Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Weekly distraction

The government is doing badly in the polls, so Paula Bennett is back again to announce a new crackdown on the poor, threatening to cut benefits if parents don't send their kids to ECE:

Parents face having their benefits slashed in half if they don't send their children to school or early childhood education centres and enrol them with a doctor.

They must also complete basic health checks.

Social development minister Paula Bennett has just announced new 'social obligations' which she says will give kids a better start in life.

Of course, ECE isn't universally available, and homeless, starving kids are even less likely to go to school - but that doesn't matter to Bennett. There is a sadism bloc to appeal to, and "tough on welfare" headlines to get. Meanwhile, the key question - what will happen to the people whose benefits Bennett cuts? - goes unanswered. And we deserve an answer to it. Because its not clear how leaving people to starve and be kicked out of their homes is going to solve any problems, while being likely to create some fairly significant new ones.