- Date published:
11:45 am, September 21st, 2012 - 51 comments
Categories: benefits, grant robertson, john key, paula bennett, welfare - Tags: barbara stewart, jacinda arden, jan logie, sue bradford
Grant Robertson, in the House speaking on Paula Bennett’s “Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill – First Reading”, gave an impassioned speech. He said many things that are similar to what I said here, about social obligations and a mutually beneficial social contract (as incorporated in the 1938 Social Security Act).
He laid into the government for smearing and scapegoating beneficiaries and scaremongering as a diversion from the economic failings of the government. This is taking the sort of approach I want to hear. My concern, however, is that these won’t turn out to be empty words, and that Labour policies will match up to the rhetoric.
Robertson’s speech can be viewed below
The one thing I would question him about is the Labour Party’s recent record in government. They weren’t as punitive as Bennie Basher Bennett and her boss John Key, and the Labour led government did focus more on jobs and training. But, as Sue Bradford said in her December 2010 article on welfare reform, the Clark government’s record wasn’t so great:
Unfortunately, National in the 1990s and Labour in the 2000s started us on a slippery slope towards a dangerous reconfiguring of the whole purpose and nature of our welfare system. National has now picked up on this again with renewed vigour, and like many others, I fear what the near future holds.
Robertson said yesterday in the debate on Bennett’s social security amendments, that the last Labour government took an “active approach” by “investing in people” and providing skills and training, etc. I would like to be assured that a future Labour government would aim to totally undo all the damage done to the social contract by both the “neoliberal” approach of recent Labour and National governments.
Some other points about the speeches I saw so far on this Bill: