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Beneficiary bashing – mission accomplished

Written By: - Date published: 9:05 am, February 6th, 2013 - 172 comments
Categories: class war, national, paula bennett, poverty - Tags: ,

Bravo Paula Bennet, Bravo John Key, Bravo National, your constant beneficiary bashing (announcing a new “get tough” policy every time you need to distract attention from some random crisis or other) has borne its predictable fruit:

Beneficiaries ‘attacked on all sides’

Beneficiaries have overtaken Asians as the group New Zealanders consider to be the most discriminated against.

A UMR Research survey of 750 people, commissioned by the Human Rights Commission has found 74 per cent of people think beneficiaries are facing discrimination. Asians, who have ranked at the top of the list since at least 2003, were second at 72 per cent.

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said it was a change, but nothing to celebrate. “Asian-New Zealanders have been at the top of this list every year. That’s been a fairly consistent piece of data. “But it gives me no joy to see one replace another if they’re at that level. … Welfare reforms could have raised the profile of beneficiaries, Mr de Bres said.

The high scores on the survey were at least an acknowledgement that there was a problem, he said. “We know from the perceptions of discrimination survey that most New Zealanders can see that. Maybe it’s a good fact that people are aware of it. The challenge is still to deal with it.” …

Beneficiary Advocacy Federation spokeswoman Kay Brereton said the discrimination against beneficiaries was severe – they could be left out of social groups and feel potential employers would not take them seriously.

“Beneficiaries are facing quite significant discrimination – they have been attacked, really, from all sides,” Ms Brereton said. “I’m proud of New Zealand to have recognised that discrimination.” …

Numbers on benefits reached historic lows under the last Labour government. They have shot up under National, not because the country suddenly got lazy, but because of National’s amateurish bungling on the economy.

No doubt National will keep playing the odious beneficiary-bashing card (their latest version of Iwi – Kiwi divisive politics). Labour has had one (over hyped) recent wobble on this issue, which it needs to put firmly behind it. Beneficiaries are people, victims of incompetent government and overt discrimination. They need a political champion – someone to stand up for the underdog…

172 comments on “Beneficiary bashing – mission accomplished”

  1. Frank 1

    Abolish all benefits and force people to stand up for themselves. those who cannot fend for themselves should be cast aside. there are to many people on this planet so the unproductive should be eliminated.

    [RL: I saw this within minutes of it being posted but I was too busy at the time to do anything about it. This is a blatant hit and run troll comment. First and last warning; any future comments in this tone will result in a long, if not permanent ban.]

    • outofworkkiwi 1.1

      Hi Frank
      Like in India and other parts of asia,you’re happy to see sick starving beggars on the street desperate to keep going another day? To walk by and view the misery and say they deserve it? And all the other evils, crime, prostitution and violence, not to mention the bulging third world prisons because we won’t want to spend our dough on housing the wretches of our society. Could however just reintroduce Workhouses? But that’d cost as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lWKpUK7-qU&list=UUGThM-ZZBba1Zl9rU-XeR-A&index=2

    • Tiger Mountain 1.2

      “cast aside” sounds ominous as does “eliminated”. ACT does have a remaining member it seems.

      Look the Natz would be in way more trouble if the Aussie pressure relief valve was not there. High unemployment is liked by business because it puts downward pressure on wages and workers organisations. ‘Really’ high unemployment however puts pressure on bosses and the state–hello Greece, Spain and Portugal.

      National have cast aside enough people in this country already and while the poll seems to recognise some of the tory demonisation of “beneficiaries” what are people going to do about it? Too many kiwis absorb this stuff with overcrowded living arrangements, bailing out their kids with degrees who do not have jobs etc.

      Even on Auckland’s North shore there are advocacy groups for beneficiaries who as a writer here suggested a while back should actually be termed “social security recipients”. People are shamed and starved into silence. Time to speak up and fight back or Frank’s futurist nightmare will be here.

    • Colonial Viper 1.3

      Abolish all benefits and force people to stand up for themselves. those who cannot fend for themselves should be cast aside.

      Shit frank, are you the favoured son who sent his grandma off to the tip when she got too old?

      Tell me mate, how long before you become sick, crippled or lame, and its your turn to go into the landfill?

      • Tom 1.3.1

        It’s not just the National Party. I turned on TV1 news to see a head shot of an amused Shearer
        telling the voting public that many people had stopped looking for work.

        It may have been of context, but I CHALLENGE Shearer to resign his current position, go on the Unemployment Benefit, and try telling WINZ that he does not wish to look for work.

        I won’t be holding my breath.

        • Colonial Viper 1.3.1.1

          Shearer and everyone else shouldn’t be too surprised that when our economy gives up on people, those people will give up on our economy. Pretty natural reaction I dare say.

    • bad12 1.4

      Oh bravo Frank, got any more pearls of wisdom you would care to deliver here this morning to make the likes of the National Party sound as if they are adherents to the collected writings of Pol Pot…

    • Te Reo Putake 1.5

      “there are to many people on this planet so the unproductive should be eliminated.”

      Ooooh, goody! Shall we start in Remuera? Sweep down through Newmarket and Parnell and move on to Mission Bay after lunch? I hear there’s a colony of the unproductive out at Omaha beach, could be there by nightfall, if we don’t run out of ammo. Up against the wall, countryfuckers!

      • bad12 1.5.1

        Oh we hardly need ammo, nor to sully our hands, the Khmer under Pol Pot were said to have lined up whole families ordering one family member to beat a 4 inch nail into the back of the next family members cranium,

        If that failed a bullet was then used and the next family member offered the hammer and nail…

        • Colonial Viper 1.5.1.1

          Yeah there are some real bad stories like that around. Many from the last 50 years. Cambodia, Argentina, Peru, Nicaragua. With the scale of challenges coming up, some days you have to ask yourself if we deserve to survive.

          In one major conflict they’d tie two family members together. Shoot one dead and push both of a bridge together into the river.

          • bad12 1.5.1.1.1

            True i am being ‘a bit over the top’ with reference to the more abhorrent aspects of mans inhumanity to his or her fellow men,

            A better ‘solution’ to the problem as exhibited by ‘Frank’ would be to lock as many of the Franks as possible into the large number of jail cells we possess after first having given the inmates an early release,

            The Franks could have a hammer and cold chisel in each cell and be told to ‘work’ for their release…

            • Colonial Viper 1.5.1.1.1.1

              into the large number of jail cells we possess after first having given the inmates an early release,

              Ahhhh. The ‘General Amnesty’. A possible outcome as economic decline continues more steeply. Another good reason to keep our prison population low to begin with, and to ensure that any who are incarcerated receive proper training and rehabilitation.

        • Tom 1.5.1.2

          “were said to” .. you’d commit someone on that sort of evidence ?

    • Bill 1.6

      Going with the assumption that your comment was not sarcasm (hint – if it was, best to indicate as such)

      …so the unproductive should be eliminated

      Aye, reinstate the historical mission of the humble lamp post…bankers, politicians, managers…

      But seriously, since you want to abolish all benefits, then there goes society and all its benefits. And with society gone, the economy is gone and all production and distribution beyond the decidedly incidental is gone. And, well shit…do we have enough lamp posts for all those individualists who just ain’t cutting it? And who casts the failures aside to their final moments bathing in a faded yellow glow of a street lamp? And who keeps those yellow glowing lamps glowing anyway?

    • redbaron77 1.7

      Unfortunately too many New Zealanders disagree with you; so its very unlikely the “welfare state” will be abandoned. However should you be in the unfortunate position where you cannot “fend for yourself” then help will be provided to you irrespective of your of post above. Fortunately for you that’s what happens in a just society. Enjoy the day off…

    • North 1.8

      You’re a crack-up Frank !

    • Foreign Waka 1.9

      You don’t mean that – do you? What if, god forbid, you had an accident and landed on that side of the divide you so easily condemn? Is is not part of a grown up civilization that we deal with these misfortunes differently then our forbears who acted on belief systems on their own? We are looking back and think we are so much better, but are we? With your comment right there, I do have my doubts.

    • One Tāne Huna 1.10

      Frank is either a: joking, or b: delusional. History shows us who ends up getting “eliminated” when society ceases to care for the weak and dispossessed.

    • Using your logic, you imply that you are happy to get rid of the sick and the elderly, the disabled and the youngsters who have fallen through the crack.

      I assume you have a job.

      If not, how do you get by?

    • fenderviper 1.12

      Frank(enstein’s monster) illustrates why it’s not desirable to put ones full name on a blog comment.

      Some folks get put in A&E for less.

    • Frank 1.13

      I know it was under the radar but, there are too many people that cannot be afforded.

      • felixviper 1.13.1

        People with a poor grasp of commonly used idioms, for example?

        • Frank 1.13.1.1

          What ever . frothing at the mouth dosen’t help

          • Frank 1.13.1.1.1

            Breeding a feral underclass is not the answer.

            • mickysavage 1.13.1.1.1.1

              Frank reminds me of my uncle who is in his 70s and speaks his mind but his mind is not what it used to be …

              At one level the issue of overpopulation is important. But at another level …

          • fenderviper 1.13.1.1.2

            I’m pleased to hear you support eliminating the unproductive speculators and those corporates recieving welfare Frank.

          • felixviper 1.13.1.1.3

            I agree, Frank. Frothing at the mouth “dosen’t” help.

            Perhaps if you weren’t frothing so hard you’d be able to concentrate enough to spell very simple contractions such as “doesn’t”.

            Or maybe not. Maybe there was no point wasting the expense of a publicly funded education on you at all. Maybe we shouldn’t have bothered and left you to fend for yourself from birth.

      • fenderviper 1.13.2

        There are TOO many fuckwits like Frank around, lets wipe a few of them out.

        Under the radar would suggest un-detected, un-noticed Frank you tool.

        You attracted plenty of attention dropkick, you must feel so proud to be so inhumane.

  2. Bill 2

    They need a political champion – someone to stand up for the underdog…

    No. We need a specific political party to speak up for, or on behalf of the underdog. T he Greens do their bit. Mana do theirs too. But they are contradicted and thus counterbalanced by the other party that continues to claim to be representative of the left (ie the working class and disadvantaged).

    edit. Actually, it would be a start if said political party ceased being an apologist for discriminatory beneficiary bashing.

    • Te Reo Putake 2.1

      It appears you’ve got your wish, Bill. All quiet on the bene bashing front for months now.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        What do you make of the Dom’s editorial mentioning Labour working on a tough new stance on beneficiaries?

        • Te Reo Putake 2.1.1.1

          Nothing. It’s the Dom.

          Edit: it occurs to me that we will see more and more wishful thinking in the Dom and Granny as the change of Government gets nearer.

      • fatty 2.1.2

        All quiet on the bene bashing front for months now.

        That’s the problem…time for Shearer to flop his cock on the table, voice his position and tell us if he supports victims of economic violence.
        Um er…blah blah blah just makes it worse

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.2.1

          Yep. The House is back, let’s put an end to the endless servings of Mumble Salad and stick it firmly to the Tories on issues of social justice, the working poor and beneficiary poverty.

      • Colonial Weka 2.1.3

        It’s loud and clear in the subtext TRP.

      • Bill 2.1.4

        We’ve had this exchange before TRP.

        Blatently promoting the concept of the virtuous poor – ie, those who ‘do their bit’ – and explicitly stating that those considered virtuous by a future Labour led government will in their turn, find a government ready to ‘do it’s bit’ for them, implies that those not judged to be ‘doing their bit’ are not going to be recipients of government benevolence..

        It’s pretty simple. Labour’s beneficiary bashing is implied and insidious now rather than, as it was previously, explicit. The change in tone is probably due to the backlash from the ‘fiddler on the roof’ anecdote. But nothing has been repudiated and the basic message of beneficiaries as bludgers remains.

        • Te Reo Putake 2.1.4.1

          Seriously, Bill? You can’t find any evidence, so you’re relying on ‘implication’?

          http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/07/us-cameroon-homosexuality-idUSBRE9060XL20130107

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.4.1.1

            Feel free to supply us with a quote from Labour saying that most beneficiaries are good people who would prefer to be working if they could and if decent jobs were available, and that they are a vulnerable group in society who must not be descriminated against, but given further assistance where possible.

            Any such quote from a Labour front bencher in the last couple of years would be fine.

              • Bill

                Nothing in any of those links I read relating to discrimination r0b. I mean, like shit, either it doesn’t exist or is a minor matter or is something Labour is blind to or fine with.

                  • Bill

                    First link. King merely slams the shoddiness of the policy drafting and by extention Nationals incompetence. She says nothing of the inherent injustices – just skytes.

                    Second link. Yup. Sepuloni, Labour’s minister for disability issues mentions disability a fair bit in that presser. But you what? This see this kicker of a caveat to her criticisms?

                    While a change in emphasis around what people with disabilities can do is welcome,..

                    Do you appreciate what that means in practice? See, I’ve just been subjected to this ‘welcome change in emphasis’ and I’m telling you straight up that it fucks people over and that it fucks people up. And it will result in some people killing themselves.

                    And Labour welcomes this change in emphasis…

                    edit That’s nine links and nothing emphatic on such a basic issue as discrimination (the last link being the closest while it actually endorses National’s welfare reforms!

                  • Colonial Weka

                    What we are looking for r0b is Labour saying it will do something about reinstating Special Benefit. Or changing the abatement rates so beneficiaries in part time work aren’t penalised. Or enlarging Working for Families to include beneficiaries. Or reinstating case management at WINZ, and then making sure the case management system is actually competent.

                    From one of your links:

                    ““Good welfare reform is about getting people into work not about gimmicks and political grandstanding, which is why Labour will make finding Kiwis jobs Work and Income’s primary focus,” Annette King said.”

                    That already IS WINZ’s primary focus, and it’s one of the reasons why beneficiaries have such a hard time. Income support and job seeking should be two separate departments IMO. Job creation should be a third. Otherwise there is a huge conflict of interest.

                    Good welfare reform is about supporting the most vulnerable people with their needs and trusting that when they are able to they will find work. To push people to find work that isn’t there is stupid, and to do so punitively is cruel.

                    Like Bill and Macro, I see Labour making some of the right noises, but sweet FA in terms of action. And underneath all that is just the wrong philosophy –

                    ““We respect the fact that looking after children is real work and that people reliant on the Domestic Purposes Benefit need real assistance into training and work.”

                    Can you not see what is wrong with that? In that press release, King repeatedly frames the problem of welfare as people not knowing how to find appropriate work. She’s wrong. The problem is that there is not enough paid work to go around, and some people are not able to be in paid work. People like her think that paid work is the be all and end all of a valid existence. What that does is incentivise WINZ to treat beneficiaries like shit, because if you’re not in work there must be something wrong with you.

                    • Colonial Weka

                      “What we are looking for r0b is Labour saying it will do something about reinstating Special Benefit. Or changing the abatement rates so beneficiaries in part time work aren’t penalised. Or enlarging Working for Families to include beneficiaries. Or reinstating case management at WINZ, and then making sure the case management system is actually competent.”

                      And btw, at the same time Labour could also make whatever noises it likes about work (esp if they focus on job creation rather than spending resources on shuffling people on and off benefits). But it’s what they’re not doing and saying that is the problem. As far as I can tell they don’t really care about beneficiaries as a group. Lots of the links you provide talk about poor people, but not the special issues that exist for people on a benefit. In the absence of anything supportive about beneficiaries as a group I have to assume that Labour doesn’t give a shit.

                    • r0b

                      Folks, some of you are dancing on the heads of pins to insist that Labour isn’t saying what it says in just the right way that you think it should have been said. Here’s a section from Labour’s 2011 Social Development policy:

                      Personalised support for those who need it

                      Labour recognises there are some New Zealanders who are unable to work, either in the short or in the long term. Labour is committed to understanding and responding to people’s individual circumstances.

                      On the other hand, more people receiving sickness benefits and invalid’s benefits are saying they would like the opportunity to participate in paid work, training or other activities. We want to engage with these individuals to help them fulfill their potential.

                      Labour will focus on increasing the proportion of disabled people who are
                      supported into paid work.

                      We remain committed to offering those who are sick or disabled, or who have caring responsibilities, the support and services they need to live active and fulfilling lives.

                      Labour will ensure that the Invalid’s Benefit is named more appropriately and continues to be paid at a higher level than short term benefits, and that that the Disability Allowance is available to continue to meet direct additional costs.

                      Labour also believes that care is work, and that parenting is some of the most crucial work ever done. We don’t believe the only good parent is a parent in paid work, or that raising children is just a handicap parents need to escape from in order to be productive.

                      We are fundamentally opposed to the National Government’s Future Focus legislation and have serious concerns about the changes to the Sickness and Invalid’s benefit.

                      Labour believes that welfare reform should ensure that help is made available to those who need it and that an intensive case management system exists to ensure that the different needs of individuals are taken into account.

                      Under Labour the number of people on the unemployment benefit was significantly reduced and that was because people had jobs to go to. In times of economic instability the government has a role to ensure that jobs are created and that, where jobs are not available, support is available to those who need it.

                      Sorry if it doesn’t touch on every aspect that you think should be touched on. But I think it’s policy that we should all be supporting, not tearing down.

                    • Bill

                      Well, no r0b. What I’m saying (others too as far as I can tell) is that Labour is just saying exactly what it is saying and that what it’s saying doesn’t auger well for beneficiaries. And I for one am not willing to act or argue in any way that would enable them to sell themselves on the back of false hopes or expectations – to, if you prefer, hoodwink people. If Labour thought they were being misconstrued, it would take ’2 secs’ and a minimal press release to set matters straight. But that’s not going to happen, is it? They daren’t mention the right of all people to enjoy a degree of dignity; to be free from discrimination or point out that economic poverty (including unemployment) is systemic and not the ‘fault’ of the individual. And they daren’t say it because it’s not what they’re about. They are explicitly about ‘doing their bit’ for those who ‘do their bit’. (eg, raise children and go to Polytech; be piss poor in spite of having a job; be sick or disabled but adopt the ‘to hell with it’ attitude Shearer lauded in his last speech. And so on)

              • Colonial Viper

                Sorry to make you spend your time searching for links on Waitangi Day, r0b. Honestly, those press releases say the right kinds of things. The words oppose National’s approaches and suggest multiple points that could be done better and differently, to assist beneficiaries and their children. Is that all we can hope for at this stage, cross our fingers?

                But under the pressure of a $300M/week budget shortfall, the chase for the upper middle class vote, a belief in needing to look tough on ‘bludgers’, a history of maintaining benefit levels below minimum levels required for survival, and the likes of Josie Pagani trying to find new marginalised groups in society to hit at, I don’t really know what Labour is finally going to deliver on.

                Will even the very mild and limited but positive steps suggested in those press releases survive these pressures.

                And of course the main issue is – global capitalism is grinding to a gradual, energy depleting halt, and the top few percent are busy shovelling the declining wealth left below them towards themselves in a vain attempt to prop up their own lifestyles and influence.

                • r0b

                  Sorry to make you spend your time searching for links on Waitangi Day, r0b.

                  It only takes 5 minutes with a search engine.

                  Honestly, those press releases say the right kinds of things

                  Of course they do. So much of the criticism of Labour here is unwarranted!

                  I don’t really know what Labour is finally going to deliver on.

                  None of us do, but I do know what they want to deliver on.

                  • Bill

                    Honestly, those press releases say the right kinds of things

                    Of course they do. So much of the criticism of Labour here is unwarranted!

                    So, I’m going to disagree with both of you here. The press releases appear to make some of the correct noises. But that’s because they are based on a descriptive analysis and so will, of course sound critical. But they are by and large critical of the government rather than the actual policies See, there is no critical analysis – none to speak of – and that’s the necessary foundation of anything that would be, or that would/could lead to, anything substantially different. National bad – Labour did better; Labour will do better, just doesn’t cut it. It’s waffle.

                    And sans any expressed critical analysis there isn’t even the basic and simple statement – the one that would cut through all the bullshit and change the narrative – the one that calls it all for what it is : -unjust and discriminatory.

                    • Macro

                      Totally agree Bill!
                      rOb, C V – it’s one thing to criticize National, it’s clearly another thing to be coming out strongly, and consistently, advocating social justice – and that is something we are not hearing. What has Labour said with regards these insidious reforms of National’s? Will it repeal them immediately on taking office, and replace them with more just reforms that do not discriminate against beneficiaries? You see this is what is lacking from Labour, and what people here have been screaming out for, for the past 3 years.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Right wing neoliberals can conceptualise practical real objectives to their political-economic philosophy eg. government cippled and corporations calling the shots, a money supply entirely controlled by private banks, the wealthy having minimal tax burdens and legal responsibilities, the entire work of keeping a society turning over falling to a struggling bottom 90%, all public activities and commons privatised for private profit, and so on and so forth.

                      what does the Left have as a vision? What do Labour or the Greens or Mana have as their concrete political-economic end-goals? Almost nothing that I can see, because their main energies are expended on trying to moderate the given right wing capitalist framework towards a marginally nicer social democracy.

                    • McFlock

                      The press releases appear to make some of the correct noises. But that’s because they are based on a descriptive analysis and so will, of course sound critical. But they are by and large critical of the government rather than the actual policies See, there is no critical analysis – none to speak of – and that’s the necessary foundation of anything that would be, or that would/could lead to, anything substantially different.

                      Okay, I don’t think I’m a complete moron (some might disagree), but this is far too subtle for me to believe that this is the reason some folks here call the Labour caucus things like bene-bashing neolib troughers. I am a bit of a binary thinker, but seriously. This sort of description is where, in meetings, I just decide arbitrarily – as far as I can tell the difference is too small to give a damn about, especially with no policy documents drawn up yet. Better to just move on rather than waste time on semantics. It seriously reminds me of half-hour discussions that argue whether it’s better to hyphenate with en-dashes rather than em-dashes.

                      It might be of technical value for specialists, but it sure ain’t generally applicable, and 90% of peope would notice the difference.

                    • Colonial Weka

                      The reason many people here call Labour bene bashers is because of Shearer’s roof painter speeches. And his defense of those speeches afterwards. And the lack of support for beneficiaries explicitly. And the lack of specific policies that would help beneficiaries (I gave examples in another comment). Nothing subtle about that McFlock.

                      There are differences between how NACT and Labour approach their distaste for beneficiaries. But the fact that that difference exists doesn’t mean that Labour are doing the right thing.

                      As for having no policy documents to draw on yet, why is that? We know what Labour policy has been in the past, so if they are intending to do something different now, why not just signal that?

                    • McFlock

                      I seem to have been wrong on the policy docs thing – , there’s last election’s policies. One of the caucus members said those are current until replaced. How can they signal change if they haven’t determined any change yet?

                      The roofpainter story is dependent on interpretation. I agree it was crap, but I don’t think benebashing was the intended message. And it was discontinued when that message was pointed out. A formal mea culpa over it would serve only to create further bullshit and nat fodder in the media, rather than just on this blogsite.

                      I reckon that Bill has outlined the real issue – labour say the right things, but a whole bunch of content analysts are quibbling over whether hating the sinner necessarily involves hating the sin, no matter what current policies might be. All rather pointless given that the greens and mana would have something to say about benefits in the next government, even if labour fails to have a policy on the matter.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The roofpainter story is dependent on interpretation. I agree it was crap, but I don’t think benebashing was the intended message.

                      So not insidious, just incompetent? That’s cool, then.

                      I reckon that Bill has outlined the real issue – labour say the right things, but a whole bunch of content analysts are quibbling over whether hating the sinner necessarily involves hating the sin, no matter what current policies might be.

                      That’s not what Bill said. This is what Bill said (emphasis mine):

                      The press releases appear to make some of the correct noises. But that’s because they are based on a descriptive analysis and so will, of course sound critical. But they are by and large critical of the government rather than the actual policies See, there is no critical analysis – none to speak of – and that’s the necessary foundation of anything that would be…substantially different.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, apparently it took several months of use before anyone realised the fiendish dogwhistle it contained. So not that incompetent, really.

                      I’m just intrigued that anyone expects in-depth critical analysis to be included in a press release. That’s a contradiction in terms. I would expect reasonably sophisticated analyses to be included in the white paper being prepared, though.

                    • Bill

                      Do you actually practice this level of stupidity and misrepresentation McFlock?

                      Basic, no bullshit pressers that explicitly state, for example, that poverty is a justice issue and that benefit reforms are unjust.

                      And backed up by single examples predicated on a level of critical analysis if need be.

                      No-one is expecting a dissertation’s worth of acute or pointed analysis in a 50 word presser. They’re a sign post. A road sign that indicates direction or possibility. Currently, Labours are all ‘no exit’, ‘no entry’ and ‘no u turns’ etc.

                    • McFlock

                      Let’s ignore the number of press releases that talk about poverty and child poverty as problems and social ills that need to be addressed.

                      If they were press releases that said “benefits are a justice issue”, two things would happen.

                      1: tories would react the same way they did to extending WFF to beneficiaries, well supported by MSM stoolies.
                      2: some folks here would be aghast that tory-labour were calling benefits a justice issue, when the real justice issue is poverty/inequality and benefits are only one treatment for it, there’s no mention of poverty being the problem, omg how fucked up can the troughers get, yadda yadda.

                      Semantic bullshit, in my opinion. I don’t think anything will please some people.

              • beatie

                Yes, but will Labour dump the welfare reforms if elected? Otherwise all of the above is meaningless bullshit.

          • felixviper 2.1.4.1.2

            TRP: “Seriously, Bill? You can’t find any evidence, so you’re relying on ‘implication’?”

            Err, Shearer’s disgraceful and repeated bene-bashing has never been withdrawn or apologised for.

            It would seem to me that you’re relying on a couple of months of silence as “implication” that he’s no longer hostile toward beneficiaries.

            I think I’ll just go by what he has said, TRP, not what you think his later silence implies, thanks.

            • Colonial Weka 2.1.4.1.2.1

              +1

            • Rhinocrates 2.1.4.1.2.2

              It’s not silence, the dog-whistle has just moved to a higher pitch, as the latest man-in-the-Napier-pub anecdote has shown. Chris Trotter nailed it well here:

              http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/sting-in-tail.html

              Shearer: Hard working blah blah blah not paying their way blah blah bullshit blah

              Trotter: He might just as well have added: “Not like those bludgers on the dole, DPB or sickness benefit!”

              No, he was advised not to say it out loud – just to let it hang there by implication. And he lapped that advice up.

              So what if he’s “receiving bad advice”? He has chosen to take it.

              The man’s a shit. I don’t know if he really thinks that beneficiaries are parasites or if he thinks that his precious focus groups are right to tell him that they’re expendable as scapegoats, because in either case he has decided that the most vulnerable are dispensable, and moreover should be sacrificed in public to make cheap points.

              I never thought that I’d agree with Chris Trotter, but now I do.

              Fuck you Shearer. I hear your dog whistle and it’s as grating as fingernails on a blackboard. It’s the sound of opportunism and hate.

              • McFlock

                … or you might be over-analysing stuff and going off half-cocked. Just a thought.

                • just saying

                  Hi McFlock,
                  Do you reassure other groups subjected to discrimination that they are just imagining it? You remind me of someone I was talking to at Christmas who was telling me how he put his workmate “right”, that NZ was not a racist country. “If it was you wouldn’t have a job and I wouldn’t even be talking to you”, he said. Argument won, end of discussion.

                  Yes you are a bit more sophisticated, but the message is the same: the most disadvantaged in our communities are imagining discrimination against them as evidenced by their experience of Labour’s treatment of them when it was in government and in the party’s public discourse on the issue since they’ve been in opposition.

                  Does this ring any bells?

                  http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2009/11/insensitive-and-hypersensitive/

                  • Rhinocrates

                    Nicely put.

                    The whole intent of the dog whistle is that it can be clear to those who want to hear it, and be silent to those who don’t want to hear it.

                  • McFlock

                    Labour’s treatment of them while it was in government?

                    I was a beneficiary around the 1999 change in government and Labour were a breath of fresh air. Even minor changes, like case managers telling you what your entitlements actually were, were fucking amazing in taking the stress off.

                    To continue the “racist” analogy, calling someone “bro” is not always a racist dogwhistle, either. So automatically responding by calling the person “shit” and saying “fuck you” just might be seen as an overreaction to an informal mode of address.

                    The thing about a dog whistle is that it can be hard to pick whether the dog’s going apeshit because of a whistle you can’t hear, or whether the dog just barks and bites with little provocation, no whistle need be involved.

                    • just saying

                      I was a beneficiary around the 1999 change in government and Labour were a breath of fresh air.

                      Several commenters have told you of negative long term experience as a beneficiary under Labour. Are you saying they “misunderstood” their treatment over all that time?

                      I never said you were “shit or” “fuck you”. I’m saying I think you are wrong on this.

                      Who or what are/is the dog “going apeshit” as in your analogy? Your final paragraph reads like an exemplar of victim-blaming beneficary commenters here as “hypersensitive”.

                    • McFlock

                      They didn’t misunderstand their treatment.

                      Maybe they just don’t recall the difference in treatment between national and labour, or maybe my experience (and my flatmates’ and relatives’ at the time) was not the norm (but it’s all I have to go on).

                      No, this doesn’t mean that labour deserve unmitigated praise for not being quite so nasty to beneficiaries as national. But it does mean that I will defend them for making things a better from what I saw.

                      The dogwhistle analogy is always a possibility, given that by definition it might be undetectable to me. Of course, by that token the definition of the dogwhistle is that the dog starts howling or barking for no apparent reason. There might be a whistle, but it might just be a bad dog. Given that I spent some time living as a “dog”, maybe I have a little bit more perspective on the issue than I do on the discrimination faced by groups I have not been a member of. But then Key had a state house and a mum on a benefit, so I might not. But then I also know from extensive and bitter experience that some folks love to build a mountain out of a molehill, or will clock off for no reason.

                      You didn’t call Shearer shit or type “fuck you” to him. But Rhinocrates did, and that is who I replied to, and that is who I think is probably blowing shit out of proportion. Your discrimination line is interesting, but if others can speak from their experience, so can I.

                    • Colonial Weka

                      I was also a beneficiary in 1999 and concur that things improve within WINZ under a Labour govt. There is a definite change within the culture of the place. But I’m pretty good with navigating such systems and I suspect you are too McFlock ie some people do much better than others who do worse, even under Labour.

                      The reason why case managers started giving information on entitlements was because WINZ lost a major case in the high court in the 90s and one of the outcomes is they were directed to tell beneficiaries what they were entitled to. That would have happened under NACT too, although again, how it got implemented would have been different.

                      And let’s not forget that Labour removed Special Benefit, and stopped Working for Families being available to beneficiaries. This is why some people here talk about NACT stabbing you in the front and Labour stabbing you in the back, with a smile on their face.

      • Lefty 2.1.5

        We don’t hear Labour saying they will reverse National’s attacks on beneficiaries though. Going on their past record they will continue the attacks in more subtle ways if they become government unless the Greens are able to hold them to account.

        Labour should not expect any beneficary votes unless they stop hating everybody who is not either prosperous and middle class or rich and ruling class.

        • Rhinocrates 2.1.5.1

          Well on Beige Alert before the 2008 election, I was told by a senior MP – I think it was Curran – that I was probably not the sort of person they were aiming at and didn’t need my vote. We know how that election turned out – and the next.

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.5.1.1

            Gawd no mate, you’re exactly the kind of malcontent we can’t have hanging around Labour. Just like me, in fact. So one day perhaps we might start up our own big club together, because I reckon there might be a few more just like us. Quite a few more.

            • Colonial Weka 2.1.5.1.1.1

              Why don’t you guys just join Mana or the Greens and get on with it? ;-)

            • Tim 2.1.5.1.1.2

              Me fucking too – the very reason (after the last betrayal in the 80′s) I can no longer vote Labour, UNLESS they give a clear indication that their neo-lib/3rdWay/4th-Reich agenda is over and done with. FFS! I mean…they’re still lap dancing with a Josie Pagani (“from the Left”).
              Do they REALLY expect those that are their ACTUAL support base to warm to them chanting “beat me, beat me” when they’ve disavowed themselves of the very principles that probably appealed to them in the first place?
              Christ! – I ONCE met Claire Curran – to do with PSB.
              Good cause – probably the most important. In the space of 5 minutes I could determine what a vacuous, overly ambitious, ” I know it all, I’ve paid me dues” kinda specimen she was.
              I hope I don’t ever have the displeasure of coming across a pathetic little snake-hiss with the Christian name Chris.
              Could do though – no doubt he gets down with the people and shops Pekin Save.

              …..and now …….. FANBOI, or FANCLUB, or wotEVaaaaaah! – you’re contribution please…..

  3. outofworkkiwi 3

    I immediately think of Radio Live’s Michael Laws. He’s made a career out of beneficiary bashing, mostly everytime I listen to him it’s at least an undercurrent. And yet there are a lots of bennies out there that could do his plum sinecure of smug superiority in their sleep. The U$K which has bailed out its banksters for 2 trillion pounds has been bennie bashing for over a decade, it’s a very divided society and they have riots and no doubt they’ll have more too.

  4. Olwyn 4

    I just put a comment on this subject on the engagement with the Labour caucus thread, since it seemed applicable to the Dom post editorial. I actually found it somewhat heartening that this prejudice is being identified as such by a large percentage. To me this shows that even on the grounds of public opinion alone it would be counter productive for Labour to join the beneficiary-bashing throng. The mere fact that a prejudice is identified suggests that public opinion is shifting.

  5. Colonial Weka 5

    Bravo Paula Bennet, Bravo John Key, Bravo National, Bravo David Shearer, Bravo Labour.

    FIFY.

    • Paul 5.1

      Bravo Paula Bennett, Bravo John Key, Bravo National,.
      Bravo David Shearer, Bravo Labour.
      Bravo Michael Laws, Leighton Smith, Mike Hosking, Larry Williams, Danny Watson, Bravo the corporate media.
      FIFY.

      [B:- duplicate comment removed]

      • Colonial Weka 5.1.1

        True Paul, but which of these is not like the others? (or not supposed to be like the others).

    • Bill 5.2

      Indeed Weka.

      Unfortunately, I suspect there will be a fair bit of dissonance etc, (the glaring omission from this post being an example) emanating from those who publicly decried the call for a party wide vote on Shearer’s leadership in the coming weeks and months.

    • Colonial Viper 5.3

      I’m looking forwards to a Labour front bencher picking up this UMR/HRC survey, and not just attacking National over the beneficiary bashing culture that they’ve encouraged in NZ, but also making a statement that our social security system is something which helps all NZers whether rich or poor, and is something for us to be proud of.

      Let me set my stopwatch.

    • + 1 Exactly. And we need a roll call of those who are trying to look after beneficiaries – and because of the nature of the stats around beneficiaries, today would be a good day to get that.

  6. In a book written by Jonathan Haidt, The righteous mind: why good people are divided by politics and religion, I was offered an insight that was voiced very well by Frank in his 6 February comment to this article. Conservatives are able to tell themselves they are reaching for some ideal that speaks of helping all of us move forward, while at the same time drawing blood. Frank speaks of “those who cannot fend for themselves”, how they “should be cast aside”, and finally that deathly cry that evokes the ovens of second world war Germany, “the unproductive should be eliminated”. Haidt may well attempt to make such a view more intelligible, but I find it scarey. He goes on to argue for the liberal, and I guess that is me, care comes first.

    • Olwyn 6.1

      I think, however that many people of all political persuasions fear its coming to this,(the elimination of the unproductive) so long as there is still room to modify things or turn them around. Even what ultimately happened in Germany happened under the cover and conditions of war, and would probably have met with much more resistance had those conditions not been in place. And I have read, for example, that as punishments get more extreme, juries are less likely to convict people.

      As I have said in my own comment, I derive cautious optimism from the very identification of this prejudice as prejudice and not simply as just deserts. It means that opposition to it now has a conceptual foothold within the public arena. The likes of Laws no longer have the stage to themselves.

  7. Pete 7

    I haven’t seen any NZ studies on this, but if we mirror other democracies the political participation of those in low socioeconomic groups is low compared to the rest of society. Given their numbers, if beneficiaries want the political elites to pay attention to their needs, they have to become a political force themselves and vote.

    Please understand, I’m not blaming the victims of this shameful strivers vs skivers narrative, but this is how politics works. And one thing we can do as activists is encourage people to enrol and, if necessary, drive them to polling places on election day. Old fashioned, get out the vote kind of stuff.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Normally, it is Labour who would do these kinds of activities, as it has the strongest on the ground activist network out of all the parties.

      And after you tell people in this group about the importance of their vote…who are you going to suggest that they vote for? Given that its traditional to vote for a party which is going to promote your interests.

      • Pete 7.1.1

        Right now? I’d have to say Mana. It’s probably not where I’m putting my vote, but Hone seems to be the most vocal politician in support of the marginalised at present.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          I would agree with you. Mana, and for those who can’t stand Harawira, the Greens. Mind you, I’ve met more than a few beneficiaries who vote John Key. Because they admire his success and he’s such a nice man, etc.

          • Colonial Weka 7.1.1.1.1

            The Mana electorate vote is useful if you have that option. The party vote is best given to the GP. They’re the ones most likely to have the ability to influence welfare policy in the next govt, and to put pressure on Labour to sort their shit out. Party voting Mana may help them gain traction over the long term, but its a wasted vote at the next election.

            • marty mars 7.1.1.1.1.1

              It is not a wasted vote at all – that is so wrong on many levels. Firstly this election is on a continuum not the be all and end all of elections. It may mean something to you but for those oppressed for generations it is more of the same. Secondly the greens are not the big supporters of the disadvantaged that you are implying as evidenced by bradford leaving. They do care but it is one area amongst many areas that they are rightly concerned about. Mana is the only party consistently advocating for the disadvantaged in society and putting their words into action. Thirdly if we followed your logic we’d all vote for your party – that doesn’t stack up weka. We need many views and many parties in parliament and we need Mana because they actually care and they care because many beneficiaries are tangata whenua fucked over by the system and supporters of that system.

              The greens don’t need Mana bashing to succeed they can get there by going after their voters with their good policies and strong people.

              btw – I have strongly replied here because I know that you know I care and I know that you care. :)

              • Colonial Viper

                We’ve got to get movement on the MMP recommendations…I am still hoping the MMP threshold is reduced to 3% but even 4% would be a bonus. My fear is that both Labour and National will co-operate on sitting on the report, but having said that, National knows it is short of support partners.

                I’m sure they are doing the math very carefully.

                Can Mana get over say 4% in 2017?

                • would you ever vote for Mana even though you may not like Hone?

                  • fatty

                    nah…most people vote on perception and image, rather than policy.

                    If you took Mana’s policies, with the marketing, personalities and image of the Greens, we would have that new left party that everyone desires

                    • Colonial Viper

                      What Mana could do is to get a handful of quality MPs into Parliament, and then agree with the Greens on specific areas of joint political co-ordination/co-operation.

                      But will a middle class Green membership ever want to have anything to do with Mana?

                      Marty mars – I have no problem with Hone and I think he is an excellent MP speaking in the House (although I know neighbours and relations of his who think he’s an over-confident prick. But you get that.)

                    • fatty

                      But will a middle class Green membership ever want to have anything to do with Mana?

                      No, I doubt it. I like Mana and the Green’s relationship at the moment. Both back each other without being too close. If the Greens get too close then they will lose the urban liberals who think their reusable shopping bag will save the world…they’ll be seduced by National and their Bluegreen propaganda.
                      Norman’s stupid statement about Mana has not been repeated… “I mean, who wants to relive the battles of the 1980s and 1990s? We’re in 2011 for God’s sake.”
                      I guess someone had a word in Norman’s ear.
                      At least Norman now knows what its like to have an idiot from your own side taking sniper shots. Shearer did that to the Greens the other day when the Green’s housing policy was released…Shearer legitimised Key’s claim that it was unaffordable and economically reckless.
                      …on second thoughts…did Key even say it was unaffordable, or was it just the Labour ‘leader’?

                    • Colonial Weka

                      What was the context of Norman’s statement?

                    • pollywog

                      Which is why Cunliffe should quit Labour, join Mana, force a by election, win it and hold the balance of power to become finance minister in a true Left govt come 2014.

                      Mana needs to become a party of not just Maori and poor folk. It needs a hi profile ‘rich’ white mofo with cred and nouse and mana and a safe majority in an electorate seat.

                      Of course it’ll never happen, but to think, in an alternative universe it already has. :)

                    • fatty

                      “What was the context of Norman’s statement?”

                      It happened around the beginning of May 2011, when Mana was getting set up and it looked as though Bradford was going to join.
                      It was a cheap shot that he should be ashamed of.

                      edit – pollywog +1

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Good to have you commenting again pollywog! The nature of New Lynn is such that an Independent or Green electorate MP might be workable…but as you say, all possibilities are already out there :)

                    • pollywog

                      Chur chur CV.

                      Just thought I’d try keep the sewer rats over at the Bog in check by shining the black mirror on their antics again and forgot how much fun that was.

                      I will try to raise my level of involvement here and not be so err…provocative :)

                    • Mary

                      Dead right. If you listen to what Hone says it’s in fact traditional Labour thinking – what Labour used to stand for (minus a few charity ideas like food in schools for deciles 1 to 3 – if you want food in schools it should be across the board, for reasons other than an inadequate social security system). Problem is people can’t get past his style of delivery therefore miss the message. Many on the Left have this problem.

              • Colonial Weka

                Hi marty :-)

                I’m not meaning to bash Mana. And it’s not about ‘my’ party (the suggestion to party vote GP). If I thought that party voting Mana would give them more MPs, then I would be encouraging people to vote either Mana or GP.

                I take your point about the inter-generational perspective, and this would be a main difference between Pakeha and Maori. I think the other main difference between you and I is about strategy rather than politics. I like Harawira as a politician, and would consider giving Mana my party vote if I thought it would be useful.

                I haven’t done the maths on this recently (and much depends on what happens the the Maori Party) but the way I read it, Mana will not get extra MPs from the party vote at this stage unless their party vote were to increase dramatically (ie they have to cross the 5% threshold). That is what I mean by a wasted voted – not that supporting Mana is a waste, but that the vote itself achieves nothing in the election results. Hmmm, let’s call it a ‘lost’ vote instead.

                As I said in my comment, I can see the value in party voting Mana if one is taking the long view, because it builds the party over time. I just want people to understand how MMP works, and to know that if that is what they are doing, then their party vote in this particular election will not help prevent NACT from getting in again. It’s a valid choice, I just want people to do it consciously.

                • The trouble with the point you are making here, Colonial Weka, is that if everyone takes your point and doesn’t party vote Mana, then Mana won’t raise their numbers and thus are stuck in the under 5% threshold and remain dependent on Mr Harawira’s electorate, or Annette Sykes to vote them in.

                  This then means it only requires National or Labour to throw a lot of resources at these electorates to get the people and views that Mana represents out of parliament.
                  Even if certain left-wingers don’t like Mr Harawira, or the political views he advocates, it would be good if people were aware that having a party like Mana is very good for the left because it pulls the political conversation left, (especially due to Mr Harawira’s advocating and debating abilities) and allows those less left parties to remain “respectable” and pick up those voters who are threatened by addressing “unbecoming” issues such as poverty, race relations, corporatism etc.

                  The more party votes Mana gets, the more confident voters will be to party vote Mana next time around and this allows Mana to transition from depending on one electorate supporting their policies to people across the country doing so.

                  • Colonial Weka

                    “The trouble with the point you are making here, Colonial Weka, is that if everyone takes your point and doesn’t party vote Mana, then Mana won’t raise their numbers and thus are stuck in the under 5% threshold and remain dependent on Mr Harawira’s electorate, or Annette Sykes to vote them in.”

                    Only if you think that I am advocating not party voting Mana in perpetuity. Which I’ve been pretty clear I’m not. I was talking about the next election.

                    Much is going to depend on what happens to the Maori Party. Also Dunne and Peters. There are complicating factors to do with the Maori roll vs the general roll, and overhangs.

                    The point I am making here is that I don’t feel particularly attached to party politics. If Labour were to return to its roots and have an actual left welfare policy then I would be saying party vote for the GP or Labour (or Mana if that will give them more MPs). The point is to gain the most advantage from the party vote to form a govt on the left.

                    It’s also why I think the GP should stop going for two ticks and instead educate its constituency on strategic voting.

                    As I said, party voting Mana is a valid strategy as long as one is aware what it means. Let me put it another way. By all means go ahead and party vote Mana, just so long as you are aware that you are building long term viability for the party, but that your vote in this particular election will be ‘lost’ and will not help prevent NACT from gaining another term.

                    I personally disagree with that strategy. While I take marty’s point about generational issues and patience, I also think that this election IS crucial because of the impending PO/CC/GFC crises (another NACT term will do such damage as we may lose any useful advantages we currently still have). But I will try and be less negative in how I challenge those wanting to party vote Mana ;-)

                    • Colonial Weka,

                      “Only if you think that I am advocating not party voting Mana in perpetuity. Which I’ve been pretty clear I’m not. I was talking about the next election.”~C. Weka

                      Sorry I did miss that you were specifically referring to the next election

                      I think you raise a valid point to be considered with respect to making a vote have the most effect you can. I was offering another angle which I think needs to be considered too, I take your point re specific to the next election though.

                      I certainly think it is important to be keeping a close eye on what is happening in the above-mentioned Mana electorates prior to party voting Mana. I also think it will be telling what approach Labour takes to these electorates and will be a way to find out what their “real” stance is.

                      I’m unclear why you are referring to the Green Party as going for “two ticks” because the message was very clear to me that they were absolutely emphasizing the party-vote, nearly every time I saw them on TV, I’m not sure whether they ever said “don’t vote for me in the electorate vote”, I think that puts them in a compromised position, yet they came pretty close to it by strongly emphasizing the party vote.

                    • Colonial Weka

                      In the same way that Mana want the party vote because it grows the party even though it doesn’t give them more MPs at this stage, the GP want both ticks because they consider that the best strategy for the party (not entirely sure why, maybe it’s easier than educating people). But it’s why Sepuloni didn’t take the Waitakere seat from Bennet. Which was a shame and an idiocy on the GP’s part (at least Mana had a good reason for what they did with Bradford). And it’s why no-one talks about accommodations any more. On the other hand, I can appreciate why the GP might not want to be too nice to Labour ;-)

                    • Colonial Weka

                      I take back what I said about accommodations…

                      “[Bradford] said the Green Party candidate had also publicly endorsed her, telling people at a community meeting to give their electorate vote to Ms Sepuloni. The Green Party candidate got 1676 votes last election – more than Ms Bennett’s winning margin.”

                      ” Ms Bradford said Mana’s strategy was to campaign for the party vote in the general seats but to run “two ticks” campaigns for both the electorate and party votes in the Maori seats. Mana leader Hone Harawira’s Te Tai Tokerau seat could be a lifeline for the party if it does not reach 5 per cent.

                      This week broadcaster Willie Jackson said he would not stand in the Tamaki Makaurau seat because he did not want to split the vote and hand the seat back to Labour. Labour’s candidate Shane Jones will contest the seat against Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples. Hone Harawira’s sister-in-law Stephanie Harawira will seek the selection instead.

                      Mana is also likely to select Annette Sykes to stand against Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell in Waiariki and former Maori Party candidate Angeline Greensill in Hauraki-Waikato, held by Labour’s Nanaia Mahuta. No announcement has been made on which electorate John Minto might stand in.”

                      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10752085

                      I’d be very interested to hear analysis of how that all worked out.

                • Kia ora weka

                  Yep I do take your point but it seems similar to what labour used to say to greens potential voters – don’t waste it, vote for us, be wise and get the most from your vote. If everyone had taken that advice where would the greens be?

                  My major point is that imo the parties are going after different voters and the overlap between the two constituencies is small. A party vote for Mana is not wasted and gods forbid that when key and the gnats gets back in, all of a sudden it is Hone and Mana’s fault. It won’t be, it will be the fault of the voters who voted for key and his mates. I’m not even going to blame shearer and his mates. You see for some of us it is the same old same old – the bus still runs us down whoever the driver is.

            • bad12 7.1.1.1.1.2

              You are correct as far as the electorate of Waiariki is concerned, The Maori Party are most vulnerable in that particular seat as Labour have said that they will be hotly contesting in all the Maori seats,

              I do not think Labour will win in Waiariki, instead capturing enough of the disaffected Maori Party vote so as to allow the Mana Party’s Annette Sykes to topple Te Ureroa Flavell,

              Hope Metiria doesn’t read this but i will be watching the polls leading up to November 2014 and should those polls indicate,(along with my ear to the ground), that Mana might pick up what i believe would be a third MP from an enlarged Party vote i may just add my support to that out-come…

          • just saying 7.1.1.1.2

            Would they have been newly beneficiarised or from the small minority of beneficaries, who have adequate resources and support from other sources, by any chance?

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.2.1

              Some, but some are just socially isolated as you would expect and simply go by the few snippets of information they might come across, maybe a newsclip with John Key and the All Blacks, or of Peter Jackson shaking Key’s hand at the Hobbit premiere etc.

              Sadly not everyone sees what we see of the man. Key’s PR team know what they are doing.

              Having said that, anti-Key talk is up these days, a lot more audibly.

          • bad12 7.1.1.1.3

            True, your comment brings to mind the two who got the bums rush from Wellington’s green parrot restaurant from Slippery the Prime Minister’s security detail for being so stupid as to believe the little Shyster who they said had agreed to their request to shout them dinner after they had told Him that they had voted for Him,

            Fish lining up at the take-away shop asking to be filleted in my opinion…

          • fatty 7.1.1.1.4

            Mind you, I’ve met more than a few beneficiaries who vote John Key. Because they admire his success and he’s such a nice man, etc.

            Sadly, its the same with low wage workers – who at a materialistic level are similar to beneficiaries

            • blue leopard 7.1.1.1.4.1

              When I hear of people of these socio-economic groups have voted for National, I really don’t know what to think, and start experiencing particularly nasty thoughts like perhaps we collectively deserve all that is coming to us?

              At what point do New Zealanders collectively take responsibility for voting in a party who gives tax breaks to the wealthy and raises gst and petrol taxes? Who said very clearly they will sell the family silver to their mates, and will bash benes to within an inch of their life (give or take a foot or two).

              How thick are we?

              Msm may be promoting monied interests, yet when do we take responsibility for our own awareness of these matters?

              Any insight on this point would be greatly appreciated because I’m really at a loss as to the amount of people who proudly state “I’m not political” and leave the rest of us with a heap of status quo bullshit for their disengagement.

              I know “disenfranchised” is one word that will come up, however, when will people wake up and start supporting positive actions, rather than sitting back giving in to despair and supporting those that are making things worse.

              “Fish lining up at the take-away shop asking to be filleted in my opinion” ~ Bad12
              I’ll say.

              • Colonial Viper

                Good question. A majority of people would only ever seriously consider voting for Labour or for National.

                Picking between the looks of these choices as they stand today, I understand why people would decide to stay at home on the Saturday to have another beer in front of their Sky TV.

                • Yes, sadly I am too!

                  Is this where some of the frustration with Labour is coming? From having read some of the other posts, it appears it is up to the members voluntarily working at election-time to inform unmotivated voters that if you sit at home, you are basically calling for the status quo to continue; that you cannot make no effect on the outcome.

                  If Labour is giving up on lower socio-economic concerns, I guess they won’t be encouraging such a message. Greens are perhaps going for more middle-class popularity. And Mana only picks up the non-threatened-by-Maori-issues-white-votes. They can also be “taken out” easily.

                  I thought there was a good range to vote for on the left in the last election, yet increasingly I am seeing a hole where perhaps there is a need for another party. ??

                  You cannot “not vote” without supporting the status-quo.
                  This is the message that needs to be sent out most clearly.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Best thing to do is for Labour Members to take their party back from an entrenched, self promoting, inward looking, beltway focussed, careerist elite. Not proving that easy though, so far.

                    The second choice would be to work with the Greens or with Mana, to build either (or both) up. The weak third choice is to start yet another party on the Left.

                    The chances of success doing that are very low, even if you started with a decent initial organising budget, and the probability of the whole thing not getting traction or imploding is high.

                    • There is a real snag here, with regard to this so-called centrist swing voter.

                      I am receptive to the view that the left might need to accommodate this voter, due to the numbers of them (receptive meaning open to it, yet not decided whether this is a fact or not),

                      yet it definitely seems to me that one of the left parties require to be catering to the (what I suspect as) hordes of people who can’t be arsed to vote “because the two main parties are so similar /it doesn’t make a difference who you vote for”. I thought Mana fitted this bill, however, am now starting to suspect that some of us are too frightened of/bigoted about Maori issues and thus would never consider this party a possibility.

                      I can see I’m starting to head back to my first point. Perhaps we collectively deserve whats coming to us. :(

                      Perhaps the real dialogue that Labour members need to have is over this issue about appealing to the centrist voters and the clash that creates with the non-voters and how is this conundrum going to be addressed because it requires addressing for if it isn’t there is increasingly appearing a high danger that Nat will get in again.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      There aren’t actually that many middle class centrist swing voters, by number. Many of that “middle class” (and face it, we’re talking household incomes of over $75K here) will already always vote Tory, or Labour. But they will consistently vote, which biases up their sway in the end of night election results.

                      They key is the 50% of adults at the bottom of the socioeconomic heap. Those who earn $30K or less p.a.

                      Many do not vote, and they are being ignored by most parties right now, apart from a push by some to increase the minimum wage.

                  • Olwyn

                    What I have tried to say earlier, but said badly (do not write comments before morning coffee), is that when you have 74 per cent of people who think that beneficiaries are facing discrimination then Labour has no excuse for beneficiary bashing. This is what 74% THINK is happening, not what they agree is a good thing to see happen. What better platform can you have for saying “This is wrong! this needs to stop!” It is both vacuous and counter productive to say “We have to get tough on benefits if we are to appeal to middle New Zealand” when such a high percentage actually see beneficiaries as being badly picked on already.

                    Labour. Stop listening to Josie. Stop listening to Matthew. Just look. The tide is turning and you are in danger of finding yourselves on the wrong side of it.

                    • @ Olwyn
                      Yeah, thats a good point!

                      What needs to happen is research on people’s opinions that goes a bit deeper than this one. I see a conflict. It may be that people are aware of the mistreatment of those out of work; yet why the f* did they vote for a party that had a platform of bene bashing (and selling the family silver)…actually if anything, this paradox serves as (perhaps “soft”) proof that large numbers of people are simply not voting for policies
                      …anyway I’m interrupting myself, all this research says is that people see the prejudice, which seems promising, however there is nothing in this research that indicates that people care about this mistreatment, merely that they are acknowledging it.

                    • Olwyn

                      @ Blue Leopard: it still gives you a platform for challenging the mistreatment, which was not explicit before. And people voted for the National government of the previous three years, not the one they actually got. Furthermore, Labour released a whole lot of policy at once in a very short campaign. This meant that it was not well-established enough in people’s minds to attract their vote.

                      I suspect that a lot of the ructions that have followed are due to that campaign. Those who want to pull right will be saying that the policy was too left wing for the general population. Those who disagree will say that it was too little too late, delivered in a rush by a man with a rogernomic history, and hence failed to convince. I am in the latter camp.

    • Colonial Weka 7.2

      Pete, there are reasons that beneficiaries aren’t organising politically. One is that many don’t have the resources (not just money). Look at how much the beneficiary advocacy organisations struggle. You think there is enough resource in the pool to organise politically on top of that?

      Another reason is that any beneficiary that sticks their head above the parapet becomes a potential target. Remember Bennet and the two women on the DPB? They risk the stress of adverse public attention. They also risk their benefits. Many of the beneficiaries that do the best on welfare do so by keeping themselves below the radar within the office that manages their benefit.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1

        +1

        I personally think that beneficiaries not having enough resources to engage with society is done on purpose as then the people at the top would have to pay attention to them. It is a state that we need to change and we need to do it fast.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    They have shot up under National, not because the country suddenly got lazy, but because of National’s amateurish bungling on the economy.

    National are stuffing things up, no doubt about that, but the sudden increase in unemployment is due solely to capitalism and the simple fact that it just doesn’t work for the betterment of society as a whole. It’s chaotic, causes poverty and only ever benefits the people at the top of its pyramid which is what National and Act actually want.

  9. The range of benefit categories discriminates as well, i am in favour of a universal
    payment then add in extra costs for housing and health needs, the Greens have
    this type of policy on their website.
    The Labour party website gives no policies at all, only links to mp’s having opinions,
    that’s the stark point of difference.
    Bennett knew the populist ‘kick the bene’ speak was a winner,when the policy was
    announced at the national party conference where there was stamping of feet,loud
    cheers,clapping etc,Labour have a ‘secret’ agenda of the same,the contents though
    will only be announced when and if the Shearer team win the election.
    Bene’ bashing is a passtime game of all politicians,’never has so few lorded it
    over so many’ a look in the mirror by our politicians and they would see they are also
    ‘beneficiaries’ of the tax payers,but on a grander scale and with more rights.
    All politicians should hang their heads in shame for the Human Rights Commission
    initiated research results, a sad day indeed, NZ has hit rock bottom.

  10. Green machine UpandComer 10

    It’s hilarious reading these posts.

    You speak of a lack of ‘attention’ paid to beneficiaries. This perception of ‘discrimination’ is actually a direct corollary of the ‘attention’ being paid to beneficiaries. The problem under Labour is that no one ever did pay any attention to anything other then their votes. If any of you actually ever looked at anything National did in social welfare, you would see that Labour wishes they’d thought of a quarter of it, because then they would be trumpeting themselves as the benevolent carers.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      I know it’s Waitangi Day but it’s still early to be on the turps mate.

      • bad12 10.1.1

        He does tho have a point, i always thought that it was the Muldoon Government which added income tax to welfare benefits, but was assured by another commenter that income tax was added to welfare benefits in 1986,

        The Clark Government when giving a reason for shutting beneficiary dependent families out of the Working for Families tax credit scheme gave a perfect National Party line in it’s explanation,

        ” Leaving beneficiary dependent families out of Working for Families would encourage them to get a job” unquote Helen Clark PM…

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          3 decades of decline, sometimes a bit slower, sometimes a bit faster, all leading us to this point.

          • bad12 10.1.1.1.1

            Yes true, but in that 3 decades it is the beneficiaries that have been the first to pay the price of that decline,

            Second Cab off the rank to coin a phrase from Helen Clark are those house-holds who earn $40,000 or less and are the last to be hired and the first to be fired, spending often as not as much time receiving a benefit as they do receiving a wage,

            Being ‘protected’ by Government’s both Labour and National from the effects of this decline are those with house-hold incomes over $$40,000, those the Neo-lib ideology ‘picked’ as the ‘winners’

            *Tax cuts,
            *Interest free student loans,
            *Working for Families,
            *Tax cuts again,
            *Asset sales,

            All Large Money embellishments of the house-hold incomes of the middle class whilst those on the lower wages and beneficiaries take REAL and ongoing income cuts,

            This of course is why Labour is at present failing to gain traction from the voters, the lower income groups having received very little of such largesse and any that they have received having been chiseled off of them via the likes of the GST rise to 15% and so they wont vote a Labour Government in,

            The middle class having been fattened by the previous ‘protection racket’ being administered by both National and Labour Government’s are showing little interest in boosting the Labour vote at the moment because they see ahead of them at least 3 more years of asset sales which they will gladly indulge in even while decrying such sales acting all the while as ‘ticket clippers’ as those assets eventually pass out of NZ hands into the clutches of the multi-Nationals,

            In my view Labour will be largely snubbed by that small section of middle class vote it panders to and hankers after until such time as the Slippery lead National Government has run out of financial inducements to offer those same voters,

            Labour tho have simply brought such a situation down upon it’s own head by forgetting one of it’s basic tenets ”each to His or Her needs”, which to me simply means that those in the most need receive from the State the greatest protection,

            Instead from Labour as from National, those with the greatest need have received at best lip service and at other times from both political organizations the heel of the boot on the back of their necks…

        • blue leopard 10.1.1.2

          @Green Machine UpandComer,

          There is a distinct difference for the worst when National is in power.
          It does make a difference when you are on welfare who is in power.
          The whole attitude and way you are treated is less humane when National is in power.

          Labour hasn’t been great at really coming up with things to get long-term beneficiaries out of the rut they are in. National, does come across as more motivated to shift this statistic, yet how they are doing it is simply applying pressure to people to find work that simply isn’t there, making it easier to boot people off a benefit and harder to get on one. If the stats move it will be due to suicide and people preferring to live in additional poverty (check those living under bridges stats; this is where these stats will have shifted to)

          I don’t think Labour would really envy these policies (simply the votes that Nat got from saying they would do them). I think you, Green Machine UpandComer, need to supply some links or logic to indicate proof that “Labour wishes they’d thought of a quarter of it”.

          There is simply no “benevolent caring” going on with National and therefore, I don’t see how Labour could be envious of something that is entirely non-existent.

          • blue leopard 10.1.1.2.1

            Correction: Under bridges should have been “under bridges”, and more appropriate to say “living in garages”, because I forgot, now that we have the freedom camping laws, people literally living under bridges will be people heading for prison (…and now I begin to understand the reason for more prisons). …So yeah, another stat to check is inmate numbers in prisons.

  11. Thanks for this post Anthony Robins, it seems a bit of an watershed to me; that people are recognizing the mistreatment going on with regard to those out of a job. We still appear to have long way to go before people are treating one another with humanity, yet the awareness that this research indicates is out there seems very promising.

  12. just saying 12

    http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/the-messiah-will-come-when-they-are-no-longer-necessary/

    A worthwhile read on Pagani’s latest by Danyl at the Dimpost. Pagani has replied in the comments thread in her usual….um… manner, and her “arguments”, were, unsurprisingly, swiftly blown out of the water. Unfortunately experience shows that won’t stop her from banging on as if she’d never heard the counterarguments, scattershot style across the various outlets that give oxygen to her populist bullying.

    What riles me most about Josie Pagani is her dishonesty. When she was running spin at the time the roof-painter issue hit the fan, she told a different story about what Shearer said (none of them what he actually said)) every time she talked about it in various fora – presumably to make the waters as muddy as possible. Of course she may just have the memory of a fruit fly.

    • bad12 12.1

      Another s**tload of dishonesty from the mouthpiece of the protection racket being run by rump-neo-libs on behalf of the bloated and pandered to middle class,

      When will any of them just up and admit the obvious, after the 1970′s New Zealand ceased to have an economy that provided employment for all those who can work,

      It’s pretty f**king simple, there is nothing earth shattering about that, which should be followed by a further statement of honesty,

      We know that the NZ economy for the past 40 years has lost the ability to employ everybody, it is therefor useless to keep chasing the unemployed around with a whip looking for work that in most cases for them does not exist,

      We as a country need to have a deep conversation about either sharing the work that there is in the economy more equitably or discuss how best to ensure a stable and affordable lifestyle for those who we cannot find employment for,

      We of course wont hear that from Pagani nor Shearer as they are locked into playing the blame gain and devising ‘punishments’ for those they point the finger at…

      • Macro 12.1.1

        We also have to stop exporting jobs overseas, which is what has brought us to this sorry state of affairs. As you correctly identify – the rot stated in the late 70′s and was exacerbated by Douglas in the mid 80′s with the abandonment of import controls and tarriffs, and made worse by the signing of free trade deals (for the sole benefit of dairy farmers) by successive govts including the Clark govt. Yes we might have cheaper imports – but it is at the expense of our manufacturing base, and that ultimately means at the expense of people. What NZ has to decide as a society is this :

        What is more important – cheap wine bottles (yes they are now manufactured in China) or people?

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1

          Cheaper imported goods only help you if your incomes aren’t collapsing faster than the price drops on cheap imported shit. Importing deflation from China eventually causes deflation in local incomes and local living standards.

          Cheaper imports do help you if you happen to be in a privileged position in society still receiving a lot of income, earned or unearned.

          Say if your income isn’t dependent on the manufacturing and industrial sector as it slowly turns into a basket case, but instead from finance, banking, property speculation, importing and the like.

          And by keeping the dollar nice and high our manufacturers keep dying yes, but again if you are in that privileged class with a strong income from other sectors…it helps you buy luxury imported goods more cheaply and to take cheaper overseas holidays.

          See how this shit works.

          • bad12 12.1.1.1.1

            That sounds like a protection racket for the middle class, unfortunately i think with the current Labour line-up we have as much show of re-gaining tarriff protections (the definition of the level playing field) as we have of getting the likes of the Labour Party Leader to give the nation an honest speech on the fact that there is not enough work in the economy for everyone,

            Voiced as a % of expectation that starts with .0% and doesn’t move an inch…

            • Macro 12.1.1.1.1.1

              it was the first Labour govt that introduced Tarriffs and import quotas to bring NZ out of the Depression in the 30′s

            • Macro 12.1.1.1.1.2

              What we need is a protection racket for the lower classes! The most effective racket is import restrictions. People may not like it at first because the prices for imported goods will rise – but that will make it more cost effective to employ people in NZ.
              We used to manufacture every car tyre used in NZ right here. They were at that time a superior product and we even exported the surplus and odd sizes. By allowing cheap imports into the country selling not much less than the NZ product – the industry which employed over a 1000 workers collapsed in the 80′s.

              • just saying

                People may not like it at first because the prices for imported goods will rise –…

                Yeah true. But there are compensations. It will be good to have undies and socks that don’t disintegrate in a single season.

              • bad12

                While i agree with what you are proposing 100%, i think you will find that World Trade rules will make it virtually impossible for us as a nation to re-instate much of the previous system of tariffs without being severely spanked by the World Trade Organization….

        • blue leopard 12.1.1.2

          @ Macro
          …is the correct answer cheap wine bottles cos they cost less than people?
          People are annoyingly expensive as far as I can make out.

          • Macro 12.1.1.2.1

            The point b l is that by allowing free access to cheap goods, we as a society shoot ourselves in the foot. Up until a few years ago wine bottles for NZ wine were designed and manufactured in NZ. Then someone discovered that a little firm in China could do it more cheaply – manufacture them that is – so the NZ operation is closed down and the people who worked there become beneficaries – now what we need to ask ourselves – is this a smart way of running our country? As you say people are expensive – shouldn’t we all be paying just a few cents more for our wine and not externalising the cost of paying people to the taxpayer?

            • blue leopard 12.1.1.2.1.1

              @ Macro,
              Yes, I was being facetious. If you read my comment in that light, you’ll see that I am basically making the same point as you with irony.

              Your comment leads me to what I suspect is the crux of the matter; that we need to get our values sorted. Self interest/preservation will get us buying the cheapest products until we realize that this is not in our collective self interest. We have been sold a sucker with this whole self-interest-makes-the-world-go-around belief. We need to have a shift in our thinking toward something more realistic.

          • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.2.2

            that’s exactly what most corporates think, so they source things like bottles from countries like China where people are cheaper. A lot cheaper. $10 for a days work cheaper. Oh, that’s a 12 hour day btw.

            And the money the corporates save by not paying NZers but by paying crappy foreign suppliers…goes straight to the profit of owner-shareholders.

            Great system eh.

            Get rich, by eliminating the jobs of your neighbours, and by forcing down the wages of the remaining workers. Maybe we can find a political party who can start explaining some of the ABCs to the wider public.

            edit – Macro is right. Our society shoots itself in the foot…but as I explained, a certain small group of people in our society profits from the elimination of NZ jobs.

            • Macro 12.1.1.2.2.1

              NZ has the most to loose from Free Trade deals – almost all hatched up to try to sell more butter. Every time we sign another FT deal we open up our country to cheaper imports and further job losses overseas. We look across the ditch and envy Australia, where once we were the equivalent economy, we began to loose parity in the ’80s after Douglas abandoned quotas etc. Australia did not. They maintain a productive car industry in the face of massive change in the industry world wide. They have never, apart from the Howard years, been as willing to export jobs for cheap imports, and their economy is the better for it. While it may be theorised that the strength of the Aussie economy is based upon its mineral wealth – that is not all there is to it. It has maintained a strong manufacturing base whereas in NZ we have essentially lost ours. The way forward from a 3rd world economy is through manufacturing – eg the lack of progress in African countries, denied by world bank and imf restrictions.

              • Colonial Viper

                It has maintained a strong manufacturing base whereas in NZ we have essentially lost ours. The way forward from a 3rd world economy is through manufacturing

                This has to be considered very carefully. It’s important to note that “manufacturing and exporting the way to wealth” was a very successful strategy for countries between 1950 and 1990.

                The strategy may no longer hold, or may not hold in the same way in the current circumstances.

                For instance, Japan created a wealthy country after WWII based on manufacture and export. But they are now having their lunch eaten by the South Koreans and the Chinese.

                Getting ready for an energy depleted, re-localised future is also going to have to be a very important part of the manufacturing strategy.

                So good old fashioned import substitution is going to have a part to play.

                • Macro

                  And in the case of South Korea the “military dictatorship” chose which industries to “promote”.
                  see “23 things they don’t tell you about Capitalism”

                  Chapter 2

                  Can governments spot ‘winning’ business areas better than the market?

                  At the national level, Chang demonstrates that, had the neo-liberal principle of minimal government interference in a free-market system been followed to the letter, the production areas in which some countries now specialise and the subsequent economic prosperity from which they have benefitted might never have existed. He cites examples from Korea, where the LG Group electronics company was prevented from entering the textile industry as it had preferred, and was instead steered towards the electric cable market by the government, a direction that enabled it to attain its current status. Even in a free-market-oriented country like the US, it is argued that the government’s support for Research and Development intensive industries has led to enviable expertise in IT, semi-conductors, and aircraft. This indicates the significance of strong state industrial policy and goes against the notion that it is only better-informed market participants that can pick successful business areas.”

                  http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsereviewofbooks/2012/04/01/book-review-23-things-they-dont-tell-you-about-capitalism-by-ha-joon-chang/

  13. outofworkkiwi 13

    More Bene bashing from the U$K

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW_xusvXnfE&list=UUGThM-ZZBba1Zl9rU-XeR-A&index=1

    The Artistic TaxiDriver

  14. just saying 14

    Josie Pagani appears to be backtracking in the discussion thread at the Dimpost:

    My general point was not to critique NZ Labour’s justice policy (or welfare or tax), but to argue that if a left party’s policy is out of step with public opinion, our first response should not be ‘What’s wrong with the voters?’ but ‘Are we being true to our values?’ In some cases the answer will be ‘yes’ and we must stand up to prevailing public views (I use the extreme example of slavery in the US). In other cases, it is right to ask ourselves if we are acting on principle or on blind dogma. Are we serving the public, or vested interests? I want the Left to reclaim the moral highground in areas that we avoid talking about – welfare, crime and tax. Because we’ve got a better story to tell than the right. That will only happen when people on the left who want to explore these issues, and take public views seriously, don’t get silenced or excommunicated. That’s why Manuel Valls is a politician to watch.

    We can never know, but I expect any plan to explicity push these policies has been shelved because of the human rights commission finding about discrimination against beneficiaries. Not the right time just now, maybe

    • aerobubble 14.1

      I thought the point was made, that for Ford to make lots of cars he needed wages of the population to rise to be able to buy them. As IT continues to overpower and make unemployed yet more people globally, the debate is moving away from those unemployed to those under-employed who need buying power to purchase the new services of broadband, etc. Now the fact that Labour can’t, won’t, or are just incapable of making the case for social redistribution suggests they are still the neo-liberal party of Roger Dougless.

  15. aerobubble 15

    Those made unemployed have savings that are being taxed, so I was impressed once again by the lack of ethics that goes with government accounting that has estimated the cost of benefits.
    How much benefit does someone get if they also pay a thousand dollars in tax? where in order to maintain a car they fore go housing maintenance?

    And then the question about someone who retires, get the pension for the next fifty years?
    Unlike someone on a benefit who can get better, who can find a niche that accepts their
    disability, who do go back into the workforce? Or who die and so would not be any
    future cost on the welfare system?

    The market failure global is not the problem of those on welfare, the jobs crises, like
    the debt and climate crisises, didn’t just show up today they have been in the wind
    for decades, and its just very poor unethical and immoral government that would
    be running a bennie bashing parade when its clear the National government just
    hasn’t the brains or ability to deal with anything.

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