Greens concede on benefit sanctions

The Greens have conceded their policy on abolishing sanctions and obligations on beneficiaries won’t be supported by Labour or NZ First so have backed off.

The Green Party has scrapped one of its core election promises championed by former co-leader Metiria Turei.

The party no longer believes in immediately abolishing all financial sanctions and obligations on beneficiaries.

I suspect some Greens at least still believe in no sanctions.

The original policy was announced at the Green Party’s AGM earlier this year, during a keynote speech by Ms Turei.

Right up until her resignation, Turei advocated for the rights of those on welfare, saying on July 16 that “no beneficiary should have to live with the threat of losing the money they need for the rent” – which is exactly the kind of threat Jones wants to make to those who refuse to plant trees.

Jan Logie said on July 20 that her party in Government will “immediately end benefit sanctions”.

Marama Davidson said on September 6 that benefit sanctions are “expensive to administer and push people further into poverty”.

But they are learning the pragmatism necessary for negotiating to be a part of a multi-party government.

It was forced to back down on the policy during coalition negotiations with Labour, which adjusted the wording so only “excessive” sanctions will be removed.

“Our policy is what the Government’s policy is. So now we’re in Government, we need to do what Government policy says,” says co-leader James Shaw.

“We only want to get rid of the most excessive sanctions,” he added.

I suspect that stance will dismay quite a few supporters. It’s an odd way to put it.

I’d have thought it would be better to say something like ‘we will work to reduce sanctions as much as possible but accept conmpromise may be necessary during this term’.

The policy u-turn means the Greens will be able to support Shane Jones’ plan to sanction beneficiaries who refuse to work on the Government’s ‘Plant a Billion Trees’ project.

There’s been a lot of pragmatism necessary in forming and being a part of this government, and this is just the beginning.

Given the number of policy compromises, back tracks and ditching there is something to remember for next election – there are no promises and no bottom lines, only wish lists.

Leave a comment

18 Comments

  1. Ray

     /  December 6, 2017

    Welcome to the real world of politics Green Party.

    Reply
  2. PartisanZ

     /  December 6, 2017

    Welcome to the Green world of real politics Righties.

    Reply
    • David

       /  December 6, 2017

      Kermadec Sanctuary and benefit sanctions…bye bye Greens

      Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  December 6, 2017

        The Greens will be seen to be realists and good at brokering deals where possible, rather than idealists who gain nothing because of extreme views. Their supporters will support, as the successes continue.

        Reply
        • They’ll be seen as cynically capitulating and without integrity.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  December 7, 2017

            I don’t believe that it’s anyone’s right to have money from the government-i.e. from the taxpayer. It’s a privilege. As someone with medical problems who is living on this, I can say that it’s a privilege. In many countries, I’d be left to starve. I’d like a higher income, but I am not entitled to one !

            Reply
  3. David

     /  December 6, 2017

    Your last sentence PG is spot on. Kinda sad really, whatever you say about Key he by and large stuck to the promises he made.
    Aside from kicking landlords in the teeth and giving hundreds of millions to the most priviliged and wealthiest people in the country (university students and their parents) there is little to show for all the lofty promises.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  December 7, 2017

      hilarious…’ whatever you say about Key he by and large stuck to the promises he made.’…by and ..large!!!Bol.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  December 7, 2017

        The free education, paid for by everyone else, was a blatant election bribe. Too bad about people who need medical care.Let the buggers wait.

        Reply
  4. robertguyton

     /  December 6, 2017

    It’s not a “u-turn”. A u-turn would be if The Greens said, “We will retain all sanctions”. In fact, they have brokered a deal for the removal of the “most excessive sanctions” which seems to me a good deal, given The Green’s restricted influence. In any case, do you wish they’d had full power to make their aims real? Surely you applaud the way in which coalitions work.

    Reply
    • adamsmith1922

       /  December 6, 2017

      Cannot agree, Greens have sold out.

      Reply
    • PartisanZ

       /  December 6, 2017

      Separatism is also a state-of-mind Robert …

      Reply
    • They’ll be defined by getting a pathetic 6%, selling out on everything then acting as a indentured servant without a key or privileges in the House of Winnie and Jacinda.

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  December 7, 2017

      A u-turn is surely understood to be a change of direction.

      Reply
  5. Alloytoo

     /  December 7, 2017

    If the Greens were really a fact based environmental party they could have have entered into an agreement with national and had some influence on policy, but they aren’t and don’t.

    In fact the only concrete positve policy gains they have ever made for NZ were around home insulation…..done under National

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  December 7, 2017

      don’t forget..National dodged a bullet’.

      Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  December 7, 2017

        Oh … heck … I’m so politically naive …

        So that’s what the 9 years of ‘dancing’ was about? … Dodging bullets …

        Reply
  1. Greens concede on benefit sanctions — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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