Archive for the ‘Welfare rights’ Category

As Jacinda Ardern spoke at Labour’s election launch about child poverty the Town Hall was packed with people pinning their hopes on her. Did any give a thought to how deftly she had just a few weeks earlier fed Metiria Turei to the wolves?  Announcing she would not have Turei in a future Cabinet because “When you’re lawmakers, you can’t condone lawbreaking”,  Ardern sided with the pearl-clutching judgmentalism that columnist Zoe Williams writes about in the Guardian.

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The downfall of the New Zealand politician Metiria Turei shows how little empathy is left for those on the dole

 

Some things are easier to see from far away, and a collective slide away from empathy and common sense, towards pearl-clutching judgmentalism, is one of them. At the start of August the co-leader of New Zealand’s Green party, Metiria Turei, was forced to resign, following an outpouring of opprobrium that threatened to poleaxe her party’s prospects in September’s elections.

The crime for which this tide of hate would have been proportionate is hard to imagine: in fact, it was spurred by her admission that she committed benefit fraud in the early 90s, a confession she made freely to highlight how hard it was then, and is now, to raise a child as a single parent under New Zealand’s notoriously punitive welfare system.

More than half of all that country’s benefit claimants owe money to their work and income department, in what appears to be a version of Gordon Brown’s working family tax credit overpayments, where you identify the country’s poorest families, pay them slightly more than you intended by a metric you haven’t really explained, then saddle them with a debt they have no hope of repaying. When you get to the point that these debts affect 60% of claimants, this is no longer a glitch in the system: this is the system.

As the journalist Giovanni Tiso described in a moving essay, “once the blood was in the water, the sharks had to do as nature commanded them” – her admission of guilt was deemed not quite penitent enough. The media set out to “investigate” the extent of her fraud, and found that she had also had support from family members when she was young, so couldn’t possibly have been as destitute as she claims. (more…)

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A group of artists are continuing the conversation Metiria Turei MP started – demanding a more compassionate social welfare system. They asked artists who have been on a benefit in NZ (DPB, sickness, invalids, jobseeker, whatever) to draw a picture of themselves, and write a couple of sentences next to it about their experiences.
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Check out their messages https://www.facebook.com/WeAreBeneficiaries/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Jacinda illustrations by John Moore)

Jacinda – Labour’s most pleasant leader

Jacinda redefines fairness

Jacinda’s aspirational fluff

Jacinda’s plan of hitting workers with more indirect tax

Jacinda’s party and bourgeois respectability

and for our wider collection of articles on Labour see: Redline on the Labour Party

 

by Susanne Kemp

The Metiria Turei case certainly brought a lot of mean-spirited people with double standards out of the woodwork.  People who vigorously defended John Key’s electoral fraud and Bill English’s rorting of the public purse for the polticians’ equivalent of accommodation supplement mounted their moral high horse to condemn Metiria Turei.

Unfortunately, people with these kinds of double standards have the power to inflict them on (more…)

by Don Franks (Rewrite of Blind Alfred Reed song)

There was never a time when everything was cheap
But these days the cost of living is so steep
If you’re stuck on a benefit
You just know that you’ll be hit
Tell me – how can the poor folks stand such times and live?

Meritia used her platform for the poor
Like Oliver Twist, please sir, we want some more
The bourgeoisie wouldn’t let that ride
She was duly crucified
Tell me – how can the poor folks stand such times and live?

Not so long ago , Labour was little lead
Now everywhere you look is blazing red
Well, you can believe the dazzling spin
Just remember what class you’re in
Tell me – how can the poor folks stand such times and live?

Now in a few more days, we all get to vote
They say that means we’re all in the same boat
parliaments for the smug well dressed
Its not there for the dispossessed
Tell me – how can the poor folks stand such times and live?

 

Cartoon: Tom Scott/DominionPost

by Phil Duncan

Late this afternoon Green MP and party co-leader Metiria Turei announced that she was stepping down from the co-leader post and would be resigning as an MP as of the end of the current parliamentary term in a few weeks.

She said that the media intrusion and, in effect, harassment of whanau members had become too much and, in order to protect them from further media harassment, she was resigning.  She also said that the Greens’ campaign against poverty was being undermined by the focus on her and so she was taking herself out of the equation.

Middle class loathing of the poor

Turei has been the victim of a sustained campaign of what is essentially class loathing on the part of chunks of the middle class towards the poorest sections of the working class, especially the brown working class poor.  There has been a sustained campaign in the media, engineered by middle class pundits and commentators, people who predominantly would see themselves as “liberals”.

And Turei’s great sin?  At the (more…)

Below is the text of a talk delivered by Dani in Dunedin on Friday, July 21.

by Dani Sanmugathasan

Good evening! My name is Dani Sanmugathasan, and I am a member of the British Marxist and Leninist organisation called the Revolutionary Communist Group. The following talk will be on the topic of ‘Corbynmania’ – the opportunist phenomenon that’s swept through the labour movements in core economies over the last two years – and a good place to start is at the events in London earlier this month.

INTRODUCTION

“Oh, Je-re-my Cor-byn!” rang out the chants of many on the streets of London on the 1st of July at the People’s Assembly’s ‘Tories Out’ march. The People’s Assembly, Momentum, Radical Housing Network, the Socialist Workers Party, the Stop the War Coalition, the Socialist Party, and the large trade unions (PCS, RMT, CWU, Unison, Len McCluskey’s Unite the Union…) were all rallying round the Labour Party leader, the holy Son of Attlee, the man who would save Britain from the iron grip of Tory austerity.

But beside these organisations, a distinct second current of marchers – composed of such organisations as Class War, the Focus E15 Mothers, Lesbians & Gays Support the Migrants, Architects for Social Housing, Movement For Justice, the Revolutionary Communist Group, and trade unions like the IWGB – led a different chant: “Labour, Tory, same old story!” These groups made (more…)