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Choices have consequences – Personal responsibility is back in vogue in welfare debate

Summarised by Centrist

Welfare beneficiaries need to learn that if they continue to make bad choices they might not like the consequences, argues Lindsay Mitchell as the government looks for meaningful changes.

Mitchell challenges the status quo of New Zealand’s welfare system, applauding a shift in perspective initiated by Minister for Social Development Louise Upston. Mitchell questions the long-standing philosophy of non-judgmentalism within social services, arguing that it has perpetuated a culture of dependency and rewarded irresponsible behaviour.

“By protecting people from the consequences of their own foolish actions NZ has only created more ‘need’. In other words, the ‘undeserving’ have been rewarded,” she says.

Mitchell contends that the current emergency housing crisis stems from unrealistic expectations set by previous governments, fostering a sense of entitlement among recipients. She advocates for a more discerning approach, where assistance is reserved for those facing genuine hardship, rather than enabling chronic dependency.

“In assessing applicants for emergency housing case managers must take into account whether they have ‘unreasonably contributed’ to their need,” she says.

Ultimately, Mitchell concludes that Kiwis want to help the genuinely unfortunate, “(B)ut that willingness does not extend to people who chronically cause their own misfortune.”

Read more over at Bassett, Brash, and Hide

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