du Fresne on Roofism and Welfarism

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 “loafers”. The colourful public works minister Bob Semple, a former union leader, is said to have once thundered in biblical tones: “He who shall not work, neither shall he eat.”

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 government’s proposal to drug-test beneficiaries has been condemned, predictably, as beneficiary-bashing. But if the state is going to pay people the unemployment benefit, it’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.

There’s a moral dimension here too. Why should law-abiding taxpayers subsidise the illegal drug habits of the unemployed?

The government’s advisers did their best to find reasons why drug-testing shouldn’t be mandatory, but the public is capable of cutting through all the equivocation. When a poll on TVNZ’s CloseUp asked whether beneficiaries who refuse a drug test should have their benefit cut, 90 per cent of the 16,000 respondents voted yes.


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  • cows4me

    Why shouldn’t they be tested?. Isn’t it better to change the mindset of people to one of actively seeking work? Every job taken up by someone who would otherwise be stoned out of their heads actually creates more employment. Beneficiary bashing, pigs arse it is, it’s way past time the apologists realised that the current scheme will in effect make us all unemployed one day.

  • Joe Bloggs

    This cuts directly to the rot that is the present-day Labour party. They equate the values of hard work and diligence with “rich prick-ism” and they’ve made virtues of laziness and criminal behaviours – fuck the lot of them.

  • Mr_Blobby

    The poll is probably not that accurate. The Druggies, criminals and other dropouts that struggle to read and write were probably watching the Simpsons or Shortland Street and frankly don’t care what the rest of us think anyway. We are also subsidizing the lifestyle of other criminals not just drug addicts.

    The problem is that some 45% of families rely on Government assistance it would be political suicide to tamper too much with the system, if at all. For the simple reason that beneficiaries will vote in there own self interest.

    What we have now does not, even remotely, resemble what the creators envisaged and if they had thought that it would get so out of control, they would have dropped the whole thing as a bad idea.

    The idea that the rest of us have an obligation to support some one else’s lifestyle choices is ridiculous.

    Like any addict we have no choice but to take the ride all the way to the bottom. When we reach the point that we can’t borrow or tax enough to pay for it, the whole ponzie scheme collapses.

    This will not end well.

    • blazer

      its become quite obvious who the major criminals/parasites on society are…those that rig markets,rates ,speculate,treat debt as an asset and do not produce anything of worth at all.

      • Tristanb

        Maybe. But that doesn’t mean hard working NZers should be forced to pay for losers to get stoned.

        • blazer

          how about the ones who dont ‘work hard’ then…you know the ones ,protecting a comfortable sinecure…belong to the right church,golf club,old boy network!

  • blazer

    I suppose people would then agree that it is ‘only fair’ that M.P’s be alcohol tested on arriving at Parliament.I can clearly recall Muldoon and many of his ministers being pissed while on ‘duty’.In fact it is/was a bi partisan pastime.

    • Tristanb

      Not really. I don’t think MPs should be drunk in parliament, and I think that nowadays it should be cause for dismissal. But we don’t need to breathalyse them because Muldoon was drunk at work thirty years ago!

      It’s hardly an endemic problem. What a ridiculous waste of time!

      Compare this to many beneficiaries who enjoy the lifestyle of sleeping in, laying around watching TV and smoking marijuana. Sadly Labour now thinks these people “deserve” a benefit.

      Well, did you know that “labour” is actually a word as well as a political party. You may need to look it up, not the childbirth definition, but working. You know, having a job and working.

      Most people who work disagree with the policies of Labour (although too many of them still vote Labour). But it’s why they receive record low votes.

      • blazer

        its not about 30 years ago…pollies still drink these days..Dyson I recall done for DIC not that long ago.Your post is full of unsubstantiated generalisations…I guess you would accept that .Current business ‘policy’ is to contain wages by having apx a permanent 5% unemployment rate.Sadly not alot of people know that.

        • Tristanb

          Have you met many beneficiaries? I guess you learnt about them in uni sociology classes – so that makes you an expert right?

          • blazer

            wrong…I assume you have met a number and that makes you an expert?

  • Patrick

    Stop using the word “entitlement” when talking about benefits.