is one such example. Extracts below. But go read the whole thing. Thank you Matt. — r0b
Derisory Budget wages war on working class
…At present we have an $11 billion deficit. The Government claims it’s going into the next election with a balanced budget. So I am surprised this week’s pre-Budget policy releases save very little.
They can be called “wedge issues” that seem deliberately targeted at those on modest means. For example, does anyone believe spending a derisory $1 million on contraception for beneficiaries and their daughters is anything more than sending a message that women on the DPB need to stop breeding? I wonder if they thought to offer castration to the sons of beneficiaries? …Another policy, adding another couple of bucks on prescriptions, is just a way of grinding down the poor.
John Key’s Government is even upbeat about sacking an average of one teacher from every school. The survivors get the extra kids in their classes. The savings are going to charter schools before they are sold to prospective buyers. How cynical to cut a school’s funding, lowering performance and thus encouraging frustrated parents to send their kid to a privatised charter school that got the money. …
Here’s the point I’m making: none of these announcements target our wealthier citizens. What’s more, these policies save less than $200 million.
This week has been about targeting the poor to detract from the Government’s economic incompetence and the dodgy behaviour of National’s coalition partner. We have a smiling salesman intent on transforming our once egalitarian society into a corporate state where the rich get the privileges at the expense of the poor.
Don’t believe me? On Monday night I was working late in my office. A couple of members of my union turned up at nearly midnight after an altercation with the police in Glen Innes. … Seventy-six state homes are being demolished or trucked out of the community to enable the sale of land to property developers to build McMansions for the wealthy. … As recently as last year Pita Sharples turned up at a public meeting and assured the residents it wouldn’t happen. Those promises have now been broken. No minister has returned. … Who do turn up are the cops, to bust up the local protests and make sure the houses are removed. Our own form of cleansing. It’s not ethnic, but rather class. …
There is something nasty going on. Maybe the offer of free contraception could be extended to anyone the Government decides is too poor – or lives on land they’d like to give to someone richer.