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Dumb and dumber on the dole

Written By: - Date published: 1:49 pm, January 15th, 2010 - 13 comments
Categories: welfare - Tags: ,

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.

13 comments on “Dumb and dumber on the dole ”

  1. Benefit bashing, to make people apply for the benefit, if they have been unemployed for as year???

    You are joking????

    • Bright Red 1.1

      It’s all part of a strategy, Brett. First, paint beneficiaries as bludgers, build public disquiet, then announce cut backs.

      It’s an old game – manufacturing consent.

      You have to learn to see politics as a narrative, a series of related and inter-linked events with actors working towards long term goals in small steps, not random stand-alone events where actors are always reactive, not proactive.

    • The holding up of various individuals for criticism and ridicule is benefit bashing.

      This debate always stuns me.

      Most kiwis are hardworking and the thought of being unemployed is abhorrent to them.

      During times of economic downturn the unemployment rate goes up. This is especially evident if the downturn is coupled with mismanagement like now.

      The right then bash those who are unemployed as if it is some sort of personal weakness, whereas it is clearly a result of market conditions.

      Look at the unemployment rate now. It is not as if the election of John Key has made more people decide to be bludgers, it is just the fact that there are fewer jobs.

      Beneficiary bashing may make the right feel better but it completely misses the cause.

  2. Has a decision been made about the breach of the critics’ privacy? It happened a while ago and it did not look that complex …

  3. Anne 3

    @ mickysavage
    If you’re referring to the case of Bennett’s release of info. about the two DPB women
    then the answer is… no. The Privacy Commissioner must be conducting a very thorough investigation for it to take this long?

  4. Rex Widerstrom 4

    Reading between the lines, it looks as though Turia’s real problem is with having been back-footed because she wasn’t told before Bennett announced the policy. Wtach for it all to be fixed by Turia being given a “major” announcement in the portfolio while Bennett stands in the background.

    Gotta love Bennett’s response though — shouldn’t come as a surprise to Turia because she (Bennett) had talked to Sharples about it.

    Geez Paula, I know all these Maoris tend to look similar, but you oughta be able to tell those two apart coz of the beard.

  5. Darien 5

    Have a look at my Red Alert post “Downward Envy?

    • Rex Widerstrom 5.1

      Linkwhore 😉

      I agree entirely with the thesis advanced in that psot, Darien, but think for some people there’s an additional psychological “twist”.

      Having been poor and been told (and believed) that that makes them somehow unworthy – not just of assistance from others but of participation as a full member of society – some people, having “made it”, are determined to prove that their previous poverty was somehow a mistake. That they didn’t belong amongst the “scum”, and that now they have their rightful place (in this case, in Cabinet) they will spit on their former peers to prove they belong in a higher class.

      The only comparative psychology that springs immediately to mind (and I’m sorry if anyone thinks this a sly aside at Paula Bennett – it’s not) is that previously fat, plain girl who gets a makeover and loses weight. Often she will be crueller to the remaining plain girls than a girl who is genetically thin and pretty. It’s that desperate need to forget who and what you once were by distancing yourself as much as possible.

      When it leads to school bullying it’s bad enough. When it drives government policy it should be stopped.

  6. Darien 6

    Have a look at my Red Alert post “Downward Envy?”

  7. Aj 7

    I rarely listen to Lhaws but this morning I pushed the wrong button on my radio and ended up on Radio Live briefly.
    Michael was going on about benefits and the 300,000+ on them:
    “some deserve them, many don’t”
    A subtle use of the words ‘some’ and ‘many’ don’t you think.
    A typical righties talking point that ‘many’ {ie the majority?} don’t deserve to be on a benefit.

  8. The irony of Paula Bennett’s ravings is that effectively all or most of those on benefits have to reapply every 3 or 6 months at present, as i understand it. So Paula the fat little ex benefit muncher Bennett is really telling tall tales again as none of those on benefits are entitled to it.

  9. big bruv 9

    Keep sticking it to the Nat’s on this guys, the more you do it the more the public see how out of touch you are with public opinion.

    Nine years of over taxation, nine years of wasteful spending and nine years of bribing those who refuse to take responsibility for their own families has come home to roost.

    Like it or not this will be an extremely popular policy with the vast majority of Kiwis, those of us who work for a living are sick and tired of funding the lifestyles of those who do not want to work, having to reapply for benefits (they are not entitlements) should be the norm.

    Of course we really should go the way of the Yanks and introduce a fixed time period for those on benefits, twelve months sounds like plenty to me, if you cannot find work in that time period then you are not looking hard enough.

    As for DPB, well the sooner we do away with that the better.

  10. Descendant Of Smith 10

    I was interested in this comment “Turia is for work-for-the-dole”.

    This should come as no surprise. Twenty odd years ago she was running workskills programs and PEP schemes. She is familiar with this concept and to be dair many youth on her programs were given skills and knowledge and confidence off these programs.

    At one level this is a funding source for Maori organisations i.e. delivering services and at another this puts service delivery for Maori by Maori at the forefront.

    On all counts she would see the benefits in this for Maori.

    Whether these programs are more or less effective than say currently paying subsidies to private sector employers (Job Opportunities) or funding the public sector to take on school leavers regardless of whether they needed them (1960’s to 1980’s) I guess is an interesting point.

    The usual sticking point with such programs is that they cost more than paying the dole and leaving people to get on with it.

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