Monday, July 12, 2004

Haven't we seen this somewhere before?

National continues its beneficiary-bashing policies, this time announcing that it will cut the benefits of parents whose children skip school. As with all of their "tough on welfare" policies, it's difficult to see how this would actually fix things. One of the expected consequences of these sorts of punitive measures will be eviction... which is coincidentally one of the chief causes of children falling through the cracks in the education system. And its difficult to see how starvation is going to motivate kids to go to school rather than, say, take more direct action through crime.

But if it seems familiar, it's because we've seen it all before. The above is simply Jenny Shipley's "Code of Family and Social Responsibility" tarted up in a new dress. Likewise the rest of National's "new" welfare policies: "parenting classes", work for the dole, benefit cuts (sorry, "a review of benefit levels")... the same policies the electorate overwhelmingly rejected five years ago. But rather than recognising that New Zealanders really don't want to live in that sort of society, National seems to think that the problem was that it wasn't harsh enough the first time round. How many electoral defeats will it take for them to get the message?