Delivering misery


Labour’s year of delivery was a slogan without a plan, slick words without substance, nothing more than rhetoric with no intention to act and no follow-through.

But the government’s failure to deliver is delivering more people on benefits which Mike Yardley points out betrays Labour’s posturing on wellbeing.

As election year dawns, one of the biggest credibility challenges this government faces is their failure to combat some of our biggest social ills.  Hence the catch cry that Labour is soft on crime, gangs and soft welfare. With all these stats heading in the wrong direction, they are complicit.

The MSD’s latest quarterly update on benefit numbers is a sobering read. You’ll recall what grabbed the headlines last week was that total benefit numbers are up five per cent year on year. And Jobseeker Support benefit numbers have jumped ten per cent.

But it gets worse.

In the two years since Labour took power, there are now 15,000 more children being raised in benefit dependent homes.

That’s 15,000 more children at greater risk of poor nutrition, poor health, less likelihood of educational success and a greater likelihood of being a victim of, or committing a, crime.

And there are 7,000 more young people parked up on the dole, compared to two years ago. So much for Mana in Mahi. . .

Rapidly expanding welfare is Labour’s record. It flies in the face of all of the posturing on well-being. Hard metrics don’t lie. Entrenching dependence and sapping the will to work by surrendering on sanctions and failing to enforce work-test obligations is simply indefensible.

Instead of delivering houses to the homeless and better prospects for the poor, the government is delivering more unemployment and the misery that accompanies it.


Sound bites no substitute for substance


The year of delivery was nothing more than a sound bite:

. . .It was supposed to be the government’s “Year of Delivery” – or so Ardern declared to the press at the beginning of 2019. It was a neat line, because 2018 had been the “year of the working group” in which little reform was carried out, on the promise that the experts would hand the government some major new policies to implement.

However as 2019 rolled on and key promises such as KiwiBuild’s 100,000 affordable houses, a capital gains tax and alleviating child poverty failed to eventuate, the “Year of Delivery” line became a stick with which to beat the government at every turn.

We have now learned that Ardern’s “Year of Delivery” promise was only ever a slick catchphrase dreamed up by a speechwriter, not Ardern herself.

Last week Beehive insiders told leading political journalists that the “Year of Delivery” promise was actually a spin-line produced on the fly by the PM’s top spin doctor to get his boss out of a tight situation when she needed something memorable to say at the start of 2019. The explanation from the Beehive was to convey that it’s not actually fair to hold the PM to account for a catchphrase that was never intended to be taken so seriously.

It is extraordinary that something presented as a solemn promise to the electorate is now being explained away as nothing more than a manufactured PR soundbite. But, in fact, this episode perfectly epitomises the year in politics – showing how PR has come to dominate. . .

Sound bites get headlines but are no substitute for substance.

The year of delivery line was not just spin, it was really bad spin that dramatically over promised and completely failed to deliver.

That is symptomatic of this government and its leader who are both very strong on style and very weak on substance.

It provides great fodder for their political opponents and nothing but disappointment for the people who believe the spin and need the substance to improve their lives.

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