NZ First MP Shane Jones' ardent commitment for a new work-for-the-dole scheme is merely "paying lip service to an issue" which will make his party stand out from Labour and Greens, 1 NEWS' Andrea Vance says.
The Minister for Regional Economic Development announced he would push for a work-for-the-doll scheme in the new Labour-led Government last Sunday, saying they'll be no more "sitting on the couch" for his "nephews", who could be out planting pine trees.
Yet subsequent comments from the Prime Minister, have suggested there is no such commitment to a revisited work-for-the-dole scheme - once trotted out in the National Party's 1991 budget.
"It's all politics. They're just paying lip-service to an issue, NZ First are trying to make a splash, sort of distinguish themselves from Labour and the Greens, but if they're going to do it, would it not be better to do it alongside the review, and the overhaul that they've promised," Vance said.
Vance said the facts show there is no evidence work-for-the-dole schemes have benefited employers or employees, when they have been introduced in Australia.
"It's a great policy to get people talking, and a certain generation love it, but actually the facts and evidence show it doesn't work," Vance said.
The 1 NEWS political team said the message from Jacinda Ardern this week was that the existing sanctions surrounding unemployment benefits are fine as they are, but they need to be better monitored.
1 NEWS political editor Corin Dann said he doubted Jones had even floated his work-for-the-dole idea before he announced it on the Q+A program last Sunday.
"He hadn't told Jacinda Ardern that he was going to come and do that interview, and he clearly hadn't told them he was going to have a big crack like this," Dann said.
However, the 1 NEWS political team agreed that the place of NZ First in the coalition government may be useful, in some ways, for Labour by addressing conservative policy ideas publicly that many Labour and Greens MPs are uncomfortable talking about - such as work-for-the-dole
"Is it useful for Labour?" Dann asked of Shane Jones' comments.
"This is the Government going into some right-wing territory which Labour supporters and Labour MPs are very uncomfortable with, it's easier for NZ First to go there and there are talk-back people who like it."