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Don Bash Strikes Again

25 January 2005
Don Bash strikes again

The Green Party says Don Brash's expected attack on beneficiaries in his 'Orewa 2' speech this evening will be another failed attempt to 'divide and rule'.

"Dr Brash's entire electoral strategy consists of taking pot shots at easy targets and he seems determined to carry that on into election year," said Sue Bradford, the Greens' Social Services Spokesperson.

"It is unfortunate that his speech tonight will be aimed at trying to rev up fear and loathing of yet another minority group, this time beneficiaries. Do New Zealanders really want to go back to the days of Richardson and Shipley? I think not.

"Can he not see the contradiction between giving rewards to the rich and punishment to the poor?

"Don Brash has never known poverty, he is in no position to lecture the most disadvantaged people in our society on how to live their lives. He has a 'work house' attitude to social security issues. Dr Brash should have learnt from his father that punishing the poor and downtrodden won't lift them up.

"I know from personal experience from working with beneficiary groups that this sort of negative politics has a direct and deep psychological effect on people; it makes them feel worthless and unwanted.

"An attack on solo parents is particularly insidious, as it undermines the self-esteem of people who are doing the most important job in society, raising the next generation.

"What is needed is a humane approach that recognises the reality of people lives and, on their own terms, either recognises the value of what they're already doing or, if they choose, helps them retrain and / or find a meaningful and fulfilling occupation. One-to-one contact and guidance is appropriate, but threats and coercion are not only wrong, they don't even achieve what their proponents claim," said Ms Bradford.


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