Minister does job. Gets told off for doing it too well

beach-holidays

They like to call it beneficiary bashing.  What do you call it when a Minister gets criticised for making sure the rules are implemented properly?  Minister bashing?

Sue Moroney has a go at Paula Bennett for returning $1M of tax payers money to those who can’t afford overseas holidays

Labour’s social development spokeswoman, Sue Moroney, said there had always been penalties for travelling without valid reason, but Ms Bennett was wrong to claim beneficiaries could clearly afford to travel. Often the money was scraped together by other family members or was a gift.

“I think Paula Bennett’s attempts to paint this picture of beneficiaries off living the high life at Club Med is not accurate. If Paula Bennett thinks it’s easy to live on a benefit and somehow have money left over to go travelling, she needs to have a go at living on a benefit for a while and see how she gets on. Might have been the case in her day, but it’s not the case now.”

Come on now.  One moment Labour are trying to convince everyone that a quarter of New Zealanders live in deep poverty, and the  next minute you are trying to defend them going on overseas holidays?  

Ms Bennett said more than 21,000 beneficiaries had their benefits cut in the past nine months for trips abroad that did not meet the rules.

Although there have long been penalties for those on the unemployment benefit who travelled other than for health or compassionate reasons, they were further tightened as part of the welfare reforms last July. The restrictions now cover a wider range of people, and also allow Work and Income to immediately cut off the benefit if it was not told of the trip.

Ms Bennett said the numbers were “staggering”.

“Every day we hear stories of how people cannot live on the benefit. Today you’re hearing that literally thousands can not only live on it but can afford to travel overseas as well.”

21,000 overseas trips that broke the clearly defined rules.

That doesn’t look like poverty to me.

And the Minister needs to be commended for doing an excellent job guarding our hard earned money.

 

– Claire Trevett @ NZ Herald


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