“Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.” - Terry Pratchet.
What we have in New Zealand at the moment is a government that doesn’t see you as a human being, a person, a soul. We have a government that sees you as a consumer, a tax payer, a beneficiary, an immigrant, a net gain or a net cost. The problem with this is that instead of a government that is looking out for your needs and issues is you get a government that looks after the books and (depending on the year) treats you as a vote and a burden.
This has become apparent with recent moves by the government, namely welfare reform, benefit bashing with a John Key style “Smile and Wave” mask.
What we are seeing with the latest bout of welfare reform is the same ol’ same ol’ blame the parents: punish the children. As society has seen time and time again in the past this simply does not work. If a solo mother has more children on the DPB she is penalised, if she agrees to courses and further education she is rewarded. So instead of helping this poor woman, who surely has her individual problems, we treat her like an ingrate, a burden of society and we make sure to let the rest of society see her for the demon she is. Never mind that this policy takes more from the children this poor woman is trying to raise. It purposefully and unashamedly makes it harder for her to feed her children and labels it just punishment.
This is where, as Winston Peters put it in his last campaign, the welfare state has lost its dignity. Instead of using our resources to up skill and support people who desperately need state intervention. They treat New Zealanders as demons and ingrates, and if you treat people like trash for long enough you can’t be upset when thats what they become. How will the children of mothers who are constantly told they are worthless grow up?
The National government will have you believe that these people enjoy being on the DPB, that they are laughing at the hard working kiwis who go out of their way to starve their children in order to earn their below average income. The truth is these people have fallen through the cracks, and yes of course there are those that use these safety nets to their advantage, but punishing those who generally need your help is no way to stop the more opportunistic among us.