This has as much chance of working as trickle down. And I am astounded that someone should think it, let alone think that it is a good thing to say publicly. But a National MP has publicly advocated addressing poverty by … wait for it … cutting benefits further.
From Leigh-Marama McLaughlan at Radio New Zealand:
National MP Joanne Hayes says some Maori could end up better off if their welfare payments were reduced – claims condemned by the Māori Council.
Ms Hayes, National’s Māori Development spokesperson, has said people had been telling her a National discussion document that talked about getting tough on beneficiaries was racist.
The MP said social welfare had however not necessarily proved a good thing for Māori.
“We have become so dependent on benefits that we have, as a nation, actually lost the ability to be entrepreneurial and the ability to make our own way in life.”
She said her whānau grew up “running off the smell of an oily rag” but they made things work, and whānau need to be more resourceful with what they have and learn to grow vegetables.
Reducing income in a household [through benefit cuts] could strengthen whānau, she said.
“It could do, it depends on how resourceful the whānau are at being able to do the things for their whānau within the amount of money that they have.
“Sometimes you don’t have to be overly rich to actually live a good life – that’s where we fall down a bit – because we are not resourceful as a whānau.”
Where to start?
Hasn’t this been tried before? Like the Ruth Richardson benefit cuts in the early 1990s which saw support levels drop 20% below what was considered to be the minimum requirement just to “incentivise” people to get off the benefit? To our collective shame these cuts still have not been made up.
Or why allow the excessive levels of corporate welfare doled out to otherwise highly profitable companies?
Or let’s turn this around. Why don’t we make rich people more entrepreneurial and resourceful by taking away their excessive wealth.
The proposal is a failed economic theory wrapped up in a dog whistle and covered with a large amount of greed is good.
Please do not let these people anywhere near the Treasury benches.