I’ve been saying for two years that this government specialises in rhetoric vs reality. Arguing that black is white. Pulling the wool over people’s eyes. Fudging it. However you want to describe it.
John Key is the master of Orwellian language. He gets away with it mostly, but won’t forever.
He and his Ministers consistently argue that the “global recession” is responsible for unemployment and more people living on benefits.
According to his narrative, his government has nothing to do with it. But every now and then his underlying belief system seeps out.
Yesterday he outdid himself by saying in parliament in response to a question from Annette King that beneficiaries who resort to food banks do so out of their own “poor choices” rather than because they cannot afford food.
In other words it’s their own fault that they’re poor. And in need of help.
My office in Dunedin rang around the foodbanks this morning and was told that they are seeing an increase in referrals from WINZ.
The letters that the clients bring from WINZ indicate that they have been declined assistance on the basis that they cannot produce a family budget and the implication is that the organisation will assist with both the immediate food needs and the budget.
It’s not new for people to be referred to these organisations from WINZ. What is new though is the increase in referrals and the denial of assistance on the basis of not being able to produce a family budget. And the pressure being put on the social service agencies who themselves are struggling to cope with demand and having their own funding sources starved.
Many of these people are what’s being described as the “new poor”. People who have been made redundant, can’t find new work and are not coping.
John Key is totally out of touch. What’s he going to say next?