Thursday, May 21, 2015

Reaction to benefit rise - now and tomorrow

My own was probably stronger than I should let it have been. Disappeared up the hill with the neighbour's dog for an hour (mine are getting too arthritic to indulge me.)

But I listened as I climbed, to two different radio stations, and heard a lot of sentiment matching my own. I hadn't gone far when I began to wonder how much this budget would hurt National, though quickly factored in the popularity they may have garnered with groups not previously likely to tick them.

This is a bad business. People are (belatedly) saying there's now no difference between National and Labour so no-one represents them; that Kiwi Saver at least had people saving for their own retirement but the kick start money has gone back to those who won't take responsibility; that "National can't legislate the poor into prosperity"; that solving poverty is about getting people off welfare, not paying them more; that it is already hard enough to get people who want to work because the benefit it better. Plus a host of the usual comments stereotyping beneficiaries and their spending. A lady right now is calling for parents to get their act together and stop having babies on welfare. I don't lie. People who thought National was on their side are feeling betrayed. The public focus has swung back to the deficit and debt because of the perception of throwing more money away on welfare.

Silly matters like pony tail pulling and ....I forget, each has been so trivial....have failed to register in the polls.

This budget may very well.

Politically, commentators are saying it's a smart budget because it marginalises Labour.

I don't think so.

The Conservatives just won an election in the UK with welfare austerity as a big factor. It was popular not just amongst the affluent and middle-classes. It was popular with the working class; those who live amongst people who don't experience the same disciplines and restrictions put upon them by employment.

Maybe I am wrong, and if I am, will say so when the next polls come out.


Brendan McNeill said...


You are right, and so are the talk back callers. National has been too clever by half. They may well have marginalized Labour, but at 25% in the polls how much of a threat were they really?

We don’t need clever politics; we require principled leadership and fiscal responsibility. I’m forced to be a democrat, but I wonder if, in a dependency culture, democracy is capable of delivering either of those outcomes for us.

Anonymous said...

that solving poverty is about getting people off welfare,

No - it's about getting welfare off. That's the difference between George Osbourne and Bill English. Bill English is paying more while George Osbourne is paying much much less.

democracy is capable of delivering either of those outcomes for us

That's almost never been the case in NZ. 1952, 1984, 1991, that's about it. But whatever you say about the Clark/Cullen government, they had "principled leadership and fiscal responsibility". They would no doubt have jacked up taxes if they'd been in government --- but there's no way they'd still have been borrowing like Key.

The good news is we're looking at a National+ACT+Conservative coalition under Crusher or Tolley for the next couple of terms. And that will certainly be a government of a different sort.

david said...

We will need to wait a while, but lets see if the change in relativities shows up in the statistics. It will be interesting to see.

mike@nz said...

My thoughts exactly. National are now more Labour than Labour!

Trying to win an election by 'outLabouring Labour' is short thinking populist nonsense. I hate how the voter has been gullibly dumbed down and politics has turned into a reality TV game show.

Cheap and nasty