"Welfare Dependency" Hype Is Cynical Spin From An Irresponsible Government
Saturday 12 June 2010
Alliance Party co leader Kay Murray says she is sick to death of right wing politicians moaning about 'welfare dependency'.
"Who in their right mind would go out of their way to live a subsistence existence on the lowest income it is possible to have in the country? People receive welfare because they are, to put it bluntly, too old to work, too sick to work, or no one will give them work."
If the government is serious about helping people who need work they could do one really simple thing, says Ms Murray.
"They could make sure that lucrative Government contracts like the building of Auckland's new electric trains are given to New Zealand workshops using local labour, rather than outsourced overseas to places where workers have no rights and poor conditions."
Ms Murray says New Zealand was one of the first countries in the world to introduce a welfare state.
"This is something we should be very proud of. The only alternative is to leave people to fend for themselves by stealing, begging or starving to death."
When the economy contracts there are not so many jobs, hence unemployment is high and more people need welfare, says Ms Murray.
"Also the job market is much more competitive and some people find it a lot harder to get a job than others. People who are disadvantaged in the job market will be on welfare for longer, not because they are welfare dependent but because they have less chance of getting picked by employers who can afford to be fussy."
Ms Murray says if the Government put as much money and energy into maintaining jobs in New Zealand as they have into blathering about mythical 'welfare dependency' there would undoubtedly be far fewer people receiving welfare today.
She says obnoxious examples of what has come out of these very expensive talkfests are the concepts of time limits on benefits and 'work testing' for people on sickness and invalid benefits.
The Alliance says by all means provide incentives for employers to take on people who are disadvantaged in the job market and provide generous funding for organizations who support them in the workplace because it is the right thing to do.
Everybody should have the right to work regardless of ability or disability – but this will not in any way influence the total number of people receiving welfare.