National whistles up support for benefit bashing

August 12, 2008

So the National Party, under millionaire leader John Key, has discovered the underclass. No, they’ve discovered (or rediscovered) the art of the dog whistle.

The policy released this week that would ‘encourage’ single parents on benefits to work for up to 15 hours a week is, on the surface, about getting the country ‘back to work’.

But, as the NZ Herald editorial put it so nicely:

National’s efforts will be felt mainly by those with few skills and poor earning capacity and, frankly, Mr Key ought to have more important things to do. This policy does more to stroke the shibboleths of party supporters than meet any pressing social need. He should return to topics that count. [Inflicting pain for little gain]

The Nat’s ‘policy’  is classic dog whistling.

Think about it. Beneficiaries can earn up to $100 a week under this policy and will have to work around 15 hours. Do the math! It works out at $6.67 an hour. That’s not helping the disadvantaged or getting the economy working, it’s just about slave labour.

But it plays well in Orewa and that’s John Key’s real message.

Read the rest of this entry »