Next NACT welfare policy: let them eat Soylent Green

The language of this media release by Minister of Let Them Eat Cake Paula Bennett is … a little worrying, when you look at it too closely.

There’s referring to an “investment approach”, which makes a lot of sense when you’re talking about bales of hay and pecks of pickled peppers, but less so when you’re talking about the lives and prospects of living human beings who through misfortune, sickness or your own government’s shitty economic management are relying on society for support.

And you’ve always got to start looking over your shoulder when government – any government – refers to “refocusing” the “entire” welfare system.

Welfare systems, by their very nature, should have a focus:  the welfare of people.

Otherwise they wouldn’t be called “welfare” systems, innit?

But all of that’s a bit high-minded and word-picky and if you’re not me, you can be forgiven for not immediately leaping to the [justified] conclusion that Paula Bennett is once more providing covering fire for the government and aiming at beneficiaries in the process.

You still might be interested in analysing this, though:

“This approach forces the Government to spend taxpayers’ money where it will have the biggest impact,” says Mrs Bennett.

That might mean getting treatment for a back injury, or access to mental health services or help to manage a pain related condition.

I mean, it’s buried right there at the end, but what the Minister of Social Development, administrator of our Sickness and Invalids’ Benefits, just said is that basically, our medical system has failed by not giving people the treatment they obviously need.

And it has taken Paula Bennett and a small army of ingenious MSD policy analysts to figure out that hey, if we treat people’s [treatable] back injuries, they won’t need to be on a Sickness Benefit any more [for their back injury]!

What a novel concept!  With any luck they’ll share their findings with MBIE, who can extrapolate these conclusions to the realisation that we can lower unemployment if there are jobs for people to work in!

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