The Spark April 2010
In the first part of its first term the current National government strengthened its centrist positioning with a job creation agenda (national and regional job summits), redundancy packages (Job Support Scheme, transitional relief packages), and youth employment incentives (youth opportunities package). As was the international order-of-the-day, corporate welfare pervaded most of the policy that emerged. Now, outside of National and Labour’s struggle for the political centre, New Zealand’s increasing margins – the unemployed, the underemployed, the transient workforce – are up for direct punishment.
As soon as John Key and Paula Bennett announced Future Focus benefit reforms in late-March 2010 One News let the game begin with a headline story about Work and Income NZ fraud by an ex-gang member’s partner, who they’d ambushed with cameras at her court appearance. On queue, The New Zealand Herald (25/3/10) chimed the bell with its editorial ‘Benefit reform a step in the right direction’, in which there was a mouth-off about `Young women who regard the domestic purposes benefit as an open-ended career choice’, and a citation of John Key’s ‘breeding for business’ theory in regard to ‘unmarried women’ who ‘get pregnant’. This is the way in which the government has come out to front the mass unemployment problem. Read the rest of this entry »