If National were the Government, Judith Collins would be Social Services Minister. That should be enough to send shudders down the spine of anyone who is worried about ensuring there is a safety net for the most vulnerable members of our society. Collins is rabidly anti the welfare state and a nasty piece of work. Whereas her predecessor as National’s Welfare spokesperson, Katherine Rich said ‘I’m not your DPB-bashing sort of person most of the people I meet on the DPB are pretty motivated people who have the same dreams and aspirations as the rest of us. Beneficiary bashing is a most unsatisfactory practice. It doesn’t really take you anywhere’, Collins agrees with Key who spoke of women ‘breeding for a business’
Collins’ latest attack on our most vulnerable citizens, ‘Labour gives up on long-term jobless‘, claims 60,000 people have been getting benefits for being ‘jobless’ for more than ten years. She’s being deceptive and she knows it. Yes, 60,000 people, 2.3% of adults, have been getting benefits for 10 or more years. But 38,000 of them are invalids that is, they have an ongoing physical or mental disability that prevents them from being part of the workforce. Of the rest, 16,000 are parents raising kids on the DPB, that’s not a task that’s over within a couple of years. 5,000 have a long-term sickness. Only 1,000 are on the unemployment benefit, and less than 300 have been on the unemployment benefit for the whole 10 years [data here].
What Collins doesn’t want you to know, because it wrecks her anti-welfare state argument, is that the number of long-term beneficiaries is decreasing rapidly (down 20% since December 2003).
A day after a report reveals that the only children left living in poverty in New Zealand are in beneficiary households and the Minister says we should aim to eliminate child poverty, all National can come up with is more hollow beneficiary bashing. Pathetic.