It has been reported that the opposition leader’s office has 31 people working in social media and only four working on policy development. And boy does it show.
Today National is releasing its social services policy discussion document and I am sure there will be something for everyone. Some needs assessing here and some retraining there all wrapped around a big club that it is going to use to beat poor people with mercilessly. For laughs. And political advantage.
The number one target will be gang members. Simon has already tweeted that “National will block gang members from the dole if they can’t prove they don’t have illegal income or assets. I’ve seen the misery gangs peddle. As PM I’ll make sure gangs can’t exploit taxpayers.” I have not posted the tweet because the churn and attention are obviously what National is looking for.
At a political level the plan is cunning. A discussion between a leftie and a right winger about the policy will go something like this:
Leftie: But how will it work? How can anyone prove they don’t have something, or not prove that they do have something?
Rightie: Hur hur crush them.
Leftie: But what about their children? And if they don’t have a legitimate income won’t this mean they will do more crime?
Rightie: hate, hate, hate, hate …
Simon Bridges was interviewed by Corin Dann this morning on the issue on Radio New Zealand.
He said that it was not the intention of the policy to get to the family of the gang member. Corin Dann said there were 6,000 to 7,000 children who would be potentially affected. Bridges could not explain how they won’t be affected even though asked repeatedly. I guess that these kids as well as being next generation gang members will just be collateral damage.
The most perplexing aspect of the proposal is why only gang members.
For instance there is a certain major political party that has form for avoiding the law concerning donations. The most recent example was when a $100,000 donation was partitioned into smaller non disclosable donations. The matter is being investigated by the authorities and for some strange reason the investigation is still ongoing, seven months after it was announced. Maybe National should be forced to show that its donations income is legitimate. Merely as a precaution.
And there is another group responsible for most white collar crime that using National’s logic should also have to justify their accumulated wealth. This is the most feared gang on the planet, the men in suits gang.
The full policy is to be released this afternoon.
There is one aspect that is troubling to me. National is managing to grab and dominate the media cycle with this trash talking. Events in Australia, America and the UK suggest that this sort of campaigning, destructive as it is, may be effective.