No one said poverty is easy

Guy Williams

Comedian Guy Williams has decided to virtue signal his disgust at those of us who think that working for the dole is a good idea. Like so many of a left-wing bent, he sees virtues that the right value such as hard work and starting at the bottom, as unfair and unjust expectations of people who he believes have the right to be given free money for nothing.

His challenge to those of us who think that expecting people to earn their income is an attack on them is to challenge us all to try out poverty for ourselves.

[…] Comedian Guy Williams has come out swinging against those who criticise New Zealand’s poor.

His passionate speech came at the end of The Project’s segment on a potential government scheme that would pay the unemployed to plant trees.

The comedian said he’s tired of what he calls an “attack on the poor” in which people negatively stereotype those not in work, education or training.

“It’s one of those situations where people will say things like ‘oh poor people are just stoners, they’re on the dole, lazy and just smoking weed all day’. If it sounds so great, you can do it as well. Everyone can give it a crack.”

No one said it was great, in fact it is soul destroying and people who think like I do want to give these people stuck in dependency and unemployment a hand up not a handout. Working for the dole will help them. It is not a punishment or an attack but practical help. Giving a man free fish every day does not teach him how to fish. Working for the dole means people learn how to use a fishing rod.

My parents got me to do chores. They had expectations of me and gave me responsibilities in order to teach me life skills. They didn’t spoil me by handing me everything on a plate or by allowing me to do nothing. I did not expect good things to magically happen. I knew that I had to work hard to make them happen.

Mr Williams also chastised New Zealand First MP Shane Jones, who said on Sunday that under his proposed scheme there would be “no more sitting on the couch”.

“I just feel like in New Zealand we’re being a little bit tough on the people who need it the most.”

It’s called tough love and people caught in the vicious cycle of poverty need a circuit breaker. Often without role models in their lives they need to find out for themselves the satisfaction of earning a living and the social aspect of employment. It is not kind to leave them for years on the couch. It saps their self-esteem and their motivation. It is bad for them and leaving them there is not what a caring government should do. Helping them with training and work is the right thing to do. Giving them a reason to get up every morning is a positive way forward for them.