Karl du Fresne has commented on Shearer’s mythical Rufus Paynter and on Paula Bennett’s move against stoned bennies:
TWO RECENT events show how entrenched the welfarist mindset has become.Labour leader David Shearer was pilloried in the left-wing blogosphere for making a speech in which he made it clear he disapproved of people claiming a benefit when they were fit to work. Yet his attitude is entirely in line with the views of the Labour politicians who created the social welfare system in the 1930s.
They were harshly intolerant of welfare â€śloafersâ€ť. The colourful public works minister Bob Semple, a former union leader, is said to have once thundered in biblical tones: â€śHe who shall not work, neither shall he eat.â€ť
That Mr Shearer was condemned within his own party shows how the entitlement mindset has distorted attitudes to the point where dependency on the taxpayer is viewed as a valid lifestyle choice.
More recently, the governmentâ€™s proposal to drug-test beneficiaries has been condemned, predictably,Â as beneficiary-bashing. But if the state is going to pay people the unemployment benefit, itâ€™s only fair that the recipients demonstrate good faith by being ready and available for work. In many industries, that requires them to be drug-free.
Thereâ€™s a moral dimension here too. Why should law-abiding taxpayers subsidise the illegal drug habits of the unemployed?
The governmentâ€™s advisers did their best to find reasons why drug-testing shouldnâ€™t be mandatory, but the public is capable of cutting through all the equivocation. When a poll on TVNZâ€™sÂ CloseUpÂ asked whether beneficiaries who refuse a drug test should have their benefit cut, 90 per cent of the 16,000 respondents voted yes.