The Dom Post editorial looks at two contrasting New Zealands:
One was the New Zealand of Paula McCutcheon, the young mother widowed last month when her husband, Mark, was stabbed while trying to help a woman who was being assaulted outside a Hawke’s Bay pub. Hers is the New Zealand most inhabit a land in which citizens go to work each morning, take pride in standing on their own feet, abide by the law and teach their children to respect others.
The other was the New Zealand of Victoria Stevens. It is a New Zealand in which adults healthy enough to rob and to steal, and to wrestle with the police, prefer to claim benefits than to go to work and in which mothers show their love for their sons by barking like dogs. To most New Zealanders theirs is a foreign country, but it is a foreign country that coexists alongside mainstream New Zealand.
Not so much a foreign country, but almost a foreign species.
And then focusing back on Stevens:
Although reliant on her fellow citizens to feed and clothe her, she acknowledges no reciprocal obligation to abide by the law or to treat others with respect. Is it any wonder her son now finds himself in the dock?
Unfortunately, she is not alone. As Prime Minister John Key has identified, there is a growing underclass in New Zealand, the members of which scorn notions of responsibility, respect and decency. Its ranks include those who made Nia Glassie’s short life a living hell and the dysfunctional Kahui clan, which closed ranks to shield its adult members from the police but totally failed to protect three-month-old twins Chris and Cru Kahui from whoever it was that inflicted the head injuries that killed them. It is a group too many of whose members are Maori.
And, despite the best efforts of academics and social workers, it is a group that no one has yet discovered how to reintegrate into society.
One thing is clear, however. Paying benefits year after year to people who flout the law, choose not to work and accept no reciprocal obligation for the aid they receive, has not worked.
It is time for Mr Key’s Government to take a rigorous look at the other New Zealand the one in which the evils of intergenerational welfare dependency are becoming more and more apparent.
Sadly, some people dispute there is any problem with generations of a family being on welfare. They see it as a right, not to be challenged.Tags: Dom Post, Victoria Stevens