Trevor Mallard wants Labour to 'rethink' the welfare state.

Liam Byrne, British Labour's spokesperson on welfare, has been attacking 'welfare scroungers'. No, he hasn't been attacking the bankers and the stockmarket clowns who have been the beneficiaries of massive financial bailouts. Hey, Byrne's got friends in the City of London - its far easier to attack the weak and the poor, the victims of a capitalist crisis that Byrne's mates provoked in the first place.

In an article in The Guardian Byrne declares that many beneficiaries receive support that is 'unearned'. This is a declaration of war on the so-called 'undeserving' poor. Liam Byrne himself , despite being on a generous MP's salary, receives over 2000 pounds a month in benefits. The British taxpayer is paying his mortgage, his rates. and his power and phone bills.

This round of beneficiary bashing by Byrne has also 'inspired' the Dominion Post to do its own bit of beneficiary bashing here. Instead of exposing this Government's abject failure to provide sufficient employment, it prefers to bash beneficiaries with a big stick. This is 'because the aim of welfare policy must always be to help those without work secure a foothold in the employment market. Schools, hospitals and roads are not built with welfare cheques.'

The Dominion Post would rather just ignore that there are few jobs available in a 'employment market' plagued by increasing casualisation. While it pontificates about 'welfare reform' jobs continue to disappear down the black hole of the capitalist crisis. And, lets face it, the few jobs that are available are mostly minimum-wage and insecure jobs. Crap jobs.

According to the Dominion Post, which has shown little interest in the concerns of the working class in the past, the job of new Labour leader David Shearer is to 'reconnect' Labour 'with the working man, and woman.'

The newspaper though warns Shearer against extending to beneficiaries the “in work tax credit”, intended to compensate low-income workers for the extra costs associated with working.

It would simply prefer to see the iron heel pushed harder down on the throats of the poor. Then 'we' can all sleep easily in our beds, safe in the knowledge that 'the undeserving poor' are being well and truly sorted out.

But its not only the Dominion Post that wants Labour to declare war on the poor. On Labour's website Red Alert, Trevor Mallard declares that Liam Byrne wants to 'slay some sacred cows'. According to Mallard, Byrne isn't attacking the welfare state - he's 'rethinking' it.

Mallard ran out of steam years ago and his only solution to Labour's sinking popularity is to kick the crap out of the poor and hope like hell that a good dose of right wing populism will resonate with Labour's lost supporters.

The bloated carcass of Mallard will be crawling around Parliament for the next three years, occasionally stirring to vomit up crapola like this.

What will new Labour leader David Shearer do? Will he take the party even further to the right? Shearer has said he wants the party to have 'new ideas' but it may well be that, under the guise of adopting 'new ideas' Labour will finally drop even any nominal commitment to the concerns of ordinary New Zealanders.


  1. Yes, it indeed a sad time for New Zealand's democracy when the Labour party perpetuates the myth of people choosing to be poor. Who would choose to live on $195 (single unemployment rate)?

    Further, so many jobs in New Zealand are so lowly paid, casualised or both, that people with regular outgoings cannot make ends meet.

    As a long time Labour voter - I am now reviewing my options. This sort of post on Red Alert, combined with the lack of any comment from Labour about the POA dispute are a sad commentary on the state of the party.

  2. Mallard's political instincts have always been to seek political capital by way of taking cheap shots at the expense of the vulnerable. While he was happy to poke his snout into Christchurch affairs by way of attempting cheap pointscoring over the Hagley High 'prayer room' non-event, he's never lifted a finger on behalf of those disadvantaged by the earthquakes.

  3. listened to Shearer talking about his visit to Ratana Pa and their "concerns for the poor and other stuff" (paraphrasing a bit there) . . .he sounded as though he was bored with the lot of it. looks like hes another tony bLiar clone . .just what the poor and needy in this country need

  4. As a life long Labour supporter I am a tad concerned about the 'new' leadership. I've met enough current and ex Aid industry policy wonks to recognise the strong possibility that Labour might just have installed a bland yet reliable synchophant to leadership right when we need an articulate and capable person with vision. Im watching carefully in the meantime.


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