Sue Bradford seems to pop up all over the show wearing different hats. The last one I saw her in was BAIS (Beneficiaries Advocacy and Information Service). Yesterday it was Auckland Action Against Poverty. Never short on hyperbole she describes the reforms that went to select committee yesterday as "shameful", "punitive", "paternalistic", "harassment" and "an important strand in National's war on the poor."
What is she describing?
- The expectation that beneficiary parents to be available for part-time work when their youngest turns five. Most mothers return to work before then.
- Paying young beneficiaries power and rent directly and limiting their benefit cash to an allowance.
- Providing enough childcare to allow young mothers to stay in education.
- Warning beneficiaries if they have another child while on welfare, and their existing child is at school, they will only get one year free from work expectations - the same as for non-beneficiary parents under parental leave.
Bringing beneficiaries into the real world, having the same expectations of them as everybody else, is a great thing. Sue Bradford could be reminded about the 'soft bigotry of low expectations'. That's where she seems to be at.