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Who is the best beneficiary basher of them all?

26 January 2005

Who is the biggest and best beneficiary basher of them all?

Green MP Sue Bradford says National and Labour are engaged in a bidding war to be the biggest and best beneficiary basher.

"It is a disgrace that National has decided to once again target the poor in a bid to lift its poll rating. Just having a potential leader of the country articulating such a totalitarian vision creates a social atmosphere that leads to the persecution of the most vulnerable people. Shame on Brash," said Ms Bradford, the Green Party's Employment, Social Services, ACC and Children's Issues Spokesperson.

"But unfortunately Steve Maharey appears to be engaging in a bidding war with Brash to be seen as the best at harassing and persecuting beneficiaries. Maharey's pre-emptive strike yesterday to toughen up medical tests for sickness and invalid benefits would let the same policy-compliant doctors loose on beneficiaries that have already wrecked havoc on ACC recipients. In many cases it would mean injured and invalided people being shoved off another rung of support by the same doctor that has already stripped them of their Accident Compensation.

"This is Groundhog Day stuff. Rather than articulating a positive, unifying and inclusive vision for our nation, both Labour and National seem determined to continue their history of seeking the votes of those who view beneficiaries as undeserving bludgers.

Don Brash proposed last night to "introduce a three-month trial period during which employers and employees can end an employment relationship without penalty", ostensibly because such a move would "provide new job opportunities for beneficiaries perceived as 'risky'".

Ms Bradford: "If such a policy was ever introduced, unscrupulous employers would take on workers at the minimum wage, treat them badly for three months, then fire them for no reason, and the sacked employee would have no comeback in law. This proposal goes even further than National's old and bad Employment Contracts Act".

"Children would also suffer under Brash's plans. It's no use talking about reforming CYFS, as Katherine Rich does all the time, if that goes hand-in-hand with persecuting parents and further impoverishing them and their children. Pushing unwed teenage mothers to adopt out their babies shows that Brash and co have no idea of the life-long trauma that was inflicted on many young mothers and their babies in the generations before the DPB was introduced. The Nats want to reverse 50 years of positive, pro-people social reform.

"If National genuinely wants to get people off benefits in a way that helps them, the economy and the taxpayer, they should first commit to assisting people who are on the unemployment benefit into sustainable full-time, full-wage jobs, rather than harassing sole parents who are doing the hard work of bringing up kids alone, or people who are sick and injured and need healthcare as a first priority.

ENDS

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