Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Broken records

One of the more memorable bits of In A Land Of Plenty, the documentary on the rise of unemployment in New Zealand that was on the other night, talked about how neo-liberals at Treasury wanted to increase the economic gap between workers and the unemployed, and so gave us the 1991 benefit cuts. Then, when the ECA had lowered wages at the bottom end of the scale, wanted to do it all over again.

Now we're hearing the same broken record from the OECD - except this time they want to target solo mothers and slash the DPB. Fortunately, the government isn't having a bar of it:

"We have invited people in the OECD to come and live on a benefit here. I haven't actually seen any of them volunteer to do it yet," Social Development Minister Steve Maharey told the Herald.

But isn't that always the way with those proposing welfare cuts?

Ending work testing for those on the DPB was one of the best decisions the government made. It sent a clear message to single parents that it was acceptable to spend time on their children. Forcing single parents into low-paid work simply compounds disadavantage; allowing them time to get their lives together and actively assisting them to find decent work that does not interfere with parenting may be slower, but is far better strategy for both parents and children.