Deadbeat dads, Simon Bridges stealing lines and bankers breaking rules. Guess which one the National Party was most angry about over Budget week?
Simon busted out a line he stole from Australia. The National Party spent a good portion of the week arguing that "deadbeat dads" should be held accountable for their "irresponsibility", and while this debate was being had, a story came out about deadbeat bankers, but nobody in power seemed to care.
What was being argued was the right of a beneficiary parent to not name the other parent on a child's birth certificate. As it stands, if a parent did not name the other parent on a birth certificate, they could lose up to $1500 a year from their benefit.
During one of the Budget debates National's Social Development spokesperson, Louise Upston, said that the Government was hell-bent on giving irresponsible fathers a free pass.
"What it means is dads get to avoid being responsible financially for their children, and that for us is a bottom line. At the end of the day parents need to be responsible for their kids and the only tax cut this government has given this year is for deadbeat dads,'' she said.
National's deputy leader Paula Bennett argued that "it is not discriminatory to expect fathers to have responsibility … But on that we differ. Just leave the taxpayer to pick up the bill."
National's arguing against the removal of this sanction showed it is perfectly comfortable seeing the children of beneficiaries get punished and live in a household with less money if one parent does not name another parent on the birth certificate.
National argue that it's because it reduces the burden on the State having to pay child support that the other parent should be paying. The National Party looks at it through the prism of cost to the state. They, however, are quite happy to ignore the cost to the child of such a punishment.
This latest round of beneficiary bashing was set up the night before when Simon Bridges tweeted a picture of himself with the words "this Government has gone from being a Government for the workers to being a Government for those who don't work".
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Pretty catchy line you got there Simon. It would be a shame if it was one you stole from the Australian Liberal Party election night party, where someone had described Labor in exactly those terms.
The Herald even reported the quote.
It's probably no surprise that a National social media person worked on the Australian election for the coalition - but it is pleasing that it appears you read the paper.
This all came at the same time it was revealed to Stuff's Hamish Rutherford that former Chair of the BNZ, Kerry McDonald, had written a letter to Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr saying that John Key and other senior staff should be removed from their posts at ANZ after the bank was censured for making up its own rules on how much capital it needed to have. ANZ's board was signing off that the bank was complying with Reserve Bank regulations but it turned out that it was using a model that was ended in 2014.
These rules exist so that if the economy goes completely awry, the banks will still have enough money on hand if there's a run on them. They're pretty important rules. I guess you could say it's like John Key, ex-father of the nation, had abandoned us and now in his new role was expecting the taxpayer to carry the risk of what he was doing.
ANZ's punishment for breaking these rules? It was no longer allowed to make their own rules up. It now has to abide by some standard rules. The same rules followed by the New Zealand-owned banks, like KiwiBank and Co-Op.
That's not even a punishment. That's the bare minimum. That's like what this Government did for beneficiaries by removing the above-mentioned sanction and also by indexing benefits against the average wage increase instead of inflation. Something that looks fair on paper but is actually the rock bottom, bare minimum act of decency.
ANZ doesn't think that John Key should resign as chair of the board and there hasn't been a peep out of anyone in Parliament. So it seems deadbeat bankers are fine. But boy oh boy, if you're poor and you don't name the other parent on a newborn's birth certificate, why that's worthy of hundreds of words from the National Party.
That's worthy of stealing a quip from Australia to attack people on benefits.
That's worthy of yelling "deadbeat dads" every five seconds.
But what's not worthy of attention is when one of your own does a similar but different thing. But they're rich.
• David Cormack has worked for the Labour and Green parties and interned for Bill English while studying.