Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is showing she can match it with Crusher Collins, when it comes to the size of her ministerial balls.
She has admitted part of her welfare reforms breach the Bill of Rights Act. Then she has given the champions of human rights the fingers, upwards thrust, saying it would not bother most people.
“I think that is a discrimination that most New Zealanders will see as being fair and reasonable.”
Alf is not quite so convinced by Attorney-General Chris Finlayson, who denies he deliberately withheld a report advising that part of the Government’s welfare plans breach the Bill of Rights Act.
He puts the delay in its presentation to Parliament as an “administrative error”.
As he was telling us this, did Alf see something porcine flying over Parliament Buildings?
The Herald reminds us this morning that details of the Government’s plans to crack down on beneficiaries were outlined earlier in the week by The Boss and Paula.
The measures include a requirement for domestic purposes beneficiaries to accept part-time work when their youngest child turns 6, or risk having their benefits halved.
So what might be wrong with that?
Well, if you are into this human rights and civil liberties pap, men are being treated differently from women.
But that is is as it should be, because men are different. Superior, too, for the most part.
Widows on the widow’s benefit caring for the same aged children will not face a work test, and nor will older women alone receiving the domestic purposes benefit.
But men who have been widowed and are caring for children will have a work-test.
Mr Finlayson says the proposed law discriminates on three prohibited grounds under the Bill of Rights Act: sex, marital status and family status.
But if there are blokes out there who want to be treated the same as women, Alf does not want to hear from them. They are bound to be woofters.
The Herald then bangs on about some procedural stuff and the timing of it.
The legislation to enact the policy, the Social Assistance (Future Focus) Bill, was introduced to Parliament the same day as the changes were announced.
No mucking around, eh?
That’s the stage at which Bill of Rights Act vet reports are usually tabled. But –
The report was tabled yesterday. The Attorney-General is required to draw Parliament’s attention to breaches but Governments are not obliged to act on them and routinely ignore breaches.
Labour deputy leader Annette King questioned Paula Bennett about the policy and accused the Government of a “cover-up”.
Paula Bennett accused Labour of wanting to impose a work-test on widows – to great protestation from Labour.
She told reporters earlier that despite having talked to the Attorney-General about the breach of the Bill of Rights, National was following its election manifesto promises.
Damned right. Promises first and the Bill of Rights tosh can be accommodated as we wish.
For what it’s worth, which is not much –
Mr Finlayson’s report on the welfare bill said the plan to impose a work-test on sole parents receiving the domestic purposes benefit (whose youngest child is aged over 6) but not on those receiving the widow’s benefit or women alone aged over 50 receiving the domestic purposes benefit, discriminates on the basis of family status – having the care of children.
He also pointed to the benefit and work-test policy discriminating against men. Widows caring for dependent children may receive the widow’s benefit and not be subject to the work-test.
But widowers caring for dependent children are not entitled to the widow’s benefit but may qualify for the domestic purposes benefit for sole parents.
He also said that the work-test for those on the domestic purposes benefit meant those people who had been single or lost partners through divorce or separation were subject to additional obligations and sanctions – discrimination on the basis of marital status.
Alf is with Paula. A few namby-pamby fault-finders will carp about discrimination, but the great bulk of us couldn’t give a toss.