Labour activist says keep welfare for the poor


The state is about those of us who are doing OK to help those who are not – manaakitanga. The goal is to give our neighbours, our sisters and brothers a hand to help them back to dignity and self-sufficiency when life deals them a tough hand. This is why the father of the welfare state, Michael Joseph Savage, called it “applied Christianity”. Today’s smart young left-wing thinkers might call it “the politics of love”.

Given our experience of colonisation, we Māori should be especially alert to the dangers of welfare becoming much more than that. There is no shame in needing a helping hand from time to time but there is no personal tino rangatiratanga or mana in being permanently reliant on the state if you don’t need to be.

This is not how Grant Robertson see things. It is now very clear that his goal is to have everyone – Māori and Pākehā – permanently dependent on the state.

Yep. If they can get over 50% of the population reliant on the state, then they will get over 50% voting for parties that promise to give them more money from other people.

Other examples include the Government’s Winter Electricity Payment, which will cost taxpayers about $1.8 billion over the next four years. This goes to everyone over the age of 65, from struggling working-class widow to billionaire. It will be paid even to wealthy superannuitants who escape this cold New Zealand winter with a Grand Tour around Europe. To his credit, Simon Bridges has said a National government would cancel that con and look at ways to help those elderly people and beneficiaries who really do need help with their winter power bills.

Winston gets around $400,000 a year and he’ll get the winter electricity payment.

But the worst example is Phil Twyford’s KiwiBuild. This was meant to help young Kiwi couples struggling to save enough for a house deposit take their big first step towards self-sufficiency by buying a modest government-built home. Now Twyford says KiwiBuild is for everyone: young Max Key will qualify for a KiwiBuild house, as will English’s kids and Ardern’s new baby when it comes of age. Each one of the 100,000 houses Twyford is promising to build that is bought by one of these well-to-do kids is one fewer for a young couple from West Auckland.

It’s ridiculous.

The old conservative left wants us all on the welfare hook and unable to get off because that’s the way to make us docile Labour voters for life. Those of us on the progressive Labour right need to stand up for Savage’s original vision and for tino rangatiratanga in our own lives. I don’t want to be the last socialist left standing as I say welfare should be about helping poor.

Shane is entirely correct. Sadly he is a small small minority in Labour.

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