Dom Post on welfare reform

The Dom Post editorial:

It is inconceivable that the “cradle to the grave” social security system envisaged by former Labour prime minister Michael Joseph Savage resembled anything like the welfare state we have today. He dreamed of a temporary safety net to help those down on their luck when times were tough. What we have is a system in which 10 per cent of the workforce is on a benefit, 222,000 children live in benefit- dependent homes and thousands of 16 and 17-year-olds are being paid to sit around and do nothing.

It is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue and one which National is promising to fix.

And Labour is promising to oppose. The more beneficiaries there are, the more votes they get.

Criticisms that the measures are overly-harsh or interfering ignore the fact that there is something deeply flawed with a system that hands over cash to people as young as 16 without expecting something back in return. While there are job-search requirements, they are next to useless for young people without the basic skills needed to secure employment. Requiring them to get up to speed in literacy and numeracy or to undergo trade or other training is not punitive, as some would cast it, but designed to allow them a better path through life.

Taxpayers also have every right to expect that payments to 16 and 17-year-olds are used for the purposes they are intended. It is not a “nanny state” intervention, as some would claim, given the fact that by definition IYB recipients have lost the backing of their parents or been forced to leave home and turn to the state for support.

Nanny state generally is interfering with people whom are independent and restricting their choices. Putting some rules in place for those who rely on the state for income is not in that category.

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