The government has announced its latest changes to the welfare system: providing employment assistance and training to all beneficiaries rather than just those on the unemployment benefit. It's an obvious step, and one which demonstrates the clear difference in approaches to welfare policy between the two main parties. National favours coercive and punitive solutions, seeing beneficiaries as malingerers who need to be forced into work and punished for not doing so. By contrast, Labour recognises something that National doesn't: that most beneficiaries actually want to work (people don't actually like being poor, strangely) and that all they need is a bit of help. Providing training, assistance with childcare, transport and establishment costs, proper medical care if they are sick, and of course help in finding work that matches their circumstances results in people moving off benefits faster than if they are simply assessed and abandoned - and without causing the misery and suffering of National's financial sticks.
By all accounts this approach has been very successful in trials, with over 90% voluntary uptake and 20% of participants able to be channelled towards full- or part-time work. But one thing you do have to ask is why the hell they weren't doing this already?