So, Tariana Turia has (eventually) come out against Paula Bennett’s pointless policy of making people on the unemployment benefit reapply after a year. Of course, Turia is for work-for-the-dole, which is just as stupid. Looks like there will be a show-down, a fight between the two dumbest welfare policies. I predict that Turia will meekly back down, praising National and damning Labour all the way.
Whatever happens, it is clear that beneficiary-bashing is going to be a major focus for this government.
While the rich are plied with tax cuts, cheap mineral consents, and all the other little bonuses National is giving them, the Government needs some distraction, someone to be a figure of hate.
So, the myth of the dastardly bludger is being wheeled out again. There have already been a number of anti-beneficiary stories leaked from Bennett’s office to the media, who are lapping it up. Most of these leaks are probably in contravention of the Privacy Act but, after the initial mistake of brutally attacking two solo mums who want to get trained and into work like she did, Bennett is being careful to choice unsympathetic characters as her exemplars of so-called ‘bludgers’ and the media looks the other way on the legal issues.
Look for more ‘bludger’ stories as the Government tries to generate a ‘mood for change’, which will then be matched by policies that will exclude more people from the meagre respite from destitution that benefits provide.