Judith Collins wants to crack down on Work and Income giving convicted drunk-drivers interest free loans so that they can apply for limited licences.
She had a nice little rant on Morning Report this morning about the issue, and even managed to blame Labour. I hope she feels better for the exercise.
But let’s step back and think about this sensibly. Limited licences are hard to get, and will generally only be available where people need a licence to keep their job.
Work and Income are giving loans away because they are trying to keep people off the dole.
The cost to the state of an unemployed person is considerable. The longer someone stays on the dole the harder it is for them to get off it. Long-term unemployment breeds poverty, which is a significant factor in crime and poor health outcomes. These things cost the state enormous amounts. In most cases the people applying for limited licences will have evidence from an employer or prospective employer that the licence is necessary for them to keep or obtain a job. So these Work and Income loans are probably helping to reduce unemployment.
Which means that clamping down on the giving out of loans is likely to increase unemployment.
Judith Collins doesn’t like lawbreakers and never will, and enjoys railing against drunk drivers, boy racers and anyone else who doesn’t fit into her tidy true-blue conservative view of the world. However, she isn’t proposing to change the rules so that limited licences are harder to get for everyone – just for those people who are poor and can’t afford the legal costs.