Barry Soper: National's gang policy is just welfare bashing

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Thu, 31 Oct 2019, 9:29AM
The new policy is political posturing, writes Barry Soper. (Photo / Getty)
The new policy is political posturing, writes Barry Soper. (Photo / Getty)

Barry Soper: National's gang policy is just welfare bashing

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Thu, 31 Oct 2019, 9:29AM

One of my old mates used to register his car in his German Shepherd Bruno's name.

It meant that anytime he got a ticket it was posted to Bruno and, being an illiterate dog who couldn't drive, it was impossible for him to read let alone having charges pressed against him.

This friend had good legal advice. He was a Queen's Counsel.

Now if a gang member, under National's smoke and mirrors plan of refusing them a welfare benefit if they've got an illegal income, registers his Harley Davison in his mum's name, it'd be nigh on impossible to prove the bike he was riding was bought from the illegal proceeds of crime.

In other words, how would you prove those covered by National's plan - the gang member or his associates (whoever they could be) - had an illegal income?

And while 6000-7000 kids (that's how many are apparently dependent on gangs) wait for an investigation to establish their parents' bona fides to take place, they'd end up being malnourished and homeless.

Or perhaps that's the plan. Starve them out, and if they're not in dire straits by the end of the investigation, then they're clearly being looked after by the criminal gangs and don't need the state's help.

The gang bashing policy may sound good on the face of it, but Donald Trumping the dregs, is political posturing just like other aspects of what Simon Bridges calls the biggest welfare policy development document ever produced by an Opposition party.

If they really do want to deal to the gangs they should find out why an ever-increasing number of Kiwis are joining them, why three quarters of the patched members are Maori and why more than 90 percent of them have been on a benefit.

If they really are as wealthy as Bridges would have us believe, why would they bother with bureaucracy, topping up their ill-gotten gains with piffling welfare?

On another aspect of their plan you'd think National would have learnt from the current Beehive crop, like setting targets to ensure the number of children in benefit dependant homes is reduced. Targets, as Labour has discovered, turn out to be little more than dart boards.

And if National's really serious about being hip, livestreaming Simon Bridges' most important announcement ever on his private Facebook page, they should think about venue and audio quality.

By the end of his speech, which looked as though it was being delivered in a broom closet with a high chair being used as a podium, it sounded as though he had an audience of no more than 10, judging by the pitter patter of the applause.

At least there were more people watching it online, peaking at 71 before falling back to around 60, which is perhaps a measure of this welfare-bashing policy.

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