The Press

Try tax cuts for the childless

- JANE BOWRON

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei’s mea culpa about omitting to tell social services she was living with flatmates who shared the rent while she was receiving welfare, has opened up a wider discussion about living on the benefit.

Her admission was made at the same time the Green Party announced its intention to increase the benefit by 20 per cent, and to massively overhaul social welfare.

Under the Greens, beneficiar­ies won’t have their benefits cut if they don’t look for work, or fail drug tests. What is slightly worrying is that solo mothers will no longer be under any obligation to divulge the name of the father of their child.

Currently, single mothers who refuse to name the father have their benefits cut by $28 a week per child. The Greens described this measure as using poverty as a threat, while the Government argues it encourages the other parent to take financial responsibi­lity. The innocent victims are the children, some 17,700 deprived of $28 a week.

The proposed Greens policy also affects the children of beneficiar­ies. In a country with a small population, the children of mothers who keep shtum about the father could end up down the track inadverten­tly breeding with someone they are related to.

The scenario of mothers passing off offspring as the fruit of their partner’s loins, when the seed has been sown elsewhere, is still common. But now that DNA testing has become more affordable, paternity, or lack of it, is easier to determine. Through the discovery of bewilderin­g non-compatible blood types, the truth is bound to come out.

If mothers are no longer obliged to name the father, expect a wide-scale Greek tragedy on our hands, and a higher incidence of congenital birth defects due to inbreeding.

Strangely, in an overpopula­ted planet, more stigma is still attached to women who decide not to have children than to women who believe it is their right to breed, and expect a government handout to support them from the get-go.

Deciding to have none-in-the-oven and stop sucking the planet of its valuable resources is a more rational decision than putting pressure on an overtaxed environmen­t. But still the childless are viewed as selfish.

Surely it would be more in keeping with the Greens’ pro-planet philosophy to award tax cuts to the childless? It’s not just the cows who are gross waste producers.

Perhaps it would have been wiser for the Greens to have linked the 20 per cent increase in beneficiar­y payments to rising unemployme­nt due to the impact of technology on careers and jobs. That might have had more cut-through with the general populace.

Only Grant Robertson from Labour has had the foresight, some time ago, to look properly into the effects of technology and float the idea of some sort of universal payment. When an estimated 40 per cent will no longer be in work, who will be left standing to pay for those benefits? Answer – tax the robots.

Why has the Green Party gone down this path. Metiria Turei is the only female leader/co-leader in this election, and up till now has been a refreshing stand-out in a Parliament littered with old lags.

Tuning in to watch the rise and fall and rise again of NZ First leader Winston Peters as he reverts to doing his Piggy Muldoon impersonat­ions, shiftily avoiding answering any journalist­s’ questions and making it personal, is a depressing spectacle.

He has an infuriatin­g magnetism, but his bottom bottom line has always been that it’s all a huge joke. A straight answer is a reasonable request and reporters should not have to be subjected to personal attacks.

Three years of messing with the question and hiding the answer with him at the helm, and the electorate will quickly sour of watching his merry dance.

Turei picked a fine time to navel-gaze about her former fraudulent existence and must have felt the dog house close by, perhaps deciding it’s best to ’fess up or risk being outed. But you would be hard pressed to find any clean skin who could pass muster and stand for public office, and her offence, on the scale of things, is not evil.

Now the party has little time left to do the hard yards, and identify and doorknock beneficiar­ies, some of whom may never have voted before and will have to get up to speed with the complicati­ons of MMP.

A pay rise of 20 per cent is not to be sniffed at and may get a good turnout that takes a sizeable bite out of last election’s non-voting one million. Solidarity is the only skill worth having when you have nothing, and registerin­g as a disenfranc­hised voting bloc is real power.

It’s not just the cows who are gross waste producers.

 ?? PHOTO: STUFF ?? Metiria Turei picked a fine time to navel-gaze about her former fraudulent existence.
PHOTO: STUFF Metiria Turei picked a fine time to navel-gaze about her former fraudulent existence.
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