The Alliance Party says the credibility of the National Government is in tatters after their ham fisted smear campaign on the unemployed and solo parents comes unglued in spectacular fashion.
Many New Zealanders have condemned yesterday’s attacks on beneficiaries, including the Salvation Army, which described the plan as unworkable and a recipe for more troubled and neglected children.
Now the debacle has widened as National’s own Attorney General has admitted the plan to punish jobless New Zealanders breaches the Bill of Rights.
Alliance Economic Development Spokesperson Quentin Findlay says their attempt to use the unemployed and solo parents as economic ‘cannon fodder’ has failed miserably.
He says many New Zealanders have reacted with concern as the Government resorts to the “blame game” of the 1990s where the previous National Government attempted to cover for appalling levels of unemployment by attacking the victims of unemployment.
Mr Findlay says news the reforms breach the Bill of Rights Act on three grounds by discriminating on the basis of sex and family and marital status had blown Social Development Minister Paula Bennett’s credibility out of the water.
“The fact John Key has had to prop up the plan with a rare appearance shows things have suddenly turned bad for National as most fair minded New Zealanders recall the same nasty tactics in the 1990s, which resulted in National being turfed out of office for a decade.”
“The famous Key smile is going, going . . . gone.”
Mr Findlay says this presents a problem for National, as Minister of Covering for Floundering Colleague’s Steven Joyce has already been handed so many portfolios recently he probably wasn’t available to take over from Paula.
Mr Findlay said that sanctimonious homilies from John Key and Paula Bennett about the need to find work were a transparent ruse to distract from mass unemployment.
“This Government is aware from Treasury Reports that unemployment could continue to rise and further that the Government was actually in the process of actively firing people from areas in the public service.”
“The Tories are actively pursuing an active policy of unemployment. Their reforms in the public sector are costing jobs and conditions. Every day they appear to announce a new policy that costs New Zealanders jobs.”
Instead of facing up to their lack of developed policy in these areas the Tories have returned to form by blaming the victims of Government policies for the Government’s own short comings.
“If the Government really want people off the unemployment benefit then maybe it should consider actively pursuing policies that promote full employment.”
Mr Findlay said that an active employment policy would require a u-turn on 25 years of failed monetary and fiscal policies. It would mean a complete redraft of the Reserve Bank Act, a halting of free trade negotiations and active Government investment in infrastructure.
“The Tories are pursuing the same failed market led policies that previous Governments have. The result has been the increased impoverishment of many New Zealanders.”
Mr Findlay said that the most vulnerable New Zealanders were paying the price for the poor decisions of others while the “real leeches on the economy” were given a free ride.