Saturday, March 5, 2011

An Open Letter to Prime Minister Dead Eyes

old dead-eyes has done it again . . . rob from the old and poor and give to his mega-rich mates. Get used to seeing beggers on the streets.”
  • Dominion Post reader when asked for comment on the governments plans to increase GST

Dear Prime Minister Dead Eyes,

In the run up to the 2008 election, as often as you could you told New Zealanders that you understood the hardships they faced, that you understood what it was like to be poor and to struggle. This was an interesting approach seeing as you are a multi-millionaire and probably the biggest hardship you face is when the BMW is in for a service and you have to drive the Golf. Still you reassured New Zealanders by talking about your upbringing; how you grew up in a state house with a solo mother who worked part-time to supplement her benefit.

It was a nice story and no doubt it did the job of convincing many voters that you weren't just the “smiling assassin” who never lost his jovial demeanour, even when laying off hundreds of workers at Merril Lynch. You weren't just an investment banker who made millions off of taking other peoples hard earned money and moving it around. No, you were a man of the people, and under your leadership the National Party would be there to make things better for the Average Jo.

But the truth is that the National Party, under your leadership, is making things much worse for the Average Jo, while those at the top – the richest of the rich – laugh all the way to the bank.

The fact that you may have come from somewhat humble beginnings only makes your betrayal of the average Jo that much more deceitful. You cannot plead ignorance through privelige. You are enacting a disgusting and deliberate attack on the majority of New Zealanders by taking away the very opportunities you were afforded in life; the very opportunities that led to you becoming the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Prime Minister Dead Eyes, you have shown your true nature. You despise the poor, you are sexist, you are racist, you are homophobic and you are extremely selfish and contradictory.

Prime Minister Dead Eyes, let us examine some of your contradictions.

You grew up in a state home. This meant that your mother, who was widowed when you were just 6 years old, was supported by the state and given decent affordable housing so that you could grow up in a healthy and stable environment. And back in the 1960's a state home was very different to today. Rent was cheap and the houses were good. Today rent is unaffordable and the housing is poor. Not only that but there are 10,000 families on the waiting list just to get in to this sub standard housing. Yet you and your government have cut the state house budget from $120 million dollars to $18 million dollars. Won't this make it harder for families to try and improve their lives?

Your mother was on a benefit. This meant that your mother was able to take care of her children so that they could live in a healthy and stable environment. And back in the 1960's the benefit was very different to today. For a start it paid more. Yes your mother also had a part-time job to supplement the benefit, but if she had been paid the value of todays benefits you would probably be in a very different position today. That's because the National government slashed the benefit during the 1990's until it was so low that all it could do was keep people in poverty. Now you and your government are proposing further hardship for those on a benefit. Worst of all is that some of the harshest policies are aimed at solo mothers, just like yours.

One of the worst of your hateful ideas, Prime Minister dead eyes, is forcing solo mothers in to paid work. You seem to dismiss the fact that being a solo mother is a full-time job (and possibly the most important and hardest of jobs). Plus, of course, the only paying jobs that are available for solo mothers are low paying part-time jobs with casualised hours, no guarantee of income and often irregular shift patterns. I really struggle to see how this could be of any benefit to a struggling mother or her children. Plus you cut funding to early childhood education so that mothers will spend half their earnings on childcare! It certainly doesn't fit with your own familiy's philosophy on the importance of having a stable home for the children. Yes that's right Prime Minister Dead Eyes, in your two parent home it was decided that it was more important for one parent to stay at home and spend as much time raising the children as possible, rather than both of you being at work and having to put the children in to child care. Wouldn't it be far better for the government to recognise that solo mothers are working and give them the ability to stay at home and raise their children if this is what they feel will be in the best interests of their children? We all know that the more love and stability a child receives growing up, the better this is for the child and therefore society as a whole. You know this and that is why you chose to have one parent at home full-time.

I guess that a big part of the problem is that you don't respect women. And I'm not just talking about the fact that you don't see anything wrong in joking with a long term domestic abuser about how it would be great to be Tiger Woods, because you get to have affairs with lots of women and treat them like objects. That was pretty blatant, but it is the policies you have enacted that have shown just how sexist you are. As you know the first thing the National government did when getting in to power in 1990 was to reverse the Pay Equity Act. If this hadn't been reversed things might just look a little different for women today. That of course was a reactionary extreme right National government. Not like the 'moderate' 'centrist' government lead by yourself, Prime Minister Dead Eyes. So what was one of the very first things you did after being elected? Interestingly enough you stopped all the pay equity investigations that were taking place in the public sector. Your government really is determined to ensure women never gain equality in the workforce!

And going back to benefits for a moment. I notice that you said you felt “a bit queasy” at the idea put forward by your carefully selected mates in the welfare working group, that women should be forced in to work when their baby is 14 weeks old. So you should. Of course you didn't seem to have a rumbling stomach, as I'm sure hundreds of thousands of women in New Zealand probably did, at the other anti-women idea put forward by the welfare working group, that women on the DPB should be encouraged to take up “long-acting reversible contraception”. Regardless of the fact that there can be all sorts of complications with these contraceptions and regardless of the fact that there was almost nothing in the report stating that men also have responsibility for their children (in fact the word 'fathers' only appears twice in the 189 page document.

I should note that your disrespect for women isn't actually contradictory as I can't recall you ever having said anything positive about the role of women in society.

Prime Minister Dead Eyes, you say that you have “a strong committmernt to the safety net that welfare provides”. That same safety net that was used by your family when you were growing up. Unfortunately Prime Minister dead Eyes, the only real commitment you seem to have is removing that safety net for as many people as possible. As we all know, the majority of people on benefits are there temporarily, very few stay on welfare for a long time. There are those, like many of the solo mothers mentioned above, who need to be receiving welfare payments for a longer period of time and of course there are the hundred thousand or so people who have some work, but not enough to make ends meet. However your welfare policies seem to say that anyone on a benefit is a bludger who is making “poor choices”. You bring out the odd example of someone who has cheated the system in one way or another, but the fact that you can only find a handful of these people amongst approximately 300,000 people who receive some sort of benefit, really speaks for itself. Most people on benefits want to move in to decent paid work, they want to be provided with the opportunities you were afforded. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Dead Eyes, all you want to do is get rid of the “safety net” without giving providing any option for people but to be up on the tight rope in the first place.

The fact is, Prime Minister Dead Eyes, that there aren't enough decent jobs out there. In fact there aren't even enough jobs full stop, including the shit ones. When you were growing up the government had a policy of full employment. When jobs started becoming scarce, the government created more jobs. In this way New Zealanders knew that they would be looked after, they knew that they were part of a community. But your government hasn't created any new jobs. Instead you've cut jobs, made many more people redundant and forced them on to a benefit. You proudly talk about the 5% of public sector employees who you have thrown on the scrap heap and then to add insult to injury, you tell these hard working people who had stable and steady employment (until you came along) that they have made bad choices and that their lives will be made as difficult as possible whille they are on a benefit. The only jobs the government has talked about creating are temporary construction jobs. So the great master plan to lessen the wage gap with Australia is to throw people out of stable, decent paying jobs and give them the choice of either going on a benefit or working in a temporary unstable job and then going on the benefit. Hmmm...logic seems to have gone out the window some time ago.

And what about all the people in Christchurch. Already floods of refugees have arrived in places like Nelson, Dunedin, Invercargill and other South Island towns. People don't feel safe in Christchurch and have moved elsewhere, but these towns don't have work for them so they need financial assistance. And what about the thousands still in Christchursh who will be facing redundancy as ruined businesses are unable to reopen? They will soon all be on welfare, and there won't be enough jobs available for people to move in to for quite some time. Sure, your mates that have enough money to invest in Fletcher construction are no doubt rubbing their hands with glee, but the majority of people in Christchurch are rubbing their heads in despair, wondering how they are going to get by; wondering how they are going to be able to give their children the same opportunities in life that you were afforded. As those redundancies loom, they will not take much comfort in the fact that your government, under your instruction, voted down a private members bill last year, that would have provided mandatory redundancy pay for any employee made redundant. At present, very few workers in New zealand get any redundancy pay, which of course means that the only way for them to get by until they can find other work is to make “poor choices” and go on a benefit and seek help from charities that provide food parcels.

It is disgusting, Prime Minister dead Eyes, that you have taken advantage of an unprecedented disaster and used it for political gain and ideological agendas. Your government has announced that to pay for the rebuild of Christchurch you would look at cutting valuable social services such as Working for Families. You seem to have ignored the fact that many people living in Christchurch rely on these services and need them now more than ever. And asset sales would, of course, be a much easier sell than when you first announced your plan, because the last thing a government wants is a steady supply of income for the years ahead!

Excuse my ignorance Prime Minister Dead Eyes, but I thought we already had an Earthquake Commission that was estimating paying out around $1.5 billion dollars and would still have plenty to spare. Plus all the buildings that have private insurance on top of that. So won't most of the costs of rebuilding already be covered? I understand that there are many infrastructure costs on top of that (the total rebuild is estimate
d at $5 billion, though that is spread over the next few years) but didn't we only last year cut tax for the wealthiest earners in the country in what was labelled the great “tax switch” (read screw the poor, to give more to the rich). Considering these high earners had been paying the higher tax rate for years and had still managed to be rich with lots of disposable income, surely they would be quite happy to add some of this tax back on to their incomes to help rebuild Christshurch and rebuild peoples lives. Especially seeing as this would generate another couple of billion dollars. So you see Prime Minister Dead Eyes, there is no need to cut social services, all you need to do is put the top tax rate back to where it was a year ago. No one loses, everyone gains. It would only be to implement a purely ideological agenda that you would go ahead with cuts to Working for Families, Student Loans or Kiwisaver. And that would be taking advantage of a distraught country in shock, which would not only be unethical, but just downright nasty.

Before I finish up I think its worth pointing out to people that while you clearly despise the poor and don't value women, you have also shown that you are racist and homophobic. I think this needs to be pointed out because you try to put yourself forward as the bloke next door, the all inclusive man who gets along with everybody. You have even said in the past “I've made it clear that I want to run an inclusive society and that means inclusive from an ethnicity and from a sexuality point of view”. You've backed this up by attending events like the Big Gay Out and making bold political moves like including the Maori Party in your government even though you didn't need them.

Of course the symbolic action of including the Maori Party doesn't mean much when you implement policies that will hurt Maori and Pacific Islanders the most. You cut almost all the funding for Adult Education night classes so that those who weren't lucky enough to get an education growing up are not able to get the extra help now. Instead they will be stuck in their minimum wage jobs or on the benefit, until they get thrown off by your government. You took the money from Adult Education and gave it to private schools, the majority of whose students are white (and rich). University study is unaffordable. Student Allowances pay even less than the unemployment benefit, thereby punishing those who try to get an education and upskill so they can improve their lot in life. You are about to implement further attacks on those reeceiving welfare payments. Its hard to not see these actions as racist, but I suppose you could try and claim that these policies are not directly aimed at Maori and Pacific Islanders (It's just an unfortunate side effect that they will suffer the most!).

Your personal statements and actions give you away though. In fact they probably tell more about the real you, the man behind the 'man of the people' grin.

You have stated recently, Prime Minister dead Eyes that you believe 'white' countries are superior to 'brown' countries. Not in those exact words, but not far off. Firstly, two weeks ago, after inviting Julia Gillard to speak at Parliament you stated that other white countries would be welcome to speak as well “clearly if the Prime Minister of Great Britain or the President of the USA or a senior European leader came to New Zealand, we would consider that”. Perhaps this was just a slip of the tongue though, maybe you actually meant to include other nations that have a majority of 'coloured' people living in them? Unfortunately no. The following week, while making a speech on the Christchurch earthquake you stated “Our Australian neighbours, our British and American friends, the great countries of this world.” Imperialism at its finest. Its no wonder that you refused to give Tuhoe their land back. That would be admitting that there is something inherently wrong with the idea of white supremacy.

And as for the homophobia. Well first and foremost you voted against the civil union bill. Sure you don't mind the odd gay hanging about and those drag queens are actually kind of amusing. You probably wouldn't even move house if one moved in to your neighbourhood. But just so long as they don't have equal rights. Those queers need to know their place. Kind of like your views on women huh? Secondly what was with the camp little prance down the runway a couple of weeks back? Did you really feel so emasculated at being a model for an hour that you couldn't take it seriously? I can imagine your mind ticking away “But if I model on the cat walk people might think I'm gay! Better go over the top. If I poke fun at gay people then all the blokes will know I'm one of them. Hmmm maybe I should do a few more interviews with Veitchy too. Make sure people know I'm down with rugby and wife beating like the real men”.
I apologise if I have gotten a bit carried away, Prime Minister Dead Eyes. I'm sure it would have been enough to simply point out your contradictory, hurtful policies. But the more articles I read the more and more information that came to light about how bigoted you are.

Because the truth is Prime Minister Dead Eyes, that you are a very selfish man. Your generation, the 'baby boomers', had it all. Decent housing, low interest home loans, welfare that paid the bills, a job for everyone, free university education. You were given all the help you needed from society to make sure you could achieve all you wanted to achieve. And you did just that. And now that you have got to where you want to be, you are determined to make sure that future generations don't get that same chance. Those of your generation who have made it rich (i.e. most of the National Party MP's) should be re-named 'the selfish generation'. I can only hope that in November the people of this country have enough sense to see through your smirks and empty promises and make sure you don't get a chance to destroy even more lives.

Yours very sincerely,
Duncan Allan