Backlash on welfare

August 10th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

I blogged earlier this week on David Shearer using the example of a guy on a sickness benefit painting his roof, and how it wasn’t fair, and how Shearer won’t tolerate people who don’t pull their weight. I commented:

Almost sounds like a speech from a National MP. How often do Labour MPs talk about welfare fraud?

A few of the left blogs have complained about it, saying how does Shearer  know that the sickness beneficiary didn’t have a mental health problem. I think they missed this part:

Last year before the election, I was chatting to a guy in my electorate who had just got home from work. In the middle of the conversation, he stopped and pointed across the road to his neighbour.

He said: “see that guy over there, he’s on a sickness benefit, yet he’s up there painting the roof of his house. That’s not bloody fair. Do you guys support him?”

I think we can assume that the neighbour knew enough about the situation to know he was being a bludger. He wouldn’t know the guy was on a sickness benefit, unless he had been told by the beneficiary – and presumably why he was on it.  So I think people are unfairly attacking Shearer for making a valid point.

But one comment was notable, based on who it was from on Shearer’s Facebook page:

Joan Caulfield Unhappy you chose to take a cheap shot at a sickness beneficiary. 

Do you know what his illness is? Maybe he has a mental illness and cannot hold down a job. Passing the test set by Work and Income is very difficult and requires a medical certificate. Sickness beneficiaries I know live in poverty and need support from families to survive. 

I expect a comment like that to come from the Nats.

Joan Caulfield is the former electorate agent for Mt Albert, when Helen Clark was the MP. To have a staff for the former leader and MP severely criticise the current leader and current MP for Mt Albert is a very rare thing.

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