Thursday, February 16, 2012

National's New Zealand

A stagnant economy. 150,000 unemployed. Record high inflation. And now, solo mothers forced to sell their bodies as prostitutes because government benefits are inadequate:

A solo mum who wants to study so she can get off welfare says she has had to turn to prostitution to pay for childcare and transport to the course.

Tania Wysocki, a 38-year-old mother of two preschoolers at Paerata near Pukekohe, advertised herself on a website two weeks ago in a last-ditch effort to raise the money she needs for childcare when she starts a veterinary nursing course at Unitec in Mt Albert next week.

The good news is that now that she's gone public, WINZ has suddenly found that she's entitled to a lot more childcare than they'd told her. The bad news is that there will be a lot more people out there too ashamed to go public, who will be forced into choices they'd rather not make by a National-driven WINZ policy of obfuscation about entitlements (in order to save money, of course).

Its a perfect sign of the social damage National have inflicted with their austerity and penny-pinching. Sex work is legal, but its not something people should be forced into like this. The welfare state is there to protect people from having to make those sorts of choices, so that people can lead a dignified life even when they're down. But under National, its been eroded and cut or simply not paid so that that dignity is fast disappearing.