Chris Trotter is blind. Or blinded by his love affair with Marxism.
Many New Zealanders hail in the first, second or third generation from people who left Europe to get away from class-based societies. They may not have consciously articulated this, instead talking about greater opportunity. One of my grandfathers was a miner and the other, an odd-jobs man who apparently worked his butt off at every opportunity. The sort of people Trotter puts on a pedestal.
They were oppressed by a class system where upward mobility was rare. New money was dirty money. No premium was put on education. My father and mother broke out. My father by educating himself at the library and my mother by going to teacher's training college. And finally by immigrating to NZ.
They are now part of the "owning class". Surely. As are the vast majority of New Zealanders. In one sense every New Zealander, even the poorest, because they have money in their pockets at some point every week. Money which allows them choices and opportunities.
Hasn't Trotter cottoned that the ruling class he loathes so vehemently has been replaced by the state? With this legislation the government plans to take money off every New Zealander to fund its re-election - both openly and covertly. That is money you have no choice about parting with. That process is coercive. And it's wrong.
But those who would ask you to part with your money willingly because you share a common cause - one of which may be trying to persuade people that the state is not benign - can now be effectively shut down for all of the year preceding the only chance you have to remove or elect representatives of your choice.
Trotter cannot grasp the essential prerequisites for freedom. Not only does he distort the concept of property rights but he ignores that force is perpetrated against people over and over by the state. He needs to move on. For all our sakes.
What do we have on the front page of the Dominion Post today? A report about Sigourney Weaver filming in Wellington wondering why so many men have moustaches. Her photo takes up nearly a quarter of the page. Do I care? Should I care? I guess coverage of yesterday's march must be on page 2 or 3. Well no. Not there. Not anywhere in fact.
The NZ Herald covers it, TV3 covered it, NewstalkZB and Scoop. It's national news but not Wellington news.
And here's another question I am pondering. If the flipping of a 4-seater plane on the runway can close Wellington airport for 2 hours what will happen if a 180-seater comes to grief?
The purpose of the electoral finance and parliamentary funding bills is not to improve the law, but to gerrymander the system.
Unable to win public support for state funding of political parties, Labour and its allies have decided to introduce it by stealth. At the same time, they are denying others the opportunity to spend their own money arguing contrary positions.
If voters remember that when they go to the polls next year, Labour and its friends will get no more than they deserve.
Please get out today and protest. Midday at Civic Square. Show this corrupt bunch that we hold them in even greater contempt than they hold us.
Changes to the benefit system are being advocated as a way to lower the rate of teenage pregnancies.
Statistics released yesterday show teenage birth rates are on the rise again, with 30.2 births for every 1,000 15 to 19 year-olds.
Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell says births to young mothers have become the state's problem, and it is wrong for mothers to be able to sit on the benefit until their child is 18 years-old. She says the benefit should have a limit of five years, as it does in the US.
She is also keen to see more young mothers encouraged to offer their baby up for adoption, as this is a better option for the child than raising it in a negative environment. She says if there is gang involvement, drug addiction or abuse it is not going to be healthy for a child.
Ms Mitchell says CYFS should be promoting adoption as an option for young mothers-to-be.
I was interviewed for this piece and said we could do what the US does and time limit the benefit to two years at any one time and five years over a lifetime. Personally I would go further by limiting any assistance to one year. Pre-DPB expectant and new mothers were helped through social security assistance. The major difference was it was discretionary and short-term. And it didn't provide an incentive.
Media Release STOPPING WELFARE TO CONVICTED DRUG-USERS A DROP IN THE BUCKET November 19, 2007
Australian Prime Minister, John Howard is promising to get much tougher on drugs by "quarantining" benefits of people who have a conviction involving heroin, cocaine or amphetamines. According to today's Sydney Morning Herald this would stop beneficiaries spending tax-payer money on drugs, alcohol or tobacco and would affect around 6,000 people a year convicted of offences but not sent to jail. Case managers would control their benefits, which could still be used to buy food and other essentials. Howard claims the proposal is primarily about sending a message that the government will not tolerate the use of illicit drugs.
Welfare commentator, Lindsay Mitchell expressed reservations about Howard's proposal.
"When benefits first became available people who had caused the incapacity which rendered them unable to work were excluded. In a similar way today, if you were to cause a car crash under the influence of alcohol your insurance would be invalidated. If governments want to get on top of the welfare abuse problem this type of distinction must be reintroduced. But having decided to make it, where does the line get drawn?"
"Prime Minister Howard is singling out people convicted of drug offences of a certain class. That means for the time being cannabis users are exempt. That means that people who have convictions for assault, rape or even murder will not have their benefits controlled. They can freely spend their payments on drugs, alcohol and tobacco while somebody who has no record of violence cannot."
"Nobody with a serious heroin, amphetamine or cocaine habit buys very much with their benefit money anyway. They fund their habit through other means eg prostitution and dealing. Having other income, they shouldn't even qualify for a means tested benefit. Cracking down on fraud would be a far more effective approach. "
"In any event 6,000 beneficiaries out of around 1.6 million is a drop in the bucket. What Howard is essentially saying is he won't tolerate illicit drug use but he will tolerate violence, child abuse, fraud and burglary because there will tens of thousands of beneficiaries with these types of convictions left untouched by this policy."
"If Howard wants a benefit system that does not send mixed messages by supporting all manner of undeserving cases with tax payer's money, he will need to go much further. The same can be said of New Zealand's system."
Sydney Herald link; http://www.smh.com.au/news/federal-election-2007-news/welfare-curb- on-drugs/2007/11/18/1195321609253.html
1/ In a poll of 1082 voters, people were asked whether the Government had more control over people's daily lives than they would like and 57 per cent answered yes. A further 37 per cent of voters rejected the proposition and 6 per cent did not know.
2/ The latest poll shows Labour back on the path to recovery, with 40 per cent support, just 5 points behind National.
Do people make any connection between "the Government" and how they vote? In this country there has been big government under Labour and National (except for the rogue administrations of the late eighties and early nineties) since the post war years. "Control over people's daily lives" is the price we pay for the welfare state.
Either they are masochists, fibbers, naives or political ineducates. Whatever it is, all of us have to put up with the results of this intellectual void.
Lindsay Mitchell has been researching and commenting on welfare since 2001. Many of her articles have been published in mainstream media and she has appeared on radio,tv and before select committees discussing issues relating to welfare. Lindsay is also an artist who works under commission and exhibits at Wellington, New Zealand, galleries.