In an interview which paints a very unflattering picture of the factions in Labour, Josie Pagani also says:
Labour needs to reclaim the debate about welfare reform, which has been wholly owned by the right. “They don’t believe in it and we do.
She’s right that Labour is losing the welfare reform debate but she is wrong that the right, or at least the part of the right occupied by National, doesn’t believe in welfare.
The left like to paint the right as heartless and opposed to any form of welfare but saying it doesn’t make it so.
It’s not heartless nor is it uncaring to expect those who can look after themselves to do so while providing help for those who can’t.
And the people most likely to be upset by low expectations for beneficiaries are the ones Labour likes to think of as their voters – low paid workers who, like the mythical neighbour of the mythical roof painter, used by David Shearer, take exception to working hard to pay taxes to support those who could be supporting themselves.
Some people will always require assistance and I don’t think any of the parties in parliament deny that.
Where there is a difference between right and left, is that the ones with hearts wants people who could help themselves to do so, rather than letting them languish on long term welfare with all the poor outcomes to which that leads.
Helping those who could support themselves to do so is not just better for them, it’s better for those who can’t help themselves. The more people in work, the less call there is for tax payer assistance, which makes it much easier for those who really need help to get it.