Wednesday, October 14, 2015

National's cruelty

The latest example of National's cruelty to the poor: adopting the British tactic of using arbitrary bureaucratic barriers to starve out cancer patients:

Hundreds of cancer patients are being placed on the Job Seeker Hardship, making it harder to gain financial support for their treatment, in what the Cancer Society say is "ludicrous".

The move came after the sickness benefit was replaced by the Job Seeker Hardship in 2013.

A cancer patient who did not want to be identified told Radio New Zealand she had to pay for a medical certificate every month to prove she was not fit to work. Her surgeon told her she wouldn't be able to work for much longer.

"The letter from the hospital wasn't sufficient. I then had to go back and get a doctor's note to keep them happy, just to prove the fact that I was going in for surgery," she told the national broadcaster.

"Then I also had to, on the day of my surgery, get someone from the hospital to fax through that I had been operated on," she said.

This is pointless and petty and clearly a barrier to people getting (and continuing to get) the help they need. But "people getting the help they need" isn't the goal - instead, this is about denying that help, about finding excuses to dump people from benefits to meet the government's arbitrary reduction targets. It is a cruel and vicious policy. But isn't it so very, very National?