The Dom Post editorial:
Those pioneers of the welfare state would never have envisaged the benefit system New Zealand has today.
They would have been appalled by the thought of thousands of perfectly healthy adults spending more than a decade on the dole and thousands more 16- and 17-year-olds being paid to sit around and do nothing.
To them, figures showing one out of every seven people of working age is on a benefit, with 220,000 children living in welfare-dependent homes, would not have been a sign of the success of the system they championed, but of its abject failure.
National’s welfare reforms, due from the middle of this year, aim to address this sorry state of affairs by placing new requirements on all beneficiaries who are fit to work. The requirement on them to make honest efforts to find work is a welcome move to restore the balance in the social contract that underpins the welfare state.
Yet sadly Labour are opposing the reforms.
Critics who have branded the reforms “nasty” or claimed they spell the end of the welfare state as we know it have either not studied the detail or are deliberately misrepresenting the facts. The reality is that the Government is not threatening to cut or stop payments for beneficiaries who fail to get work, but simply requiring them to make honest attempts to look for jobs and accept reasonable offers that come their way.