In New Zealand, a widening gap between the rich and the rest threatens many of the country's greatest strengths, writes Max Rashbrooke, who argues for a new settlement of welfare...
New Zealand's recent history has been marked by an increasingly punitive approach towards beneficiaries, despite evidence of their strong work ethic and desire to fill jobs if they are available.
A more humane – and ultimately more productive – approach would be to invest in them as well, by increasing benefits to enable them to participate better in society, and by matching that with greater investment in personalised retraining and job placement programmes, in order to tackle the low skills that prevent many from rejoining the workforce. This could be funded by higher – and thus fairer – taxes on those who have done well while enjoying the benefits of our common investment in roads, healthcare, education and other public services.
(Hat-tip Gordon Campbell)