Who said: a payment card for people on a benefit that forbade alcohol and tobacco purchases would require moral judgments by the Crown, would be highly intrusive, would rob individuals of freedom of choice, and would impose an enormous administrative burden on Work and Income, and there was no need to change the way in which welfare is paid or assessed?
The answer may surprise you.
It was Paula Bennett 5 months ago.
How times change.
Now she’s all for a card that will, somehow, prevent a few thousand people who aren’t legally allowed to buy booze and cigarettes from, um, buying booze and cigarettes … oh, and takeaways. Of course, they’ll still have cash component of their benefits to buy these things should they want, and there’s a hundred ways to convert the things you can buy on these cards into things you can’t buy.
If it was a stupid idea for the reasons Bennett listed five months ago, why isn’t it now?
And, moreover, how would it actually work? Presumably, it will mean the sellers need some kind of electronic hardware and software to read the card and block any purchase of certain barcodes. Sounds complicated. Sounds like no-one but the supermarkets would bother – it is only 1,600 people, after all. Sounds like if you’re on the IYB and you don’t live near a major supermarket, you’ll be stuffed. Sounds like GST off fresh fruit and vegetables would be pretty straightforward by comparison.
Note to Labour: why haven’t you put the letter on Red Alert so we can see it?