The meme from the right is that the poverty in NZ is not real somehow, that it's not 'proper' poverty. This is a far better tactic than Paula Bennett's 'we don't bother to measure children in poverty' line as that makes her seem churlish and disingenuous in the extreme.
This new 'it's not real poverty' angle is why we are seeing the NZ Herald attack John Campbell over the weekend for his work on exposing child poverty and why we saw it pop up on failed right wing politician Rodney Hide's new far right column - also in the NZ Herald last weekend.
The commentators do a great job pulling Rodney Hide's argument to pieces in the comments section, pointing out that Rodney has played around with the figures and that a family with 4 children earning $600 per week is the definition of living in poverty, not the $1000 Rodney inflates to make his argument seem more palatable.
The meme is simple, real poverty doesn't exist in NZ and these whiney lefties are just trying to make us feel guilty. If you are poor it's your fault, porridge is cheap, go fuck yourself.
As far as the right seem to be concerned, sub-subsistence living is the most any citizen can expect from the state. So much for a social floor that starts at the ceiling and cuts everyone off who is beneath that.
Paula Bennett's extraordinary statement on Q+A over the weekend that she wouldn't be vetting all beneficiaries under these new social obligation disqualifications because she can't afford to do it, means that these powers will be used on any beneficiary stupid enough to come to the attention of the Ministry. Like the great lidless eye of Mordor, the Ministry's attention will become the new weapon of fear and alienate society's most vulnerable even further to the fringes of our community.
So who will be targeted by Bennett? Oh I think we all know who will get targeted, the exact same groups in society who get profiled by the Police. If you are brown you will be targeted. If you are young you will be targeted. If you are young and brown, you're screwed.
My guess is that those who don't believe there is real poverty in NZ are the same people who think climate change is a hoax. Let's not have these arseholes direct the debate on fighting poverty in our country.