A policy in tatters

labour bannerLabour’s “Best Start” policy was announced on Monday during David Cunliffe’s State of the Nation speech. But while Labour’s plan to give families of newborn children sixty dollars a week is a bold one, major flaws in the plan are being highlighted by Labour’s opponents on the right, all of whom care deeply about the plight of the poor and are desperate to fix the child poverty problem at any cost.

Here are some of the most damning and powerful critiques.

Labour’s policy is ineffective, because it doesn’t target the right people.

I’ve heard this a lot over the last day. We should accept this as a valid criticism. If there’s one thing the right are very good at in this country, it’s targeting the poor.

But half a billion dollars a year is a huge amount of money. Think of all the other things we could do with the money.

Give it to investment bankers and stockbrokers, or Rio Tinto?

The new policy would allow a bankbench MP earning less than $150,000 and who has a baby to claim $60 bucks a weeks.

Monstrous! Assuming they had no other income. And assuming their spouse/partner wasn’t working. Imagine the crippling cost to the public! That’s almost a tiny fraction of one cent a year per taxpayer!

This policy does nothing to address the bigger economic issues facing this country.

And I keep wondering why David Cunliffe didn’t call it “Labour’s economic development policy”.

The policy will only encourage poor people to have babies.

Poor people don’t deserve the joy and fulfilment that being a parent brings. And everyone knows that you can raise a child for less than $60 a week, and still have money left over for your weekly bottle of Jim Beam and trip to Sky City. If you were poor then why wouldn’t you squeeze out a hundred of the little buggers?

People earning $150,000 a year don’t need money from the government to raise their kids.

Although they will need the money if it’s dressed up as a tax cut.

The experts are slamming the policy.

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union, a completely independent and unbiased organisation with no political affiliations whatsoever, have attacked the policy. They don’t like it! And why would those guys say something that wasn’t true?

Noted expert on child poverty Steven Joyce doesn’t like it either.

The poverty problem has been massively exaggerated.

I agree. Where are these poor people? I don’t see any of them living on my nice street in my affluent suburb, they don’t play golf at my club, and they don’t frequent my regular cafés. So where the heck are they?

This is just a naked election bribe. It’s cynical politics.

Unlike John Key’s tax cuts.

But the policy is unfair on people who have already had kids, and who will miss out.

It’s unfair that anyone should miss out on anything. Governments should never change anything for the better, in case someone gets upset because they didn’t have it so easy.

There are better ways to tackle child poverty than this.

But I won’t tell you what they are, because they’re a secret, although when challenged I’ll mumble a few talking points about welfare dependency I once read in a column from Rodney Hide, a man who earned his sobriquet “the People’s Politician” as a result of stellar approval ratings while ACT leader.

This will be yet another burden on the taxpayer. We are already so heavily taxed.

This one might actually be true. If you look at the figures from comparable countries, and then ignore those figures completely in favour of your own predetermined viewpoint, you’ll find that we’re a highly taxed nation.

The taxpayers will see right through this cynical stunt and punish Labour come election time.

I’m an expert pundit. Most of my predictions are hilariously wrong, but this doesn’t stop me from making broad sweeping statements about what other people will love or hate, based on my narrow world view.

Poverty won’t be solved by just giving people money.

Of course a problem caused by lack of money can’t be solved by ending that lack of money. Are you hungry? Well I could give you a meal, but that wouldn’t solve your hunger problem. So I think I’ll just eat this delicious meal for two on my own. Hunger? What hunger? I’m absolutely stuffed full!

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