Classic 'us and them' politics

Wanna guess how many dole bludgers there are in New Zealand? Let me set you straight

It's one of New Zealand's great myths.

No, not the moa roaming the remote New Zealand bush yarn. And, no, not even the unmitigated nonsense that suggests the Moeraki boulders are ancient Chinese cannonballs. I'm not even talking about the persistent but repeatedly disproven belief that the Moriori were a separate people who were driven from New Zealand by arriving, all-conquering Maori.

The great myth I'm referring to is the idea promoted on radio talkback, in the letters sections of many papers and around too many pub tables, that New Zealand is over-run by benefit bludgers living off hard-working Kiwis.

This government likes to talk about benefits as a "lifeline not a lifestyle", as if $190 a week is living high on the hog. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett spoke in the House last week about "the rising tide of welfare dependency [that] threatens to mortgage our children's and grandchildren's future", suggesting a flood of bludgers.


This is the start of my post at To continue reading, click here. But feel free to add comments and debate below.