Blogger sees red at Green co-leader’s urging the handout of dole money without question

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson was mentioned in despatches during the week, in a post which dealt with MPs’ air travel expenses.

We mention her again today because of her eagerness to have taxpayers become more generous to the unemployed, no matter – apparently – how feckless or disinclined to find work they might be.

Our earlier mention of Davidson and the Greens was triggered by Taxpayers’ Union data, gleaned from the latest Parliamentary expense disclosures, which showed the list MPs from the Greens (on average) are spending more than a third more than Labour’s equivalent.

Average air travel spending for non-ministerial list MPs by party:

Greens – $9,816
NZ First – $8,059
National – $7,332
Labour – $6,499

Davidson explained to Newshub that because the Greens only have eight MPs,

“… we always tried to get out and about, but certainly with eight MPs it’s quite tough and we have to try and spread ourselves as much as possible”.

Her own parliamentary air travel expenses – for the record  – were $12,108 during the October-December 2019 period.   On the other hand, her total expenses amounted to $22,479.

This paled alongside National Party leader Simon Bridges’ $58,110, his deputy, Gerry Brownlee’s  $39,058, and his party colleague’s Hamish Walker’s $37,414.

Top of the Labour non-ministerial list was Meka Whaitiri ($37,115).

Among the Greens, Chloe Swarbrick out-spent Davidson with a tally of $23,261.

Labour list MP Ginny Andersen spent just $1613.

But this post is about the Green Party’s urge to raise benefit rates in response to the Coronavirus.

The party are calling on the Government, of which it is a part, to fully implement the recommendations from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group’s report.

That would see benefits boosted across the board at a cost of around $5.2b a year. The current welfare system pays out about $24.5b in benefits a year, including $15.5b for superannuation.

Here’s where Davidson comes into our story –

Green co-leader Marama Davidson said given the impact the virus’ associated economic shock might cause for casual workers larger benefits were vital.

“The COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the income of casual workers shows how flawed our social safety net is,” Davidson said.

“Whether you have to take two weeks off because you’re self-quarantining, recovering from surgery, or you have a really sick kid, our social safety net should be there to support you.”

Davidson called for the abolition of the “stand-down period” for benefits, which generally stop people getting funds for the first seven days of unemployment.  These have been suspended by the Government.

“Suspending the stand down period for the COVID-19 outbreak shows New Zealanders care about supporting people in times of need.

And then –

“We need to extend this approach – because it doesn’t matter why you can’t work – you should be able to immediately receive support,” Davidson said.

“It’s clear we need to change our welfare system, to absorb the impact of unexpected viruses and other issues that crop up in life. Whether it is COVID-19 or something else, our social safety net should be able to support us across the board when we’re struggling.”

Our attention was drawn to this by Lindsay Mitchell’s blog post headed Greens: “It doesn’t matter why you can’t work…”

In the permissive tradition made famous by Metiria Turei, Greens co-leader Marama Davidson says: “It doesn’t matter why you can’t work – you should be able to immediately receive support.” She wants stand-down periods permanently abolished and benefit rates increased substantially. This is in response to the coronavirus. But their desire for a sanction-free, no-questions-asked benefit system is well known.

Mitchell proceeded to remind us of how the social welfare rules have been eased over the years.

It is staggering how pervasive welfare has become since its very first inception as the stringently policed old-age pension. A prospective recipient had to make application to a magistrate with proof of age, citizenship and good character. The names of those granted a pension were published in daily newspapers.

Until the 1960s clauses remained in benefit legislation to the effect that the applicant had to be sober and of good character and must not have caused their own incapacity to work. These disappeared as gate-keeping became increasingly difficult and society adopted a more ‘progressive’ attitude to need.

From then numbers exploded.   

Mitchell then examines Davidson’s statement – in effect – that it doesn’t matter if you make yourself unemployable.

This is only giving voice to the current state of affairs anyway, she contends.

Thousands of  addicts, and criminals – past and present –  have their livelihoods paid for by the law-abiding. Thousands of parents chose to rely on the taxpayer instead of a partner to raise their children. Thousands of individuals have become inter-generational dependents as a result.

Are we a better country for the Green’s (current political manifestation) brand of liberalism and non-judgementalism?

We may be. But if I was going to bat for children I’d say ‘no’.

(It is one thing to extend kindness and care working one-on-one with beneficiaries and prisoners. A personal relationship includes personal knowledge about circumstances. But it does not follow that a society should apply a blanket approach of unquestioning and uncritical ‘compassion’.)

We suspect many of our readers will be on Mitchell’s side of the argument.

 

2 thoughts on “Blogger sees red at Green co-leader’s urging the handout of dole money without question

  1. And in amidst Robbo staying at home from a meeting with Canberra who did I spot yesterday in Sydney. That’s right, Chloe Swarbrick.

    Like

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