(Originally posted at The Standard.)
One of the core differences between the right and the left, it seems, is that the left actually understand that not everything’s about money and not everything can be decided by the market.
There are core services which must be run for the public good. And some of them cost money, and don’t make profit. But the state provides them to ensure some basic needs are met and some basic rights are protected.
But even I wouldn’t have thought the government would stoop so low as to demand that charitable organisations – groups often doing things which should be funded by the state but aren’t – foot the bill for getting police background checks for their workers and volunteers.
Yet that’s what they’re doing. Organisations like the Cancer Society and the Blind Foundation have calculated the additional costs for them at $10,500 and $2,500 respectively. And that’s simply money they don’t have spare.
This is going to lead to cuts in vital services. All for a paltry $2.2 million saving – or less than 2% of the bailout they were pushing for SkyCity. And Anne Tolley expects charities to be grateful it’s not as expensive as it is in other countries!
It’s the ultimate in ideological policy-making: pushing the user-pays model at all costs, to save peanuts and cause who knows how much harm further down the line when charities have to decide if they can keep their doors open.
Labour is organising with charitable organisations to oppose this petty penny-pinching. You can add your signature to Labour’s petition here.