Thursday, 7 June 2012

Getting “tough”

No, I can’t get excited about Paula Bennett’s latest announcement to “get tough” on someone. Or at least to look like she is.

Her announcement this week informs us she intends to “’consider’ giving courts the power to remove children from abusers at birth,* something CYFS can—and does—already do.” **

This is not the first time Bennett has announced what has happening without her for some time.

In this she differs from Judith “Crusher” Collins, her cabinet mate, only in that while Bennett’s reputation for “getting tough” is based on announcements she might do something about something already being done, “Crusher” earned her nickname for announcing she will do something about things that still aren’t being done.

They make an ideal pair of virtual book ends, fiddling with “announcements” while their portfolio areas burn.***

* * * * *

* Not that there should be excessive controversy. The job of governments—the only job—is to protect individual rights. The primary way this is done is by criminals losing  rights commensurate with their crime. The only principled objection to this could be what government agencies do with the children they seize. Which is not always pretty.
** Thanks to Dim Post for the observation.
*** Both child abuse rates and benefit numbers are up on Bennett’s watch. While under Collins’s watch as minister for police and ACC the reputation of both reached their nadir.

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