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Brash’s Code of Victorian Individualism

January 27 2005

Brash’s Code of Victorian Individualism

The Alliance Party holds the speech of Don Brash with all the contempt it deserves.

Alliance Social Services Spokesperson Gail Marmont says that Don Brash’s speech was an entirely predictable attack on the poor.

The emphasis given in the speech to Domestic Purposes Benefit recipients demonstrates a coldness and threatening stance towards women in particular, Ms Marmont says.

“In order to score cheap and instant political points, Dr Brash has deliberately taken a simplistic and antagonistic approach to social welfare, that will not fool anyone for long.”

She says the speech had strong sanctimonious overtones, with its patriarchal values on good and bad mothers, and “the deserving poor”.

“The suggestion that the children of teenage mothers be taken from them is a chilling reminder of the practices of yesteryear.”

The Alliance says the irony is that it was the draconian policies of the Rogernomics era of far-right policies by both National and Labour that caused huge cracks in our social fabric in the first place, throwing thousands of people out of work and onto benefits.

“Our whole society is structured in a way that makes life difficult for people who have children to work outside the home.

“Good quality childcare is essential but this is usually very expensive, and combined with the very high costs of housing, education and transport, and shockingly low rates of pay in New Zealand, paid work is just not viable, especially for women who are sole parents.”

Ms Marmont says 14 year olds without a parent around in the afternoons are at added risk of getting into trouble.

“Once more, the National Party has shown itself to be totally out of touch with the realities of life, and completely bereft of imaginative, humane and constructive ideas about how we can collectively raise the children needed for the future generation of New Zealanders.” The Alliance believes that collective co-operation, and the incentives of free education, good wages, decent affordable housing, and the best healthcare we can provide are the keys to raising responsible citizens.

Ms Marmont warns that a society that endorses the grim and punitive stand taken by Don Brash and the National Party will be truly bleak prospect for the future.


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