Chuck Bird has twice made reference to ACT's constitution on this blog. As I am no longer a member I am not sure why. The constitutional excerpt;
“...maintain social and economic support for those unable to help themselves and who are in genuine need of assistance”
defines out what Chuck thinks welfare should be, which includes retaining a welfare state. He was therefore unhappy with a repetitive commentor who harps on monotonously about how we should ZERO ALL BENEFITS.
Chuck thinks he will put off ACT voters. I am flattered Chuck thinks that many people read my blog.
However, getting rid of all benefits is closer to what Douglas proposes than what is in the ACT constitution. Douglas has always wanted all New Zealanders to fund their own social security needs through individualised accounts.
From the NZ Herald;
"Sir Roger's Budget would cut Government expenditure by more than a quarter within one year.
People would be expected to pay for their children's primary and secondary education directly; tax credits would be available for those whose tax cuts were insufficient to cover those costs directly.
They would also be expected to take out catastrophic health insurance and meet more minor health costs like GP visits, out of pocket. Accident, sickness and unemployment insurance would also be a matter of individual responsibility."
Now, I am not averse to Douglas' thinking BUT its not going to happen any time soon. He hasn't managed to build any movement for it here or in the UK in 20 years.
Which is why I have always channelled my efforts into realistic (most would call it radical) reform of the current system. There was a period when state social security did what it was supposed to do. Can we ever return to that? Quite possibly not. But the prospect is more palatable to voters than what Douglas wants.
My approach is also what Muriel Newman pushed for a long time. When Muriel was welfare spokesperson EVERYONE knew what ACT policy was. Since Roger assumed that portfolio nobody knows what ACT policy is because he promotes ideas with the rider that "the views expressed are Sir Roger's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Act, but it features prominently on the party's website."
The situation is just mickey mouse. And it was mickey mouse going into the election. If ACT had had concrete policy based on the US reforms it could have negotiated welfare reform as part of its agreement with National. Instead it chose a platform of getting tough on crime. Well, I hate to say this, but crime is only going to increase until welfare is reformed, because welfare is breeding tomorrow's criminals as I write.