Mike Hosking: Attacking 'the rich' won't help Labour's anti-poverty pledge

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 18 Feb 2020, 6:24PM
Helen Clark’s foray into the world of the so called rich is your classic example of anti-aspiration, writes Mike Hosking. (Photo / Getty)

Mike Hosking: Attacking 'the rich' won't help Labour's anti-poverty pledge

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 18 Feb 2020, 6:24PM

I thought a bit about Helen Clark over the weekend – which, of course should ring immediate alarm bells. Who does that and isn’t a walking tragic?

Anyway, my ongoing frustration with this country right now is success, graft, hard work attainment, goals; whatever word you want to use is no longer the talking point, far less the aspiration at the highest level it used to be.

And Helen Clark’s foray into the world of the so called rich is your classic example.

Most of what this government is about (and let’s be honest, Clarkhe appears to be a greater and greater presence in this government) is trying to reshape the problem social areas, to throw literally billions of dollars at a part of the economy that is never paying dividends and is basically a bottomless pit.

And all the while they are having us continually look at the plight of those who struggle, but at the same time, they run a line that those who don’t, have something wrong with them.

Forgetting, of course, it’s the ones who aren’t bothering the system that are actually generating the money to pay for all the stuff they want to band aid.

Without question, we have various social issues that plague us. All western economies do. But what we are seeing now is a disproportionate approach in which the concept of the welfare part of the state isn’t a hand up it’s a hand out.

The numbers simply don’t lie, and the government can’t have it both ways. They can’t argue how well we are doing economically, which we are not any longer, sadly, and then fail to explain why every social indicator they have has exploded.

They promised to tackle child poverty - they haven’t. They promised seven days max in a motel for emergency housing - its seven weeks and growing. Food grants are through the roof, the jobseeker benefit grows by at least 15,000 every year.

And the $300 million last week is not about fixing it, it’s about paying bills for people that clearly will need their bills paying for forever. They refuse to kick you out of housing no longer needed, they refuse to make you look for work.

How is all that that social deprivation possible in a country with so many jobs and so much economic success?

And then Helen goes are attacks ‘the rich’. 'The rich’, what a hopelessly misguided and aggressive term.

Michael Cullen started it in Labour. ‘Rich pricks’, that’s what successful people are. Forget the term rich is a wildly variable interpretation of circumstances, but look at the attitude.

How is it people who believe this, preach this, and honestly think they can run their agenda without those who get out of bed and graft and aspire and succeed? And why the need for the aggression?

Even if you argue under a rock star economy the balance was tipped too far the other way - which I don’t, by the way - but even if you do, calling the tax payers who try and fill the coffers for the motel payments rich or rich pricks surely can’t help.

As for limiting ability to borrow money to have Helen or Jacinda or Michael or Grant deciding what you can have or not have is the stuff Fidel would have smiled at. It's dangerous. The day you try and run down your countries workers, go getters, entrepreneurs and achievers is the day the Kiwi dream die. And why would you want to be in charge of that?