Question 5: What is behind the recent government attacks on welfare recipients?

6 Jun

Why did John Key recently say that the unemployed are slackers “who lack the will or desire to work as hard for their living as their fellow New Zealanders”?

The goal of the National Government is to shift the blame for the crisis and growth in unemployment onto the victims. As representatives of big business they want us to blame the dole “bludger” or a DPB “cheat” who allegedly doesn’t want to work. They want to point the finger of blame away from the responsibility of big business for the crisis.

John Key wants those of us with a job to look at our brothers and sisters without work as somehow stealing our taxes. That is why the government is introducing time limits on access to the unemployment benefits, forcing sole parents on the domestic purposes benefit to be available for work once their child reaches six years of age, and making it much more difficult to access sickness or invalid benefits.

It was the same trick they tried in the 1990s – unfortunately with some success. This contributed to the inability of the unions and broader labour movement to unite and defend the living standards of the vast majority of working people – employed or unemployed – during the right wing economic and political offensive of the 1980s and 1990s.

(Part of a series of extracts from “Exposing Right Wing Lies” by Mike Treen, Unite National Director)

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One Response to “Question 5: What is behind the recent government attacks on welfare recipients?”

  1. Toni Joa June 7, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    I would be delighted to have a job relative to my education, years of experience and enthusiasm. The only jobs available are minimum wage, unskilled labour positions – unless you are a part of a whanau. Nepotism and lateral promotions are so rife in this country, it denies the qualified the right to reap the results of their years of effort to get to the point that they deserve recognition. I am educated and experienced, but have had to resort to the fast-food restaurant business, at minimum wage, limited hours, subordinate to managers 35 years younger than me, just to survive. There is no possibility of ‘putting away for retirement’, there are no retirement plans available, no permanent positions available – you take the hours you are rostered and shut up about it. What the heck happened to New Zealand?

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