A few stories of recent weeks which show exactly what kind of government we have.
Last August, Emma-Lita Bourne died of pneumonia because the state house her family lived in was cold and damp. Soesa Tovo died after being admitted to hospital with heart and lung problems and pnuemonia. His house was so cold and damp they had to wipe down the ceiling every morning.
The response from Minister of Housing Nick Smith?
“People dying in winter of pneumonia and other illnesses is not new.”
Because people who expect state houses to not be so cold they kill people are clearly confused about the concept of mortality.
Marnia Heke and her children are living in their car because they can’t find stable accommodation. She doesn’t want to go to a motel for a night because it’ll get the kids’ hopes up.
The response from WINZ?
“We have told her that the Ministry would help her to cover the financial cost of temporary accommodation. We wouldn’t be paying for all of the accommodation as it would be reasonable to expect her to contribute.”
Because when a woman and her three kids are sleeping in their car what’s really important is making sure we spend the absolute minimum amount required to put a roof over their heads.
Peter Talley is given a knighthood for “services to business”. His business involves locking out workers, paying women less because they’re women, and trying to force workers to sign individual employment agreements which deny them the right to hold workplace meetings, criticise Peter Talley and his mates publicly, or deny their boss access to their entire medical history.
The response from the Deputy Prime Minister?
“It’s a big complicated business and I’m sure there’s been things go wrong over time, but I think the contribution he has made over the years has been beneficial.”
Because systematically, repeatedly exploiting your workers is just a boo-boo.
This is heartless government. A government that literally does not care about people. Not about providing warm safe housing (it might cost too much). Not about making sure they can come home every day after work (it might cost too much). Not about protecting workers’ right to freedom of speech and forming unions (it would definitely cost too much).
New Zealand is surely a better country than this.