Writing in the Herald Gareth Morgan delivers a stinging attack on the government's social welfare distractions:
Anyone would think these politicians and the bureaucracy implementing the latest raft of tests for benefit eligibility haven't a clue what they're doing, While it's irrelevant in terms of achieving anything apart from political populism, sadly it is very damaging for anyone in need of a Winz benefit.
Among other things, the bill replaces the current policy of cutting the benefit by 50 per cent for four weeks if a beneficiary turns down 'suitable work' to a complete forfeit for 13 weeks for some beneficiaries. And benefits will be cut for parents who fail to enrol their children in early childcare for a minimum number of hours a week or fail to register their children with a GP.
Forcing people into any job won't contribute to reducing our working age populations' reliance on income support. Those working on low paid incomes get benefits nowadays anyway, that's how absurdly disjointed benefits have become from the market value of low skilled labour.
The numbers on benefits move in line with business cycles. When the economy is growing and employers are short-staffed beneficiaries go to work - even those most maligned of beneficiaries, sole parents. National is conducting a witch hunt and it is not just disappointing in terms of the intellectual vacuum that underlies its social policy, it's a despicable display of victimising the less fortunate.
Its the last bit that's the real meat. If the government wants to get people off welfare, it needs to create jobs. Anything else is simply rearranging deckchairs at best, and sadism at worst.