ROMAN TRAVERS : Social welfare: where would we be without it?


OPINION : Those beneficiaries; they should get off their useless arses and just go get a job like the rest of us right? How many times have you been party to a conversation that swings wildly towards political persuasion and pontification in a room filled with self-appointed political experts?

Do you join in and agree simply to keep the peace and avoid the spotlight being swung in your direction as the loudest mouth in the room; often fueled by his sixth glass of pinot – exceeds respectable volume levels in a bid to ridicule you and your altruistic points of view?

Like so many New Zealanders, I have worked hard to get where I am today and I am proud to be able to tell you that I am completely debt free. That’s right. No debt. No mortgage. I am also asset free; just in case you thought I might be one of the only people in Auckland that lives centrally with no mortgage. By my rough calculations, I should be able to afford a letter box in Mount Eden by the end of the year.

Like Jemaine Clement, I was raised in Masterton and went to Makoura College. I have never shied away from the fact that my wonderful mother: Saint Gabrielle; raised her five sons and two daughters on her own and on the state in the Wairarapa. Due to the fact that my award winning idiot of a father walked out on us all when we were all very young, we were financially subsidised in every aspect by The Department of Social Welfare.

Don’t you think we are blessed to live in a country where we have a welfare system?

Don’t you think we are blessed to live in a country where we have a welfare system? Who would pick up the pieces for those where the grace of God hasn’t been so graceful? Thanks to Michael Joseph Savage, The Labour Leader from 1935 -1949, we have social welfare and state housing, which successive governments have continued to support in some form or another.

There may well be people on benefits that could be working. Perhaps some are ripping off the system while they can; but remember that many people find themselves in situations that they never anticipated; totally bereft of the ability to support their families.

Life can be so cruel and it can change quite literally overnight. We should be careful how we judge those less fortunate than ourselves. ‘There go I but for the grace of God’ is something I like to say when I’m confronted by a Pinot spitting, irrational party political broadcaster, who hasn’t yet experienced life on the wrong side of the tracks. Never be afraid to speak your mind… you’re the only person that can.

Roman Travers is a broadcaster on RadioLIVE and the leader of The Beehive Party.