Thursday, September 25, 2008

National's lost opportunity

Katherine Rich delivered her valedictory speech to parliament yesterday after three terms as a National MP.

Rich said her "annus horribilis" was 2005, when her disagreement over Brash's views on welfare led to her sacking as welfare spokeswoman and her temporary demotion from the front bench. "Demotion clearly wasn't a career highlight but it was preferable than trying to explain why I, a well-paid mother with all the supports in the world, intended telling a DPB (domestic purposes benefit) mum to leave her baby in childcare to net less than half the minimum wage," she said.

And in making the issue about herself she lost the battle.

Katherine's circumstances were, in fact, irrelevant.

At a recent Grey Power meeting two women talked to me afterwards. They broached the subject. We agree with the letters you write about the DPB, they said. We were both in favour of the DPB when it was brought in. We thought it would be good for mothers and their children. But it has gone too far. Too many are now choosing it as a lifestyle, they said. And that is not good for their children.

Simply put society cannot have it both ways. Unless the DPB incentives are removed the problem of child poverty - spiritual and material - will persist.

There is no need to punish those already on the DPB. But there is a desperate need to tell those who are not, that lifestyle welfare is no longer an option. We have to turn off the welfare tap as the first and most urgent action.

In Katherine's 2004 welfare paper, Saving the next generation from welfare dependency, she wrote;

National is the only party that can make and implement difficult welfare decisions.

Unfortunately she couldn't. Brash could have but that is now all a tragically lost opportunity.

But I wish her all the best for life post-parliament. I am sure she is relishing the prospect.


Anonymous said...

I wish her well, too, Lindsay, but must admit that I'm not sorry to see the back of her.

I used to catch her weekly chat with the increasingly pompous Shane Jones on Paul Holmes' ZB prog.

Just another National Socialist who at times bordered upon being pretty vacuous, for mine.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

I wish she'd take Shane with her. Ghastly man.

Anonymous said...

Amen! Get Sus the Lib into that slot and watch Shane crap himself...


Anonymous said...

Shane Jones and Katherine Rich were a major cringe on NewsTalk ZB, although Wendyl Nissen is worse. I can't imagine why Labour would see Jones as a potential Prime Minister, however his appearance on Agenda two weeks ago was rather impressive.
Susan the Libertarian is by far the highlight of callers to Leighton Smith, speaking with such clarity and logic.

Anonymous said...

There is no need to punish those already on the DPB

it's not about punishment. it's not personal.

please explain why one more cent of my fucking taxes should subsidise some bluding mother and her useless kids for one more day!

If National+ACT gets more than 50% - as they damn well should - then all bet must be off and NZ must be reformed once and for all

if any bludging scum are still getting the dole or the DBP or the sickness or anything else by Christmas then ACT shouldn't support such a government.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Anon, National won't even put a cap on funding extra children born onto a benefit. So you can forget abolition.