Kiwi Polemicist

August 22, 2008

Labour misrepresents the facts – again

Ruth Dyson, Minister for Social Development and Employment, has released a statement trumpeting another shifting of the deck chairs on the social welfare boat. Lets have a look at few points from that statement and compare them to reality.

♦ “Last week the National party announced a policy of increasing administration for those who are sick.”

No they didn’t, they released a benefits policy that contained the novel concept of checking whether or not someone should actually be receiving a benefit. National will even stop beneficiaries filing Personal Development plans that include their social activities.

♦ here’s the shifting of the deck chairs: “From now on people receiving New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran’s Pension, Invalid’s Benefit, or Disability Allowance will just receive a letter checking that the details Work and Income holds are correct.

“If the information is correct, the person doesn’t have to do anything. Previously they would have to fill in a form every year reconfirming all their details.

“This relieves clients and case managers from excessive paperwork and allows them more time to have meaningful discussions about what support a person may need” said Ms Dyson.

I’m all for reducing paperwork, but this just makes it easier for people to stay on the benefit when they no longer need it. Of course, Labour likes beneficiaries who are dependent on their beneficent masters and who vote them in again and again. Also, how are the case managers going to have “meaningful discussions” with clients when the clients aren’t required to go to the office for their annual renewal?

♦ Dyson then says “It is this kind of policy – treating people based on their individual circumstances and focusing support on those who are ready to plot a realistic path back into work – that has led to plummeting benefit numbers, record unemployment and falling child poverty.”

So, she’s just announced a change for superannuitants, veterans, invalids beneficiaries, as well as those receiving the Disability Allowance, and considers that to be treating people according to their individual circumstances. Dyson clearly believes in Marxist egalitarianism – that’s where the State tries to make everyone the same.

The “record unemployment” could be taken either way!

What does she mean by “plummeting benefit numbers”? According to the Hansard of 24 June 2008, there were 255,000 beneficiaries in May 2008, a drop of 5,000 or 2% over twelve months. If a skydiver “plummeted” at that rate he wouldn’t need a parachute.

♦  Dyson finishes with “The National party need to face up to the fact that attacking the weak is not the most effective way to make the social welfare system work for New Zealand.”

Here’s what John Key says:

* You might ask why I use the word “welfare” when the vogue nowadays is to talk about “social development”. I unashamedly use the word welfare because I believe in the welfare state. I have a personal commitment to it. My father died when I was seven years old. My mother, my two older sisters, and I had no other family in New Zealand. For a period of time after my father died, my mother relied on the safety net provided by the Widows Benefit.

* National is committed to a benefit system that is a genuine safety net in times of need. We’re committed to a comprehensive system of benefits that provides temporary support to people as they return to independence, and also provides indefinite, compassionate support to people who are physically or mentally unable to support themselves.

* While it’s currently convention that benefit levels rise with the CPI, there is no law that ensures it. National will rectify that.

That’s hardly “attacking the weak”, that’s welfarism.

Whilst I’m no fan of National or their benefits policy, this statement clearly shows that Labour lives in a fantasy world. Is Helen’s favourite bed time story Alice In Wonderland?

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