It’s the old National Party lie, isn’t it? As reported in The Press:
New Zealand’s social welfare system “dehumanises” people in need, with beneficiaries described as “scared stiff” of Work and Income case managers, new research says.
The report said case managers were “overstretched”.
Tolley said there was “no evidence” of this and in 2014 the Auditor-General reviewed welfare services and found most people found their claims were “resolved fairly”.
She said the Government had reduced the amount of people on benefits, with an 8.6 per cent decline in Canterbury of solo parent benefits.
We’ve reduced the numbers! That’s what’s important! We must be successful economic managers because there are fewer people claiming solo parent benefits and this obviously means people are bootstrapping their way into work!
Except that at this point, if you’re at all interested in NZ politics, you know full well that National has spent the past six years achieving benefit number reductions in one way: making life so hellish for the people who depend on them that they will do absolutely anything to avoid dealing with Work and Income.
We’re talking about people who by very definition are in a vulnerable position. They can’t find work. The jobs aren’t there, or they’re sick, or they have dependent children. They don’t have enough to pay the bills. They’re trying to feed their kids, and they’re coming up time and again against a remorseless, heartless machine which treats them like villains.
I know there are many lovely, generous, well-intentioned people working in our social welfare system. But right at the top you’ve got a government which thinks anyone who isn’t in paid work is inherently a moocher, a parasite, a waste of space. That will always filter down to the front lines, and that’s why you get a situation where people who have to queue for hours just to have the chance to argue for a little bit of help to pay the rent aren’t even allowed to use the goddamned toilet.