Who benefits?

Social Development Minister?Carmel Sepuloni


In a well-recognised sop to the Greens, the government has announced an 11 person panel to advise on the overhaul of the welfare system. The panel is made up of academics, social advocates, union leaders and the odd business person thrown in, just to prove that the panel has a balanced perspective.

There is nothing even remotely balanced about this panel. This from?Stuff?Quote:

The Government has announced a mammoth 11-person panel to advise on the overhaul of the welfare system, made up of academics, social advocates, economists and business leaders.

Social Development Minister?Carmel Sepuloni said the group would undertake a “broad-ranging” review of the welfare system.

“It will deliver advice to the Government on ways to ensure people have an adequate income and standard of living, are treated with respect, can live in dignity, and are able to participate meaningfully in their communities.”

The overhaul of the system was promised as part of Labour’s?Confidence and Supply agreement with the Green Party. Sepuloni said a welfare overhaul was “unreservedly supported” by all of Government, pointing to NZ First.

The Green’s campaigned on removing nearly all sanctions and rules around receiving a benefit, however entered the campaign without the policy’s champion Metiria Turei, after she was forced to resign over mounting pressure following an admission of historical benefit fraud. End quote.

What can you say? The policy was championed by a benefit fraudster who thought she’d get away with it, but didn’t? Quote:

Sepuloni confirmed the group would be taking a special look at the sanctions brought in by the previous Government, as part of a system-wide overhaul in 2012. End quote.

So the previous government tried to crack down on benefit fraud and the current government wants to encourage it? Why does none of this surprise me? Quote:

“Areas that the Welfare Expert Advisory Group has been asked to focus on range from considering the overall purpose of the system, through to specific recommendations on the current obligations and sanctions regime.” End quote.

The overall purpose of the system is to provide a safety net for those in temporary hardship, through unemployment. We already know this, and it hasn’t changed. Quote:

Other members of the welfare panel include paedeatrician?and professor Innes Asher, beneficiary advocate Kay Brereton, academics Huana Hickey and Tracey McIntosh, economist Ganesh Nana and former Business NZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly, as well as trade unionist Robert Reid.

Representing the Council of Christian Social Services on the group was chief executive Trevor McGlinchy, and second-year university student?Latayvia Tualasea Tauta will provide a Pasifika perspective to the panel along with lived experience of growing up in a benefit-dependent household, while Family Centre founder Charles Waldegrave rounds out the 11-person group. End quote.

As far as I can see, there is only one person in that group who could be considered unbiased, and that is Phil O’Reilly. The rest are academics, beneficiary advocates and even a far left economist who advises the government. And what exactly a trade unionist is doing there, God only knows. Quote:

Under-Secretary Jan Logie said the Greens welcomed the establishment of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group.

“This Government knows there are immediate changes we need to make to our welfare system, which we are working on. But we also need to take a long term view and ensure the whole system is working effectively and compassionately.” End quote.

The welfare system does not need to work compassionately. It needs to work effectively, to ensure that taxpayers are treated fairly. After all, if taxpayers decide they have had enough, the whole welfare system falls over. People may starve as a result.

If this pans out as expected, and the Greens get their way and allow welfare recipients to collect welfare while being dishonest, the government is in trouble. Did the Greens not learn their lesson with Metirea Turei? The country will not tolerate being ripped off by dole bludgers yet they still think it is okay to pursue her policies.

Some people never learn. But I predict that this will be the end of the Green Party.