John Key’s latest plan to hound young unemployed people with “micro case management”, whatever that means, and other punitive measures, as a callous political stunt. Continue reading
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.
The Alliance Party says if the Prime Minister wants to “improve” the student loan scheme as claimed, he should just abolish it.
Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says it is worth remembering Mr Key and most of his colleagues would probably have received their education for free.
Student loans were introduced in 1992 by the National Government, following the introduction of fees and user pays education by the Fourth Labour Government in 1990.
The student debt is now approaching $11 billion dollars.
Ms Murray says the Alliance agrees with the New Zealand Union of Student’s Associations goal of a “universal, free, publicly funded and high quality tertiary education system at every level.”
“Tertiary education should be completely free and all students should receive a student allowance at the level of the unemployment benefit.”
“In fairness to those who have already incurred student loans, all existing student debt should be wiped.”
Ms Murray says student loans are an iniquity that have seen our young people saddled with debt the likes of which their parents would not have incurred even in buying their first house.
She questioned the commitment of the Labour Party to affordable education.
“The fact is Labour are also committed to user pays education and student loans, and student debt rose massively during their time in Government.”
The Alliance supports a free public education system through to the tertiary level, funded by progressive taxation.
“Education is vital for the future of New Zealand and we should be encouraging all young and mature students by removing any barriers to their education.”
I am running on the Alliance list this election. In the past few weeks I have encountered a lot of wry smiles, some open laughter, a lot of confusion, and some angry contempt. It’s the last one that bothers me the most of course, although it does make me sad and frustrated when people don’t know what the Alliance is, or think that we’re still Jim Anderton (he’s a party all to himself, I say).
What annoys me is people who say they are lefties too, and that we should be ashamed for splitting the left vote. Some of them seem more annoyed at me than at John Key. So I would like to put my case for why I am standing for the Alliance, and why that’s a move I will be proud of, no matter who comes out on top on November 8. Continue reading
The Alliance Party says education unions should be working together to push for more funding for the education of New Zealand’s children and young people.
Alliance Party education spokesperson Richard Wallis says he differs from PPTA president Robin Duff who has commented that entrenched pay parity agreements with primary schools are preventing post-primary teachers from gaining better wages and conditions.
“The Alliance says all education unions need to work together to push for a serious investment in the education of our children and young people. We strongly support the PPTA but believe a divided approach is not the best way to achieve our common goals.” Continue reading