Labour has officially stopped caring about child poverty again

NRT for details.  My brain’s just stuck trying to decide whether I scream “FUCK YOU” loudly at the ceiling or roll my eyes so hard they fall out.

My feelings are pretty much still summed up in this post I wrote in January 2011.  Labour, in power, needed to keep the middle classes happy, and so by buying into the idea that a well-above-average income makes you a “struggler” (pay no attention to the median income behind the curtain) they introduced “in-work” tax credits.  Which weren’t about work, they were about children (and thus the Independent Earner Tax Credit was split off to keep us DINKs happy.)

Beneficiaries didn’t get the tax credit, because according to Labour, they needed to be “incentivised” into work.  And if you honestly believe that that doesn’t tell you everything about Labour’s real attitudes to the unemployed, you’re kidding yourself.

Labour believed so strongly that beneficiaries were horrid bludging scum that they fought tooth and nail when the Child Poverty Action Group tried to draw their attention to that pesky human rights law we have.

Then came election 2011, and once their self-preservation glands finally realised that saying “I think Liz Hurley is hot too!” was not actually going to win back the centre from That Nice John Key any time soon, they had a brief brain explosion and literally announced a policy of “extending the in-work tax credit to beneficiaries”.

Josie Pagani, for one, had a really hard time explaining this to people.  Of course, as far as she’s concerned that’s because Beneficiaries Are Scum, not because it sounded fucking ridiculous.

Now the election’s gone, and apparently the meme of the Labour upper echelons is “we need to revisit things.  Oh, not the things like “listening to John Pagani” and “buying into Chris Trotter’s wish fulfilment”, maybe just the things which contributed to our downfall because even though they were good policy we completely sucked at selling them.”

So, here we are.  Holly Walker is trying to do something to reverse a Labour policy which punished children living in poverty for their parents’ lack of advanced SQL development training and Chartered Accountant qualifications, and Labour is promising only the very, very see-through “we’ll support it to first reading.”

My mind’s made up.  If you’re in Wellington and a loud expletive rattled your windows right before this went up, my apologies.


  1. muerknz

    The main reason I refused to vote for Labour was because the didn’t lift a finger for the poorest of the poor. I grew up as a child of the DPB and I can assure everyone that current benefit levels are a crime against the dignity of the human person. It was a massive struggle for my mother to pay bills back in the 70s and 80s but it was liveable, just.

    Labour did nothing to reverse the benefit cuts of National which disgusted me. The most vulnerable of our society – impoverished children – were just ignored. When charities (God bless them) have to organise meals, shoes, coats and other basic necessities, then that’s a freaking massive neon sign that benefit levels are unlivable.

    Labour betrayed itself when it became a party for the bourgeois. I don’t think I could ever vote for them again.