Businessman Bob Jones has the 'final solution' to 'dependency culture'.
In his latest column in the New Zealand Herald curmudgeonly businessman Bob Jones lashes out at that perennial old favourite topic of the loony right - 'dependency culture'. There's just too much of it and it has to stop!
Jones is concerned that everyone wants his money. They're queuing up for it! That includes everyone from the publishers of Sport, an annual literary publication, to university students to little old bowling clubs. Writes Bob:
'Scarcely a day passes when I don't receive a letter seeking money for someone's private pursuit. Recently, I received one from a small South Island township's bowling club, which town I've passed through briefly once in my life, seeking $50,000 to re-do their greens.'
According to Jones the 'bludging rot permeates all levels of our society'. But there's 'bludging rot' and there's 'bludging rot' and Jones venomous attack is largely targeted at the same people who get bashed on talkback radio on a regular basis.
While Jones lambasts a struggling ACC claimant from high up in his corporate office, he has nothing to say about some of New Zealand's biggest state beneficiaries.
He seems entirely unconcerned that wealthy movie moguls Peter Jackson and James Cameron have wheedled tens of millions of financial 'incentives' out of the government. Nor does he seem perturbed that the nautical boys and girls of Team New Zealand are living the lifestyles they have grown accustomed to, thanks to a large government grant.
While this government is handing out the dosh to the wealthy while taking it away from those in need, Jones has a more permanent solution for his 'dependency culture'. He regales us with this jolly anecdote:
In the 1980s when long overdue reforms saw the closure of some isolated, scarcely used post offices, a Nelson region goose turned up in a park opposite my office, surrounded by the standard litter of signs, asserting he was starving to death in protest. I bowled across and nailed him with some impeccable logic. "Why starve to death?," I suggested. "Why not get it over with quickly and commit suicide?" So he did. One of my daughters working, or more accurately, attending in our office at the time, was appalled. "Don't you feel bad?" she asked me. "To the contrary," I replied. "Anyone who values their life on the existence of a country post office, plainly hasn't got one. I did him a wonderful favour."
Suggesting that someone kill themselves is bad form, to put it mildly. The fact that they did is also not something to triumph in a nationally-syndicated newspaper column.
After a torrent of criticism from rightly offended readers the NZ Herald has removed this disturbing paragraph. At the bottom of the column is this note from the editor: 'This column has been amended following further consideration of Bob Jones' comments. We apologise that the original column caused offence to some readers.'
But the damage has already been done and the fact that no one chose to question the original column speaks volumes about the political climate within the offices of the newspaper. Ayn Rand posters are apparently not emblazoned on the office walls of the NZ Herald but they might as well be.
And as one reader, Kent Fleming, has commented: 'Under the Crimes Act 1961, inciting someone to suicide is punishable with up to 14 years in prison. I think the Herald needs to think long and hard about publishing Mr. Jones from now on.'
At the time of writing the full unamended column could still be read on the Wanganui Chronicle. Oh dear.