Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Our Offensive PM

So John Key thinks that when beneficiaries need food parcels they are making a ‘lifestyle choice.’ http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10707102

In December he was saying “If we cancelled welfare to 330,000 people currently on welfare, how many would starve to death? Bugger all.”
Since the tobacco tax was raised there has been a noticeable increase in smokers picking up buts from the gutters. No doubt JK thinks that a ‘lifestyle choice’, too. And when Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight in Tunisia and brought about the downfall of a government, no doubt that was a ‘lifestyle choice', too.
Thanks to Bomber Bradbury on his Tumeke blog for this apposite remark on John Key’s callous remarks about beneficiaries:
‘John Key's grossly offensive comments on why the poor need food parcels reminds me of the famous Herman Melville quote:’
"Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well housed, well warmed and well fed."
Thanks also to John Minto for a more detailed critique of Key’s gross opinions.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Solidarity with Tunisian Unemployed

The following letter was wriiten in accord with a resolution passed at the Januay meeting of Waitemata Branch:

To the Unemployed of Tunisia

As a branch of Unite union dedicated to organising unemployed workers we have followed the momentous events unfolding in Tunisia with great interest.

On behalf of Waitemata branch I wish to express our profound admiration for the great courage of the Tunisians who at great personal risk have risen against the oppressive regime and against the global capitalist economic order that inflicts such great misery on the masses, and to offer our solidarity in the a struggle that is being emulated now in Egypt and beyond.

We condemn the deadly violence with which the regime sought to repress the uprising, and we condemn its attacks upon the union offices which have become centres of organisation.

We wish to extend our firm solidarity and sympathy to the families of those who have lost sons and daughters, brothers and sisters to the violence of the state, particularly to the family of Mohamed Bouazizi whose heroic martyrdom will be forever remembered.

Yours fraternally

Hon Secretary

Waitemata Branch

Unite Union

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ten Myths About Welfare

The politics behind the government’s welfare reform process

by Gordon Campbell

Sometime during the week of February 21, the Welfare Working Group chaired by former Commerce Commission head Paula Rebstock will release its final report on welfare reform in New Zealand. From day one, the exercise has hardly been a wide-ranging or rigorous investigation. The WWG chose to fixate on a symptom (welfare dependency) selected a cause from its ideological kitbag (an alleged lack of personal motivation and of strong incentives to seek work) and shaped its policy recommendations to suit.

A long list of relevant issues have not been part of the WWG agenda. So far, the WWG’s investigations have not involved any substantial analysis of :