Saturday, February 04, 2006

Collective wisdom moves slowly but surely

The headline reads Kiwis blame poor for being lazy.

A survey has found New Zealanders are more ready than 32 other countries to blame the poor for being lazy.

The survey gave people only two options for the question, "Why are there people in this country who live in need?"

In the last survey in 1998, exactly half picked the option, "They are poor because of laziness and lack of willpower." The other 50 per cent said, "They are poor because society treats them unfairly."

In the latest survey in 2004, the number picking "laziness and lack of willpower" soared to 73 per cent. Those ticking "because society treats them unfairly" plunged to just 27pc.

National MP, Judith Collins, welcomed the news with "great joy". Not words I would have used. It is sad but inevitable that people are beginning to see with their own eyes what the welfare state is delivering. The problem is, the realisation creates resentment. With this resentment comes greater difficulty in in getting people to help others at a voluntary level. Some people will always need help. We don't just cut it off. We have to find a less destructive way of providing it.

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