Humpage, Louise
June 2011
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;Jun2011, Issue 37, p83
Academic Journal
It is often assumed that neo-liberal reform has had a significant and negative impact on public support for social citizenship rights. This paper tests such an assumption by reviewing New Zealand public attitudes associated with social rights of citizenship across two decades. While acknowledging the issues that make it difficult to draw comparisons with the past, the paper argues that there is no overwhelming evidence that neo-liberal reform has resulted in a paradigmatic shift away from supporting social citizenship. For instance, New Zealanders now favour tax cuts over redistribution and wage controls, but there is evidence that they are not willing to sacrifice social spending on health, education and, to a lesser degree, targeted social assistance. Given the notoriously problematic nature of public opinion data, however, the paper contends that qualitative research is needed to further unpack these ambiguities and ambivalences in public attitudes towards social citizenship.


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