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Democrats Reject Brash Flashback

Thursday 27 January ‘05

Democrats Reject Brash Flashback

“New Zealanders will no doubt welcome the timely reminder afforded by Mr Brash’s speech outlining National’s proposals for our benefit system” stated Democrat Leader, Stephnie de Ruyter. “Memories of the hardships imposed on vulnerable New Zealanders by National’s benefit cuts in the early 1990s might otherwise have been forgotten or dimmed with the passing of more than a decade.

“The high unemployment rate, high bankruptcy rate, poor nationwide economic performance, the new right’s callous disregard for the welfare of ordinary people and the subsequent victimisation of beneficiaries might all have been consigned to history’s dustbin had it not been for Mr Brash’s “state of the nation” address. The flashback will jog many memories and serve as an election year warning.”

Ms de Ruyter said Mr Brash’s ‘Orewa 2’ speech predictably enunciated the draconian views of a political entity bereft of vision and resorting to old, failed policy in a desperate bid to attract attention in this election year.

“The apparent lack of understanding and complete absence of awareness of the realities of life on a benefit are cause enough for concern, but the knowledge that given the opportunity National would move to implement such unjust, punitive policy is disturbing.

“Mr Brash and his colleagues seem convinced that a tougher stance needs to be taken on what they erroneously perceive to be a lucrative benefit industry. In fact beneficiaries struggle constantly to pay their bills, raise their families and meet their commitments in the same way that other New Zealanders do, but with much less money, with many more barriers and with little support.

“Beneficiaries are not people who have deliberately opted for welfare dependency: poverty is not a lifestyle choice. They are people who have found themselves, at some time in their lives, in circumstances which leave them in need of state support. In a civilised country such as ours, it is reasonable to expect that support to be forthcoming” Ms de Ruyter said.

Ms de Ruyter noted that the principles of social justice can be upheld in New Zealand, but not by the out-dated methods espoused by Don Brash and not by tinkering with the present ineffective system.

“The NZ Democratic Party offers a radical, workable alternative to the present system: an alternative which would enable and empower all New Zealanders to fully participate in their communities, to realise their potential and to do so with the security of income necessary to move forward with dignity and self respect.

The Democrat Leader commented that introduction of a guaranteed adequate living income, universally applied as a right of citizenship, and replacing all current entitlements, has the potential to transform lives. “And better yet, this aspect of Democrat policy illustrates the gains which are possible when applied economic justice delivers desired social justice outcomes.

“Thanks for the flashback, Mr Brash, but Democrats will always keep a clear focus on the future.”

ENDS

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