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Archive for August, 2010

Back to the ’90s

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry this morning when I read the news about the release of a Government report on “welfare dependency” and the measures the Government should be taking to cut the escalating cost of benefits, including shifting the cost of unemployment support, sickness benefits and other social support on to individual New Zealanders through insurance payments (I thought that was what we paid taxes for).

It is almost a repeat of the early 1990s as the Government creates a so-called “crisis” in order to take radical measures to cut welfare entitlements in order to force beneficiaries into work.

As we found out in the 1990s the real agenda was to cut wage rates through setting up more competition for jobs between those in work and those out of work, and just as in the 1990s the attacks on beneficiaries went hand-in-hand with similar attacks on the rights of those lucky enough to have a job.

The Government report on benefits comes almost a month after John Key announced that the Government would be introducing measures to extend the 90-day fire-at-will law to all New Zealand workers, to make it easier for employers not to have to follow a fair process when dismissing workers and to allow employers to prevent workers having access to their union representatives at work.

The massive cuts in income for the poorest New Zealand families in the early 1990s saw a massive growth in food banks and a Government-driven recession.

If these measures ever see the light of day we are heading down the same track again.

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