‘…anyone on a benefit actually has a lifestyle choice. If one budgets properly, one can pay one’s bills. And that is true because the bulk of New Zealanders on a benefit do actually pay for food, their rent and other things. Now some make poor choices and they don’t have money left.’- John Key
John Key is worth over $50 million, lives in a Remuera mansion and has a holiday home in Hawaii. I doubt that he even knows what his power bill was last month. I doubt that he scrutinises his telephone bill to see if he has been charged for toll calls he didn't make.
But for the poor its a case of juggling a limited weekly income to pay the rent, keep the utility companies happy and buy food. Often the food will run out before the next benefit payout even though you buy cans of cheap baked beans and those $1 loaves of tasteless white bread.
But with prices soaring across the board its not surprising that more and more people are ending up at the food banks. We never had food banks until Roger Douglas became Minister of Finance in 1984.
I know a single woman who is receiving $235 a week. This is the unemployment benefit and a small amount for accommodation. Somehow she has to pay her share of the rent and the utility and grocery bills.
These bills have to paid - she cannot 'choose' not to pay them.
She can't fiddle her accommodation expenses and rip the taxpayer off to the tune of some $400,000 - as the Minister of Finance Bill English did.
Oh - and Mr Key - she nether smokes or drinks and she has never set foot in a TAB in her life.
But I almost feel that I'm wasting my time writing this when you are dealing with a Government that thinks that the poor are to blame for being poor and that they are really jobs out there if you 'look hard enough'.
This long ago became a moral argument about how people in poverty deserve to be treated.
The moral views of John Key and Paula Bennett take no account, among other things, of economic conditions, of a labour market devoid of jobs, of the discrimination that many workers face.
John Key, the multimillionaire who made his money in the world of casino capitalism, thinks people living in poverty are less deserving of human decency than others. Presumably that also includes the one in five children who are now living in poverty.
Perhaps John Key will like Jonathan Swift's solution to the problem of poor children..