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Poverty denial – NZ Herald editorial

Written By: - Date published: 8:44 am, April 8th, 2014 - 202 comments
Categories: benefits, child welfare, class war, jobs, paula bennett, poverty, same old national, spin - Tags:

Today’s New Zealand editorial not only claims that too many beneficiaries are travelling overseas, and that the rules allowing such trips should be tightened, but that there really isn’t very much poverty in NZ.  Paula Bennett’s benefit changes have made life increasingly hard for beneficiaries.  Today’s anonymous NZ Herald editorial wants to make life even harder for them.

paula bennett inequality

The title of the editorial is, “Editorial: Travel is not a right for those taking welfare”.   it gets all indignant about the costs to taxpayers:

It is, though, “staggering”, as Paula Bennett says, that as many as 21,000 have had a trip since July, when the rules became more stringent. That is just the number who did not tell Work and Income they were going and consequently had their benefit cut. Of those, nearly 5000 have had their benefits cancelled once eight weeks had elapsed since their departure and they had not re-established contact with Work and Income. It begs the question, what would have happened before last July?

Payments totalling $10.5 million have been saved since July by suspending the benefits of those who left with no word.

[…]

Only 1750 of those caught by the new rules have made more than one trip abroad since July, most of them twice and 191 have travelled outside the country three times. The circumstances and travel habits of those few warrant closer scrutiny. For the rest, the suspension of their benefit has probably come as a surprise and it will be a reminder that their income carries an obligation not unlike the wages of employment, where recipients cannot expect to be paid if they are absent without leave.

Overseas travel has come within the means of most people today and it is a principle of social welfare that nobody should be excluded from participation in the ordinary living standards around them. Modern home entertainments and labour-saving appliances are rightly considered essentials for this reason. But an overseas trip is outside the bounds of social participation. The public is not obliged to pay for it. The fact that so many beneficiaries get to go overseas at times is a credit to their families and their private support.

And then comes the kicker in the final line:

It may explain why there is more poverty in statistics than is visible in real life.

That last line makes me wonder where the author lives, and/or spends most of their time – certainly not in West Auckland.  The editorial argument is that, because some beneficiaries have relatives that help them out on occasions, and/or give them an occasional gift, they really don’t experience poverty.

This line is a very skewed way of reporting the data:

nearly 5000 have had their benefits cancelled once eight weeks had elapsed since their departure and they had not re-established contact with Work and Income.

It refers to people who largely failed to notify WINZ that they were back in NZ.

In the course of the editorial, the arguments made by Sue Moroney and selectively quoted and then dismissed:

Labour spokeswoman Sue Moroney said it was wrong to imagine a benefit alone allowed anyone to travel overseas. Often the cost was met by family members or was a gift. She is right, but she and others who talk about poverty in this country ought to remind themselves of this more often.

Alistair Russell of Auckland Action Against Poverty explains what is wrong with Bennett’s latest attack on beneficiaries:

“Ms Bennett is cynically trying to persuade New Zealand that beneficiaries live a life of luxury, are able to pack their Louis Vuitton luggage and swan off on overseas holidays.”

Mr Russell asks, “How many people have left New Zealand having abandoned all hope of getting a decent job? How many have left because of their experience of on-going Work and Income harassment?”

“Auckland Action Against Poverty knows the reality Ms Bennett continues to deny. Life on a benefit is brutally hard. Children go hungry. Choices are made about what bill goes unpaid. Go into Work and Income and leave your dignity at the door. This is the real world and not the fantasy that Ms Bennett wants us to buy into.”

“Today I have spoken with a superannuitant who went overseas. Her daughter paid for the trip. She traveled to see a grandchild. She notified Work and Income of her travel plans. She obeyed all the rules and still had her benefit stopped.”

“This government needs to focus on policies which address poverty. And stop cheap publicity stunts trying to vilify beneficiaries. We need meaningful job creation. We need an end to the Work and Income culture of harassment.”

The NZ Herald editorial fails to account for the real damage that is being done to the lives of too many Kiwis: it is the drivers of the inequality gap is unacceptably large.  We have a society that celebrates inherited privilege, and the remnants of British Empire, while demanding a life of struggle for the least well off.

From Michele A’Court on Twitter:

Michele A'Court flying beneficiaries twitter

202 comments on “Poverty denial – NZ Herald editorial”

  1. Ant 1

    It’s pretty draconian, a relative had this happen on a ticket for a wedding purchased before she was made redundant.

    • David 1.1

      If you want a cheer up, Ant and others, go to the Herald page and read the 174 and counting comments, running 5 to 1 against the Herald and Paula.

      People are outraged and articulate. Herald Editorial staff are perhaps spooked: they seem to have removed the article from the Opinion section altogether, now. Newstalk ZB, it aint!

    • Grace Miller 1.2

      And I urge your friend, and everyone who has been sanctioned, to appeal the decision. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

      If every person appealed, they would certainly have to sit up and take note. I was asked by a WINZ officer ‘what steps I was taking to manage my money’ and what measures I had in place to help cope when I was asking for a loan for my son’s college uniform.

      ‘I don’t eat during the day. Haven’t eaten during the day for 11 years now.’ was my reply. She was stunned, and wouldn’t write it down. I forced her to write it down. It’s not ideal, but hey, my son has guitar lessons, plays football for the school, has a bow and arrows and has joined the archery club at college, and we manage.

      I have never been asked again what steps I take, whenever I have to do the Walk of Shame. ;)

  2. It may explain why there is more poverty in statistics than is visible in real life.

    The editorial argument is that, because some beneficiaries have relatives that help them out on occasions, and/or give them an occasional gift, they really don’t experience poverty.

    I don’t see that argument in the editorial.

    We have a poverty statistic, various numbers have been quoted but I understand it to be a measure of the number of people living on less than 60% of the media wage (from memory). That’s not a lot to live on – for many people it’s inadequate.

    But some of the people included in that statistic have low costs of living, and others have family and other assistance that effectively supplements their income and their quality of life.

    The editorial used odd wording but there will certainly be some people included in the statistic who are not visibly living in poverty.

    Has there been any attempt at measuring how many people live in real hardship rather than statistical hardship? That information should be important in determining the degree of the problem and how it can be addressed.

    • karol 2.1

      The actual report/s deal with that. I’ve looked at them before – will have to find them again.

      Basically, the stats are a bit of a rough guide.

      But the report/s say that not all people under the statistical poverty line experience “hardship” and some above it do experience hardship”. People are further classified as living in “hardship”…. erm, and some other categories. They detail the kinds of experiences that count as … Maybe “severe” and “moderate” hardship”…. will go check.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        Petty George needs more information before he can determine whether further study is required.

      • karol 2.1.2

        This “Technical Report on Child Poverty- pdf refers to the various measures p 23:

        In recognition of this fact, in its report on Solutions to Child Poverty, the EAG [3]
        recommended that the Government monitor at least five different poverty measures:
        1. A Fixed-Line Income Poverty Measure
        2. A Moving-Line Income Poverty Measure
        3. A Material Deprivation Measure
        4. A Severe Poverty Measure
        5. A Measure of Poverty Persistence

        p38 on persistence and severity of poverty – persistent poverty is more likely to have a long term impact on a child’s life. Some, eg students, can be below the poverty line at certain times of their life, but have the means to improve their situation.

        p14:
        some descriptors of material hardship and persistent poverty:

        Material hardship:

        When broken down by individual item, those children experiencing material hardship had much higher exposures to household economising behaviours such as having to wear worn out shoes or clothing, sharing a bed, cutting back on fresh fruit and vegetables and postponing doctor’s visits because of cost.
        […]
        As a group, children experiencing material hardship were exposed to a range of economising behaviours including cutting back on fresh fruit, vegetables and meat, not replacing worn out clothes, not having at least two pairs of shoes in good repair, having to put up with feeling cold, and postponing doctor’s visits because of cost.

        Now while it’s correct to say the fixed line statistics aren’t a true indicator of which people are in poverty – the NZ Herald editorial just refers to “poverty statistics” generally. And generally in MSM reports they focus on that fixed line – just simpler. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t as much poverty as the statistics indicate – depends on which statistics looked at, and how they relate to things like “material hardship” and “persistence of poverty”.

        • felix 2.1.2.1

          “Some, eg students, can be below the poverty line at certain times of their life, but have the means to improve their situation.”

          I have been wondering lately if this is part of the reason that many on the right don’t care about poverty; that they remember being at university and eating noodles for a couple of years and only drinking the cheap booze and they imagine that’s what poverty means.

          What they miss is that they did all that for a reason, with a goal in sight, and knew the condition was temporary and self-imposed.

          Perhaps this translates in the reptilian brain as implying that all poverty is temporary and self-imposed and ends with a degree.

          I don’t think they understand the difference between this and being born in hardship, being raised without proper nutrition, having no indication that any of it is ever likely to change, with those messages constantly reinforced by everyone and everything around you, every minute, every hour, every day of your life.

          Poverty isn’t just a shortage of money. It’s a shortage of a tangible hope for a better life.

          • karol 2.1.2.1.1

            Well said, felix.

            Also worth a read is this guest post on The Daily Blog, by Simon Buckingham – on the real experiences of poverty:

            A few days ago, Paula Bennett announced that she was stomping on beneficiaries who go abroad. Ironically, on that day, not knowing of this, I was asked if I would go abroad for a client to conduct some negotiations. In return, I could be offered a job at last! I will probably have to decline, as to do otherwise means that I may well end up without any means of support if I do not succeed, leading to my being homeless again.

            My name is Simon, and I am a beneficiary. I am also a Lawyer. I have a disability as well. I believe that I am New Zealand’s first diagnosed Autistic Spectrum lawyer. The problem is, who wants to employ an Autistic Lawyer? So far, no-one. As such, I am one of the 60% of people with disabilities who is unemployed, despite two degrees. Funnily enough, 60% is greater than the entire unemployment stats for NZ put out by National. Further proof of statistics massaging by the people who brought you Oravida!
            […]
            I did not come to New Zealand to be a beneficiary. I am hungry to work, and am working for no actual wage. I represent people who otherwise do not have access to justice. The single mum, taken advantage of at a party, and who now has to pay $200 for a Lawyer’s letter to say why she cannot name the father, so her benefit is not cut by $20 a week. She has to pay $200 or more for a letter with as much legal standing as telling the same story to a WINZ Case Manager. The person who has had ACC cut their entitlement because ACC are playing a numbers game, whist apparently having $5 billion in assets, apparently earned by fleecing people of their statutory entitlements. The minimum wage worker fired as they have a sick child, but cannot afford a lawyer. This is what I do, whilst hungry, because someone has to do something.

            • Tracey 2.1.2.1.1.1

              my earnings have plummetted. I am earning about 200 bucks a week.

              I have gone for a couple of non skilled jobs and been told I am over qualified.

              I am lucky to have a partner in fulltime work. but with no redundancy clause. we are a redundancy letter away from do_do.

              we would sell our home which has equity.

              I worry for those who have no such fallback positions.

              I worry about tge misplaced smugness and bene bashing of those only a redundancy letter away from trouble. 8 months tax revenue is down a billion.

              business confidence is high but no question put to business of when they expect to give pay rises and to whom.

          • freedom 2.1.2.1.2

            Well said felix. Wholeheartedly agree.

            I have witnessed the noodle scenario too many times. Often exposed at bbq’s and the like, calling people on it at the time is to be encouraged but can be a very difficult conversation, not always successful. Collateral damage is expected in all wars right? It is especially tough when that damage is a friendship though the hard bastard in me says what is the point of a friend who thinks poverty is the fault of the poor?

            -no shocker that I don’t get invited to many bbq’s :)

          • Tracey 2.1.2.1.3

            today someone in the media will ask ms bennett to give internal affairs the ok to tell us if ms bennett too any overseas holidays while on the dpb and she will volunteer whether she took any within nz.

          • greywarbler 2.1.2.1.4

            felix +100

            Poverty isn’t just a shortage of money. It’s a shortage of a tangible hope for a better life.

    • Have you ever argued against the right wing machine grinding people into suffering pete?

      The Herald are saying that there is more poverty in the statistics than visible in real life – what don’t you get about that? Can you attempt to measure that attitude.

      It is stunt politics by stunted people with stunted attitudes to other people. Poverty is real, debilitating and horrible.

      • Pete George 2.2.1

        Poverty is real, debilitating and horrible.

        I agree. Most people agree. John Key said agreed with similar on Campbell Live last night.

        It is stunt politics by stunted people with stunted attitudes to other people.

        There’s a lot of stunt politics involved. Including overstating problems and overstating numbers.

        If numbers are inflated they are more easily ignored, and they also make the problem too big to deal with.

        Rather than saying there are 500,000 million people in poverty and “something must be done!” aren’t we better identifying the 50,000 in greatest need and addressing their problems. It’s easier to justify the cost and it targets the real problems rather than spreading much smaller amounts of money over many more people, many of whom are in nowhere near the same degree of poverty if in real poverty at all.

        The Clark government targeted for a reason. The Key government has continued that targeting and added some more targeting for a reason. It’s do-able.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1.1

          But not by you. You’d rather deny the stats.

          What an asshole.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.2

          John Key said agreed with similar on Campbell Live last night.

          While putting in place policies that increase that poverty and rewarding the already rich with the money “saved”.

        • weka 2.2.1.3

          “Rather than saying there are 500,000 million people in poverty and “something must be done!” aren’t we better identifying the 50,000 in greatest need and addressing their problems.”

          1. produce evidence anyone credible is overstating poverty in NZ to the degree of the hyperbole you just provided.
          2. the answer is no. We should be changing society so that everyone’s well being is attended to. We have the wealth to do that, just not the political will. People like you who equivocate make matters worse. We already have expertise in NZ on how to deal with poverty. If YOU don’t understand poverty then stand the fuck aside and let the people who do get on with effecting change.

          The NZ govt is restricting the ability to travel to another country based on class, and one of the leading newspapers in NZ is advocating futher restrictions on the basis that a class of people should have less rights than everyone else. You should be fucking outraged at that piece of fascism instead of bringing your namby-bamby, middle of the road, some people aren’t really poor bullshit here.

          • freedom 2.2.1.3.1

            “Rather than saying there are 500,000 million people in poverty and “something must be done!” aren’t we better identifying the 50,000 in greatest need and addressing their problems.”

            Meanwhile in reality land, in a country of under 5 million, we know we have over 200,000 kids living in poverty and that’s before we even start counting the adults.

          • Pete George 2.2.1.3.2

            We already have expertise in NZ on how to deal with poverty. If YOU don’t understand poverty then stand the fuck aside and let the people who do get on with effecting change.

            I’m not standing in your way. What are you doing about it? Or going to do about it if you know what to do.

            • McFlock 2.2.1.3.2.1

              Yes you are, when you argue that poverty in NZ is overstated, or go into one of your derails.

              But like many here I’ll vote for parties that hate poverty, rather than those that encourage it. You stood for a party that chooses to ignore poverty.

        • marty mars 2.2.1.4

          The numbers aren’t inflated and they are understated – you are a petty bureaucrat that would rather fiddle with the figures rather than face up to what you and your right wing mates have done. The gap is widening not just between the rich and poor but also between those who are honest about the desperation people are being forced into and those that want to pretend that everything is cool.

          • Pete George 2.2.1.4.1

            Name one MP who pretends that everything is cool. Back it up.

            • Tracey 2.2.1.4.1.1

              can i name mps who ACT like its cool by doing nothing?

            • marty mars 2.2.1.4.1.2

              Did i mention any MP’s numbnuts?

              Back it up? “It’s easier to justify the cost”, “identifying the 50,000 in greatest need”, “…also make the problem too big to deal with.”

              You are part of the ‘those that want to pretend that everything is cool’ mob pete, YOU. And take particular note of the part sentence above where i say ‘those that want to pretend…’ You say show me real poverty, show me people eating toilet paper for breakfast – and that is part of the problem – you are living in gross illusion surrounded by your comfort and TV and you have NO idea of the reality some are going through.

              • You have no idea of what I know about realities. I don’t believe I’ve ever pretended that “everything is cool”. Don’t make things up to fit your rant.

                Don’t abuse me because you guess I’m not doing what you want. If you know what needs to be done then do it yourself.

                • Typical of you – those that know ARE doing it – plus I never abused you unless you see yourself as the non-feeling testicles of a MP and I factchecked your quotes before adding them to my comment so no made up stuff there – see that is the difference between our comments – cool?

                • David H

                  @ Pete /Secret Squirrel George. I have sat here, since you were unbanned and decided to haunt us with your presence, and waded thru the Bullshit, and all the other ways you try to obfuscate any real argument on here into the trivial bullshit that you think is important. As the Editor for Fact check you are a Fucking Joke. You wouldn’t know how to check something from a neutral stance if your miserable life depended on it. And the site is now irreparably tainted by your presence. So I have only one thing and one thing only. And I apologise to all others that are offended and I will take a ban as well, but Peter fucking George please fuck off back to Whale Slime where your bullshit is appreciated!

                • Tracey

                  you believe there are children in povery but not as many as some claim?

                  You believe a small number of children are in poverty?

                  You believe that how many children are in poverty is more important than alleviating the poverty for those children suffering it (and their parents)?

        • Mark 2.2.1.5

          All you are missing is the smallest shread of humanity. Trying to put an arbitary limit on the number in poverty puts you to the right of ACT. You can’t manipulate the numbers. We have a long established figure of how we measure poverty. If you fall under that income band you are living in poverty. Just because the numbers have got so large and politically embarrassing is no excuse for turning your back on them. Shame on you.

          • Pete George 2.2.1.5.1

            “Trying to put an arbitary limit on the number in poverty…”

            I haven’t tried to do anything like that.

            “We have a long established figure of how we measure poverty.”

            I’m not aware of one. What is it? The Greens have been asking for an official measure, Russel Norman don’t seem to be aware of one:

            Dr Russel Norman: Without an official measure of child poverty—because the Minister has failed to provide one so far—how can she possibly know whether the policies she is promoting are working or not, without some measure to determine rates of child poverty?

            https://www.greens.org.nz/oralquestions/russel-norman-paula-bennett-measures-child-poverty-new-zealand

            “If you fall under that income band you are living in poverty.”

            Are you aware that if you use a statistical measure of poverty based on median income and everyone doubles their incomes you will still have the same number of people ‘in poverty’? The same if everyone’s income increases tenfold.

            I’m not turning my back on anyone. I prefer to target the worst first rather than apply broad blanket measures that are an efficient allocation of resources.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.3

      :roll:

      Petty George, on this topic as every other one: “Hand waving is the answer. What was the question?”

    • freedom 2.4

      Hi Pete

      Since you are such an expert on statistical poverty, here is a little challenge for you, feel free to get your apologist brigade to help you out:

      Imagine you are an adult over the age of 25 who lives alone and was recently made redundant. Your new benefit/income is $260 a week and you do not have a credit card (note: this is actually higher than many receive and for this example includes all accommodation supplements and the repaying of a special needs grant – which the majority of beneficiaries use at least once)

      Please draw up a workable weekly budget.

      • Pete George 2.4.1

        There’s nowhere near enough information to do that. There’s many important factors, such as :
        – did they get a redundancy payout, if so how much?
        – do they have any savings?
        – do they have outstanding debts?
        – do they own a house?
        – do they have a mortgage?
        – can they share a flat/house?
        – can they live with family?
        – do they have family support?
        – what are the chances of them finding another job and how soon?
        – where do they live?
        etc.

        $260 is obviously not much to live on medium term for many people. The theory is it’s to tide them over until they find another job, that’s often not easy especially if they’re over 55.

        How much do you think someone in that situation should get from a benefit and allowances?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.4.1.1

          :roll:

          Petty George has checked the facts and determined that further information is needed before we can say anything with any degree of certainty. He’s also not sure if sufficient research has been conducted into the nature of “facts” and “certainty”, and that this should probably take priority.

        • freedom 2.4.1.2

          forget your medium term how about living week to week?

          did they get a redundancy payout, if so how much? NO & n/a

          do they have any savings? NO

          do they have outstanding debts? yes to WINZ ( $65 outstanding from a $140 special needs grant for assisting in paying a power bill, being repaid at $5 a week)

          do they own a house? NO

          do they have a mortgage? NO

          can they share a flat/house? NO

          can they live with family? NO

          do they have family support? NO

          what are the chances of them finding another job and how soon? IRRELEVANT to budget except
          in that the person is required to be an ACTIVE jobseeker, so don’t forget to factor in stationary,
          postage, net access, phone, travel etc)

          where do they live? Let’s keep it simple and say they live in a bedsit, (as a single adult renting a
          house would just be greedy right?), and they have an incredibly cool landlord who only charges $160 a week

          next?

          • BM 2.4.1.2.1

            $100 dollars a week left over after rent is not to bad, especially when you don’t have to pay for phone and power.

            I remember having to survive on a lot less than that when I was on the dole.

            • felix 2.4.1.2.1.1

              Who said anything about getting free phone and power?

            • Tracey 2.4.1.2.1.2

              food plus cellphone or landline… petrol or public transport to get to job interviews and winz… contents insurance… health insurance or doctors bills…

              the people I know renting are 50/50 on power being included. none have phone paid for.

              what year were you on the dole? how old were you? where did you live? how long were you on it? how did you much did you steal from the tax payers

              • BM

                Lol, so many questions.

                Spent about a year on the dole about 20 years back and got a grand total of $113.00 per week to survive on.
                Thanks Ruth for being so generous.

                Rent was $70 per week, I also had phone and power and smoked as well.
                Big night was Thursday, all the benes would pitch in with $10 and then we’d go and buy as much piss as we could.

                Survived on lamb knuckles, pork luncheon sandwiches, chicken drumsticks or sometimes I’d just skip a dinner.
                I was lucky to have family living in the same city, I’d shoot over there every Sunday for a free meal.

                Can’t say it was that much fun, apart from Thursday, but you could survive,

                • Tracey

                  where did you live and how many in the flat. how old were you and why were you on the dole

                  • BM

                    Varied 1-2 ,Early 20’s, because I’d been a bad lad.

                    • Tracey

                      thanks bm. did you abuse the dole?

                    • BM

                      I tried to find work but due to circumstances, the opportunities were rather limited.

                    • McFlock

                      for well over 100,000 people today, the opportunities are also limited.

                    • Tracey

                      how often a week did you need to check in? how many jobs did you apply for within that year?

                    • BM

                      If I remember correctly you had to return a letter every 3months and I think I may have done some sort of rah rah course during that period.

                      Think I tried out for two jobs, there’s definitely a bit more effort required these days, that’s for sure.

                    • Tracey

                      so your views on beneficiaries appears based on how easy you had it and not wanting them to have it that easy despite loads of evidence to the contrary that it is bloody hard to get and retain a benefit..

                    • felix

                      Yep, in other words BM is full of shit and has no idea what life is like on a benefit today.

                    • BM

                      Full of shit is a bit harsh.

                      I’ve always known that it’s hard going for people on the unemployment benefit.

                      But I realize that the reason they make it tough to give the beneficiary the motivation to look for work or go back to school and get some skills that employers want.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      But I realize that the reason they make it tough to give the beneficiary the motivation to look for work or go back to school and get some skills that employers want.

                      Ah, the old To motivate the rich you have to give them more money while to motivate the poor you have to take money from them approach to economics.

                      Mental health: why we’re all sick under neoliberalism

                      Ignoring the fact that everyone has mental health, the label is allocated only to those who are struggling. So good mental health becomes invisible: its causes – which might be to do with emotional, social and material privilege – go uninterrogated. In 1901 Seebohm Rowntree showed poverty was not the fault of the poor. Neoliberal governments since then have all but eradicated that insight.

                      As inequality increases under late capitalist patriarchy, driving people into poverty, abusive relationships, or otherwise helpless conditions – free market ideology says we deserve it. Nobody who is trying hard enough should need state support.

                      The only surprise is that more of us aren’t sick.

                    • BM

                      Over complicating things a bit there.
                      It works like this

                      Person A goes on the dole for whatever reason
                      Person B then endlessly calls Person A a useless bludging slacker.
                      Person A gets a job, then abuse stops

                      Person B goes on the dole for whatever reason
                      Person A then endlessly calls Person B a useless bludging slacker.
                      Person B gets a job, then abuse stops.

                      The cycle continues, ad infinitum

                    • felix

                      There you go again, BM. The govt is making it harder for people on benefits to get an education.

                      Like I said, full of shit.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Over complicating things a bit there.

                      It’s not me that’s doing that, it’s just what happens when we follow stupid, overly simplistic policies such as this government implement and you support.

            • freedom 2.4.1.2.1.3

              You are seriously out of touch with the reality of today’s MSD services but it is a great example of the archaic cliches you use as thought processes. Try getting the benefit today without a phone BM! You have to have a very particular set of (rarely approved) circumstances to receive a benefit whilst not having a phone. WINZ will even help you to get one as it is deemed essential to your being an active jobseeker.

              The phone is crucial to today’s WINZ world. If you miss a call from WINZ it is an instant Obligation Failure and you can (and people do) lose 50% of your benefit. Unless you have a clear message on the phone identifying your first and last name.

              Without your first and last name clearly stated on a message service, WINZ are not obligated to leave a message. If someone else picks up the phone and you are not there, they are not legally allowed to leave a message with the person who picks up the phone and WINZ have to ring back ( good luck with getting that call).

              Oh, as they rang you and you don’t know about the meeting or seminar they called about and you unfortunately miss that meeting, then that is another Obligation Failure and you can lose your benefit for thirteen weeks.

              Just last week, for example, I made an honest mistake on the start-time of a seminar and lost half my benefit for the next week. It took six days to get an emergency appointment to explain this in person, as the call centre does not deal with Obligation Failures. It got resolved but it is standard procedure today. Penalty then assessment.

              One last thing, why do you think people on a benefit do not have to pay for power?

              (I suspect you are just being a sardonic moron having a dig at the assistance referred to above, which was for an unexpectedly high power bill in a month where the Jobseeker had to make more phone calls than usual thus destroying their meager pre-pay phone budget and the price of veges that month was also quite high etc etc. Being so perfect I suppose you have never had a high power bill in winter?)

              p.s. the budget figure given to Pete above is not mine, I only receive $224 a week.

          • Tracey 2.4.1.2.2

            he is researching

          • Pete George 2.4.1.2.3

            what are the chances of them finding another job and how soon? IRRELEVANT to budget

            It’s not irrelevant. If they think they should find a job again within three months they can put off spending on things like clothes and replacing household items while their budget is tight. If it’s more likely to be three years or indefinitely then they have to try and factor in those sorts of things – and should look at whether they can find somewhere cheaper to live.

            I presume there’s no car. Probably no insurance.

            How much for power? Anything for phone? Any other financial commitments? Medical? Anything else? To budget you need all the details.

            Apart from those unknowns you’ve left them with $95 per week. That’s not a lot but it would be enough for food and basic personal things.

            • Tracey 2.4.1.2.3.1

              that answer sir, was a total cop out. you appear exactly like the type of politicians you say need to change.

              what job do you do and what is the annual salary?

        • Tracey 2.4.1.3

          lol @ did they get a redundancy payout. since that no longer has to be in a contract most people have no redundancy clause in their contract. what part of nz do you live in pete and what is your occupation and annual income?

        • Foreign Waka 2.4.1.4

          Pete, you are missing the issues by what I read here. It is reasonable to ask these questions but you have to continue with the one: what part is preparing you for retirement? Because this is what the poverty trap means, forever on just enough that you are close to starvation but never enough to get ahead. The longer this is ongoing the worse the situation becomes. And yes, there are people who are stronger and survive and strive and there are many, I should say most really, who break and loose hope. This leads to the “I don’t care anymore” attitude that will not change until dignity is given back. It is one thing to talk about the issue in terms of accountancy and quite a different one when getting involved in to the human side. As I see it, humans should by now have developed to a different level but by the looks of it we regress into less than an animal state. Culturally this means decline and no matter how much money anybody has it will be everybody who will be affected by this. History repeat itself…

    • Tom Gould 2.5

      The Auckland national Party Newsletter (APN), AKA the Herald, did not even bother to ask how many “beneficiaries” travelled overseas in the previous nine months, or the nine months before that, because that would have ruined their Paula’s shock horror line. I suspect the numbers are fairly static. But the opportunity to repeat the’ fact’ that all those on the benefit are lazy and indolent and lay about on the couch watching Sky TV on their 50 inch plasma screens, is endless. Actually, we haven’t had a good old Tory beat up on the ‘benes’ for a wee while? Their polling must be softening.

    • Mary 2.6

      Pete, what you’re in fact delving into, whether you know it or not, are issues such as the difference between income testing and asset testing, targeting versus universality, the balance between all of these things that our current benefit system rests on, and whether that balance is fair or adequate. It’s not fair or balanced at all.

      The problem is that we’ve moved so far towards a targeted system that main benefits aren’t enough to live on, and that the criteria for the add-on or supplementary benefits that are meant to fill the gap have either been made so stringent they’re unable to meet real need, or are inaccessible for many people due to having to constantly front up to apply or are wrongly denied due to the culture within Work and Income.

      What this government does (and while I despise Labour for what it did to social security between 1999 and 2008 this probably marks one difference between it and National because National did the same thing throughout the 1990s when Labour didn’t) is to create negative images of beneficiaries in order to generate support for its “hate the poor because it’s their own fault they’re stealing from us” agenda. This is of course very easy to do. “Jet-setting beneficiaries? Ooh, let’s cut the benefits even more!”

      The reality is that the 21,000 merely reflects the number of cases thrown up by the Customs/MSD data match. It says nothing more than this. Beneficiaries in many instances are allowed to be out of the country. People receiving a benefit remain eligible while out of the country for two weeks (it used to be four weeks) if entitlement continues. So people who receive a benefit because of illness or disability remain entitled for as long as the illness or disability is present. If the benefit is paid because of caring for children then entitlement remains. The same goes for work-tested benefits where if the absence is to look for work or attend an interview entitlement continues. The statistic of 21,000 tells us nothing about this. Then there are cases where people have told Work and Income of the departure but Work and Income has done nothing to pull them out of the data-match.

      Who pays for the airfare has nothing to do with benefit entitlement, either, but just look at all the assumptions being made about receiving a benefit and overseas travel. It’s staggering people can have such strong views about something based on such little information but it’s symptomatic of where our thinking towards the vulnerable and less well off has moved to as a nation. So a disabled person receiving what used to be called the invalid’s benefit who saves ten dollars week for 18 months for a trip to Brisbane or Samoa or wherever, and for whatever reason whether it be to visit relatives or even a holiday, deserves the vitriol of the nation because they shouldn’t be allowed to travel overseas while receiving a state benefit? So this means benefits are too high and justifies even further cuts? What about those who not only could never save ten dollars a week but whose circumstances mean they face unacceptable levels of poverty on an ongoing basis? Does the fact a relative might pay for a beneficiary’s trip to Sydney justify cutting their benefits, too? Well all the talk lately suggests that Key, Bennett, Shane Jones et al would have us believe the answer is yes.

      Such shallow thinking, Pete, but if you look at the history of benefit cuts in New Zealand from 1991, look at the shift from universality to the such rigidly targeted system we have now, you’ll see not only how shallow it is but how deliberately misleading and agenda-driven it is, also.

  3. captain hook 3

    tories love poverty. its the only way they can be winners. they are nothing without something to compare themselves to and they make sure it stays that way. boojwah kissarses like pete geroge are just making excuses for bad behaviour so they might get an invite to some bunfest or other.

  4. ianmac 4

    It was reported that while a beneficiary, Paula Bennet was helped by moneyed family. Wonder if she would have been named and shamed for getting handouts from family?

  5. Hayden 5

    The editorial argument is that, because some beneficiaries have relatives that help them out on occasions, and/or give them an occasional gift, they really don’t experience poverty.

    To hear some people tell it, it’s worse: because some beneficiaries have relatives that help them out on occasions, and/or give them an occasional gift, nobody experiences poverty.

  6. One Anonymous Bloke 6

    This MSD discussion paper on perceptions of inequality shows exactly how toxic shitheads like the Herald’s anonymous low-life, Paula Bennett and Petty George distort the public debate and further victimise children living in these awful conditions.

    “…a clear majority of those surveyed prefer to blame the poor for their position…”

    At what point do we have to take steps to physically defend children from these scum?

    • freedom 6.1

      It would be very interesting to get the same people to do that same survey today.

      Looking back, it appears our government never read this bit,

      In a question about the responsibilities of central government, more than 80% of respondents thought it should be, or probably should be, the government’s role to guarantee a decent standard of living for the old (97%), provide housing (90%) and control prices (83%); 79% thought it was the government’s responsibility to provide jobs, and 62% thought it was the government’s responsibility to reduce income differences between rich and poor.

      <

      blockquote>

      Lastly, does anyone know why The Social Policy Journal Of New Zealand Te Puna Whakaaro is no longer published?

      The Social Policy Journal of New Zealand was published between 1993 and 2011 by the Centre for Social Research and Evaluation at the Ministry of Social Development. It was a forum for public debate on social policy.

      • Mary 6.1.1

        Because there were too many articles written that did not support the government’s welfare agenda. It started in 1990 when the Department of Social Welfare advised Shipley and Richardson not to cut benefits.

  7. Lionel 7

    The Michelle A,Court tweet is apt I’ve always viewed the Royals as the worlds biggest dole bludgers.

  8. rhinocrates 8

    It’s becoming increasingly obvious that PG’s “fact checking” is going to be no more than Nact astroturfing.

    His glibly callous dismissal of poverty with a few of his trademark sanctimoniousness really drives home his status as a nether orifice.

    And I have to say, beige and blue make a horrible combination. I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing it.

  9. The Baron 9

    Sigh, the left wing outrageo-bot is in full flight today.

    You all realize that you’re playing exactly the game Bennett wants you to, right? Being outraged that beneficiaries aren’t able to “swan off” on holidays for weeks shows how out of touch the left is with the electorate – the more boohoo you do the more right she looks.

    rather than outrage, countering this with examples, stories, real life of where this is manifestly unfair would resonate far better as a response tactic. Auckland Action try to in karol’s link above, but it doesn’t seem to stack up – if the person was actually a super annuitant, then super doesn’t need that level of permission OR can be cut off like that. So they’re actually a jobseeker benefit holder after all, no?

    Honestly. You fine soldiers of the left won’t win anything with shooting your mouths off with outrage, that actually feeds the narrative, and then baking up bullshit stories of hardship. Politics isn’t as hard as you’re making it for yourselves.

    • freedom 9.1

      “and then baking up bullshit stories of hardship”

      citation please

    • karol 9.2

      A superannuitant can get extra benefits on top of their superannuation: eg accomodation supplement or disability allowance.

      Superannuitants traveling overseas permanently also need to notify WINZ.
      as it could affect payments.

      Of course, there’s also the likelihood that WINZ just made a mistake.

      • The Baron 9.2.1

        True true, but a mistake is not then evidence to back up this narrative, is it? The policy you link to is relevant to leaving the country permanently, which also doesn’t appear to be relevant here.

        I suspect Auckland Action meant that the person was of advanced years, but not yet eligible for super – i.e. a casual use of superannuitant rather than a factual one. I assume that was deliberate too, to falsely engender a sense of worry for a little old lady having her universal super cut away. Instead, this is just another job seeker, and an all too transparent little twist to the facts that has backfired.

        The point remains the same – stories like this, when they stack up, counter this policy far better than lefty outrage frothing. But they do need to stack up – and I call BS on that one, I’m afraid. To do otherwise again, feeds the narrative that Bennett is creating.

        A final question – does any of the regular lefties on here agree that some of these cases are likely worth questioning? You are paid a benefit to support yourself while you look for work – you can’t look if you’re on holiday, in some cases, for weeks on end. I’m not saying that all of these cases are examples of “cheeky bennies”; but I’m sure you’ll agree there will be some – and that’s worth putting a halt on to protect the interests of those that abide the rules.

        • felix 9.2.1.1

          The jobs aren’t there. So who cares whether beneficiaries look for work or not? Until we have the close-to-zero unemployment that we had under Labour, it just doesn’t make any difference.

          And who cares whether someone with no job and bugger all chance of finding one manages to scratch up 60 bucks for a flight to Sydney?

          Seriously, who gives a fuck? There are real problems in this country, Barren, and this just ain’t one of them.

          • srylands 9.2.1.1.1

            There are thousands of jobs that need to be filled. What you mean is that there are no skilled people to fill the jobs OR the low skilled refuse to move where the jobs are.

            The fact that we have a skilled immigration programme says it all.

            Then there are the jobs in Canterbury – at all skill levels being filled by immigrants, including Filipino labourers. Why aren’t unemployed in South Auckland moving to ChCH to take up these jobs?

            Then there are the thousands of jobs in the hospitality sector filled by young Europeans on working holidays. In Westland, or Northland it is the same – campgrounds, cafes, all thriving with European workers.

            So that doesn’t look like no jobs to me. It looks like a severe matching problem. New Zealanders don’t have the right skills OR they are living in the wrong places OR they have a poor work ethic. i.e they are actually unemployable.

            I discussed this with a cafe owner in Franz Josef in November last year. He said he refused to employ locals because they were useless. He only employs Europeans on working holiday visas.

            So try thinking instead of saying there are “no jobs” or worse that the government should “create (sic) more jobs”. The former is untrue. The latter is non sensical.

            • felix 9.2.1.1.1.1

              Yeah there are lots of overseas tourists employed where I live too. They work cheap, are grateful for any sort of job, don’t know what workplace rights they have left, and you can get rid of them whenever you like.

            • Tracey 9.2.1.1.1.2

              one reason its overseas people working is cos some employers specify only they should apply. i dont know where freedom lives but they have to get to blenheim… possibly half or more of week one wages.

              Factory Works In Bleneheim – Hi, this is peace haven backpackers in blenhiem. There are positions available at factory in blenheim. factory working is for food processing. Accommodation fee is $135 per a week(4 bed or 6 bed) If you have any inquiries,feel free contact me please. (only available for working holiday visa & can stay at my hostel for 2-3months) email: jenny.peacehaven@gmail.com / text only(Don’t call)02102513370

              Job Listing Added 06/04/2014

            • stever 9.2.1.1.1.3

              So….

              are there enough jobs free for there to be no one unemployed if they were all filled?

              If not, then demonising the unemployed is just nasty because there will clearly always be some

              If there are, then what are the reasons they are not filled? (It is not because all unemployed people are feckless wastrels…this is true because I know some unemployed people an they are not feckless wastrels.)

        • karol 9.2.1.2

          Actually, all superannuitants should notify WINZ if they are travelling overseas:

          You can go overseas on a holiday or travel for 26 weeks or less and if you already receive New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension, your payments can continue as normal. You should tell us before you travel to confirm that your payments will continue while you are away and avoid having to pay back an unexpected debt or being left stranded overseas without any money
          […]
          If you’re already getting New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension, your payments can continue as if you were in New Zealand for the first 26 weeks, provided that:
          you return to New Zealand within 30 weeks
          you normally live in New Zealand.

          This looks like being in the same categry as other superannuitants who hadn’t notified WINZ they were back in the country – that’s the kind of errors that are made. There’s also been several reports of WINZ losing info and notifications from beneficiaries leading to temporary, and unacceptable cuts to their payments.

          • The Baron 9.2.1.2.1

            And is that a change that has also been introduced recently? It doesn’t look like it to me.

            So this is a wholly unrelated issue of Super management, that doesn’t have much to do with JobSeeker entitlement cuts for being overseas. In other words, this doesn’t seem especially relevant to the argument.

            But even if it was, fighting for beneficiaries to take half the year on holiday probably isn’t going to resonate too well, is it karol? Is that really what you think the policy should be?

            If WINZ loses paperwork, then that is a problem. Having been a “customer” of theirs myself and experienced their document management, that wouldn’t surprise. But that’s not really what your outrage is about either, is it…

            • karol 9.2.1.2.1.1

              Actually, I’m pretty sure these superannuitants were counted in the 21,000 – see Mary @ 12 09pm above.

              • Mary

                According to Bennett’s statement it mightn’t include superannuitants, unless she’s merely referring to the subset of 1760 mentioned above.

                http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1404/S00064/benefits-cut-for-21000-overseas-travellers.htm

                What’s missing from Bennett’s shrill is how many remained entitled to the benefit during the absence or how many benefits were cut in error. There’s an assumption not just in what Bennett says but very much throughout Work and Income that going overseas means no benefit entitlement which is just wrong. She talks about the number of benefits suspended, then extrapolates that out into a saving of $10 million. Many of these people would have remained entitled, whether the benefit was reinstated or not. Work and Income does exactly the same thing with its fraud statistics. Has done for years.

            • freedom 9.2.1.2.1.2

              If it is an issue that should not involve Super (which it is and they shouldn’t be included) then let’s see the figures with those people removed eh?

              But then you would have to witness that grand total plummet to earth and lose all its bashing value!

          • Richard@Down South 9.2.1.2.2

            When I started my part time job just over 2 years ago (now have a different full time job), i told WINZ 4x in a week, at different appointments what my 1st weeks hours would be… guess what… they managed to screw that up…

        • srylands 9.2.1.3

          There are thousands of jobs that need to be filled. What you mean is that there are no skilled people to fill the jobs OR the low skilled refuse to move where the jons are.

          The fact that we have a skilled immigration programme says it all.

          Then there are the jobs in Canterbury – at all skill level being filled by immigrants, including Filipino labourers. Why aren’t unemployed in South Auckland moving to ChCH to take up these jobs?

          Then there are the thousands of jobs in the hospitality sector filled by young Europeans on working holidays. In Westland, or Northland it is the same – campgrounds, cafes, all thriving with European workers.

          So that doesn’t look like no jobs to me. It looks like a severe matching problem. New Zealanders don’t have the right skills OR they are living in the wrong places OR they have a poor work ethic. i.e tyhey are actually unemployable.

          I discussed this with a cafe owner in Franz Josef in November last year. He said he refused to employ locals because they were useless. He only employs Europeans on working holiday visas.

          So try thinking instead of saying there are “no jobs” or worse that the government should “create (sic) more jobs”. The former is untrue. The latter is non sensical.

          • Tracey 9.2.1.3.1

            you wrote

            ” low skilled refuse to move where the jons are.”

            freudian slip indeed.

          • freedom 9.2.1.3.2

            “There are thousands of jobs that need to be filled.”

            and oddly enough there are many tens of thousands looking for work.

            You are aware you’re repeating the Franz Josef story you ran with in [2012?] srylands? But I remembered it as being a hotel owner in Franz Josef last time, maybe I am mistaken and I really cannot be bothered to do the site-search, what I do now is I was still working in Wellington when you last trotted out this claptrap passage.

            Chat to your bosses in {insert preferred country here}, they need to send you an updated message packet.

            • Tracey 9.2.1.3.2.1

              pesky locals prolly want full time work rather than fixed contract with casual terms and no sick leave etc…

              • Ideally probably yes, but can they afford to be fussy? Like a lot of people I’ve worked crap jobs to keep me (and family) going in between better jobs.

                • McFlock

                  It’s not “being fussy” to view dignified, living-wage work as a right.

                  As opposed to shit jobs that don’t pay the bills because they’re only 20 hrs a week, get your dole abated so you’re not much better off anyway, pigeonhole you into “drongo-worker” for recruiters for anything decent, but you have to do them rather than look for real work because winz will cut you off 100% if you don’t take them.

                  • It’s not “being fussy” to view dignified, living-wage work as a right.

                    It’s not a right, it’s an ideal and like most ideals it’s probably unattainable for everyone all the time.

                    • mickysavage

                      Why should it not be a right Pete? There is plenty of wealth to go around. If we just spread it round slightly more evenly then it can happen.

                      Why should we tolerate gross disparity in wealth?

                    • McFlock

                      It’s not a right for corporates to be given direct (that payment mcd’s get for giving people jobs) and indirect subsidies (the dole making up the subsistence existence of 20hr per week mcjobs) so there is a class of peons who are forced to work for them with few if any rights.

                    • freedom

                      “it’s probably unattainable for everyone all the time.”

                      You really don’t understand a bloody thing do you?

                      The world is what we make it!

                      so how’s the budget coming along Pete?

                      or has your blinkered sanctimony gotten in the way?

                      You should probably see a doctor about that, it might spread. Maybe surgery will help. If an amputation is recommended I suggest you start with that growth above the neck.

                      And I am really angry at myself for letting you get to me today. I never learn do I, dnftt. So I will check back tomorrow to see if you managed to say anything even more heartless and ignorant than your words to date.

                    • Tracey

                      do you mean like women getting to vote wasnt a right, but an ideal, and all women should have waited until men decided to give it to them?

                      its days like this i understand why you wanted to align with dunne.

                    • @mickysavage

                      Why should it not be a right Pete? There is plenty of wealth to go around. If we just spread it round slightly more evenly then it can happen.

                      Why should we tolerate gross disparity in wealth?

                      How much are you doing to spread your wealth around slightly more evenly?
                      Do you voluntary pay more tax than you have to? Or do you minimise what you have to pay?
                      Do you use trusts at all for you own purposes (not clients)?

                    • felix

                      Very weak, Pete, to pretend the responsibility falls specifically on the person calling for broad systemic change.

                      It’s like you don’t want to address what micky says at all, so you focus on him individually instead.

                      Very weak indeed, and micky’s point remains intact. There is no economic reason that everyone can’t have enough to live a reasonable life with dignity. The resources exist.

                    • There is no economic reason that everyone can’t have enough to live a reasonable life with dignity. The resources exist.

                      Can you back up that claim felix? Where has the sort of economic structure you envisage (whatever that is) worked successfully over a significant period of time.

                      For you to sound so sure there must be good examples.

                    • rhinocrates

                      “It’s not a right, it’s an ideal and like most ideals it’s probably unattainable for everyone all the time.”

                      Oh, let them eat cake. Riiiight….

                      “How much are you doing to spread your wealth around slightly more evenly?”

                      As much as I can afford. I don’t have a lot of money, or a job I can afford to lose you smug bastard.

                      How about selling your lifestyle block and donating the cash to charity? You like to brag about the assets that you could give away.

                      Christ, you are an arsehole.

                    • felix

                      Pete, you need to learn what “economics” means. It is the field of resources.

                      What you are pointing to are political reasons, i.e. reasons to do with power.

                      Again, there is no economic reason to deny anyone a reasonable life with dignity.

                      The resources exist.

                    • mickysavage

                      In answer to your questions Pete:

                      How much are you doing to spread your wealth around slightly more evenly?
                      Do you voluntary pay more tax than you have to? Or do you minimise what you have to pay?
                      Do you use trusts at all for you own purposes (not clients)?

                      Quite a bit.
                      No but I take no steps to minimise it. I pay my staff well and hope to announce that I am a living wage employer in the near future. I also spread the love around and am trying to make the world a better place. And I am vigorously working for the election of a Government under which I will pay more tax.
                      Of course, I am a lawyer.

                  • srylands

                    That is nuts. Nobody has any right to “living wage work”. You need a willing buyer and seller.

                    New Zealand recently ranked first in the worlds for opportunity. Where the hell do you get your sense of entitlement from? It is pathetic.

                    • miravox

                      You read like a feudal lord talking about his serfs, slylands.

                    • McFlock

                      New Zealand recently ranked first in the worlds for opportunity. Where the hell do you get your sense of entitlement from?

                      We used to rank first in the world for standard of living.
                      It’s doable.

                      You, on the other hand, don’t want to pay back into the system that gave you an education and wealth. You talk to me about a sense of entitlement? I’m already on a living wage, and I have no problem paying more tax so others can live in dignity. You think you got where you are solely because of a “willing buyer and willing seller”? You’re a delusional fuck who doesn’t realise that he only has his lofty position because he’s standing on the faces of the poor.

              • freedom

                Tracey, do you think I should tell srylands that out of the twenty odd applications sent in to various employers in the past two months, I have not even had an email acknowledging response of an application let alone a phone call? As for getting an interview . . . wow what a day that would be.

                If BM srylands or the Baron ever had to sit through one of the new WINZ Work Focus Seminars they would hopefully be as horrified as I am when the staffer talks about getting a call for an interview. Getting an interview is related to the seminar group in terms that have you imagining Moses is returning, Club 54 is re-opening and John Key is waiting next door to give you a foot massage and a free Big Wednesday ticket. Their unbridled enthusiasm suggests you already got a job, not an interview.

                Of course you know you have not got a job because there is no idiot donging a brass school bell as massively inappropriate yet mandatory applause breaks out around you.

                (p.s. WINZ calling it a seminar is a misnomer, as dialogue is naturally discouraged)

                • srylands

                  I am sorry you have had that experience. If you have applied for 20 jobs and not got an interview, something is wrong. You may need to consider applying for different roles or think about retraining to acquire new skills.

                  There is an extremely high demand for horticulture workers, with high demand in the Bay of Plenty all through winter. Unless you have a disability, you WILL get a job there. Why can’t you do that? They are begging for workers.

                  Or look at Christchurch.

                  Think widely.

                • Tracey

                  he will try to sound very reasonable and will suggest you pick fruit, without investigating pay, accomodation etc. he will suggest you move to chchch, where rentable properties are a dime a dozen and even if you cant build or plumb or leckie there are jobs all over the place.

                  he is as ideologically blnkered as any here he so accuses, hence he never turns his calculator or googling on the liar-in-chief.

                  but remember he has an employer who is happy to pay someone while they troll left wing sites. something most waged workers get sacked or cautioned.

                • Tracey

                  slylands, if you are genuinely sorry, post some of these jobs here, with wages, hours and conditions. i am sure freedom will be grateful.

          • Tracey 9.2.1.3.3

            like this one which is only open to foreign worker

            http://thestandard.org.nz/poverty-denial-nz-herald-editorial/#comment-795859

          • Draco T Bastard 9.2.1.3.4

            The fact that we have a skilled immigration programme says it all.

            Yeah, it proves that NZ is failing it’s people so that employers can keep costs and taxes down. It’s unsurprising that NZ is thus heading for collapse.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.3

      Politics isn’t as hard as you’re making it for yourselves.

      That’s not the problem, The problem is that politics is beyond your comprehension level.

      • The Baron 9.3.1

        Yawn, and you’re like an 8 year old that was given a thesaurus for his birthday, Draco.

        Cos I’d love to see where exactly my comprehension has failed…

        So tell me, policy mastermind – how’s outrage and playing into Bennett’s hands working out for you so far? Wanna try engaging here, since you’re the big brain that claims it’s all over my head? Or too hard?

  10. Tracey 10

    the young nats on tv the other night looked very young. maybe 20?

    given many who begrudge those on benefits cos ” I worked hard to earn my money”, what justifies the bashing by young nats who arent old enough to have earned much of anything through hard worj?

  11. captain hook 11

    its only words. They just getting some practice in before they inherit the family business of bashing the workers.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    So I was reading Equality of opportunity without equality of outcome over at The Little Pakeha and he’s got this link near the bottom:

    As Andrew Golis points out, this might suggest something even deeper than the idea that poverty’s stress interferes with our ability to make good decisions. The inescapability of poverty weighs so heavily on the author that s/he abandons long-term planning entirely, because the short term needs are so great and the long-term gains so implausible. The train is just not coming. What if the psychology of poverty, which can appear so irrational to those not in poverty, is actually “the most rational response to a world of chaos and unpredictable outcomes,” he wrote.

    None of this is an argument against poorer families trying to save or plan for the long-term. It’s an argument for context. As Eldar Shafir, the author of the Science study, told The Atlantic Cities’ Emily Badger: “All the data shows it isn’t about poor people, it’s about people who happen to be in poverty. All the data suggests it is not the person, it’s the context they’re inhabiting.”

    Which pretty much sums it up.

  13. Mary 13

    This is where our country’s welfare reforms are taking us. Labour needs to take note, but that won’t change anything because Labour doesn’t care, either:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/9916420/Donations-pour-in-for-mum-facing-charges/

  14. Will@Welly 14

    Lets see what luxuries beneficiaries survive on? Alcohol, cigarettes, fresh fruit, veges, meat?
    Dream on. Lets pay the rent first. Then there’s the power bill. Use that sparingly. Shopping, use the markets, if you live nearby one. Buy things on special. Budget bread, 2 minute noodles, and hand-outs from the different food banks.
    As for clothing and footwear, see whats available at the Op-shops, hope that it fits.
    Overseas travel, what a flippin’ joke. Paula Bennett’s been sniffin’ the twink or the nail polish. Who gets to go overseas -only those who buy a one-way ticket outta this hell hole.

    • joe90 14.1

      Wouldn’t it be nice if beneficiaries had the support of a large family, were able to buy their first first home with a loan from the state, move off a benefit to work several jobs to cover a mortgage and, when they decide it’s all become a bit much, have the luxury of being able to throw in the towel and elect to receive a benefit .
      //

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10544395

      • miravox 14.1.1

        Ahh… so no wonder she thinks people just need to be pulled into line. She’s not poor and made her way up. She’s middle-class and with a support network (including government support) to help her through the ‘off the rails’ teen years, and able to use life skills that come with that background to ensure there are second and third chances for her to fulfill her potential.

        No wonder that, like Key, she doesn’t quite get the mentoring and financial encouragement that is required to ensure people with a background of disadvantage, and quite possibly dysfunction can make the most of their opportunities.

        • karol 14.1.1.1

          Yes, interesting. I had thought that Bennett, like Metiria Turei, had come from a working class background – she’s certainly spun that way. But, she in fact had middle class parents and upbringing.

  15. aerobubble 15

    Clearly a backdoor way to means test benefits is to target such things like flights overseas.

    But its worse, its discrimination against those whose family are overseas.

    I don’t see WINZ clamping down on beneficiaries that spend the night over at their grannies, getting bed and eats.

    Its only because they can measure people going through border control.

    Its obviously wrong and Bennett can lord how much money she’s saved by discriminating against the different circumstances of those on welfare. Its wrong, its breaches civil rights and its should worry the old and ACC because it’ll be coming to them too, soon.

  16. fender 16

    Here you go Prick George, this is your homework for tonight. Watch it, learn from it, retain the information for future reference so you won’t embarrass yourself in this area again..

  17. captain hook 17

    not only are the poor in extremis but the national party klingons are suffering from the poverty of imagination and intellect. Its very sad to see such specimens of humanity derelict of any ability to see what is going on in the world except the force fed horse manure they receive from the national party media massaging machine

    • Stuart Munro 17.1

      Now don’t be bad-mouthing the Klingons – they have a highly developed code of honour – they don’t just buy ‘honours’ like Gnat scum.

  18. NZJester 18

    No true beneficiary could afford to take a trip on the small amount they get in benefits without help from somewhere else.
    The only reasons that a beneficiary could go are on trip are the following reasons;
    1. A family member or potential love interest has gifted them the money.
    2. They have won the prize in a raffle, lottery or giveaway promotion.
    3. They have gained the money through crime.
    The first two are in no way gaming the system and they should not be penalized to harshly for it.
    But if they are diving expensive cars and taking lots of trips while they are meant to be getting money only from a benefit then they need closer looking at by law enforcement.
    As for going overseas for a job interview, that is hardly a real trip as they would have little time to enjoy any of the sites.

    John Key and his ministers like to pull out a lot of shady statistics and numbers that are cherry picked from real reports or just plain made up. They normally do not reflect the real situation of what is going on. If they really wanted to know about poverty in New Zealand they would have funded a real report. Instead they rely on privately funded reports and ignore those that do not match the message they are trying to push.

  19. *Language warning.
    ** Don’t shoot the messenger
    ***Some people may be offended (but watch it right through)

    **** the poor? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBuC_0-d-9Y

    • rhinocrates 19.1

      Ooh ALERT! Poor Petey, the man who has suffered such poverty in his life, that paragon of virtue who has lessons for us all is the victim now. Everyone line up to offer their pity!

      How much cake can the poor eat? They must be fit to burst!

    • rhinocrates 19.2

      How about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes you complacent idiot?

      Tell us all what it’s really like instead of what you, you comfortable pensioned arsehole, think it should be like.

      • rhinocrates 19.2.1

        Come on Petey, waiting… You know so much. You are, after all, a “fact checker”. What’s it like to be poor? Please tell us.

    • felix 19.3

      Hi Pete, that video has some profound implications for you and your methods.

      Note the lack of reaction to the banal, non-specific waffle of “help the poor”. It’s like you and your “do politics better” or whatever the fuck it is you say.

      No an actual ideas. No mention of what you what you’ll actually do. Just broad, say-nothing, do-nothing waffle.

      Meaningless. Pointless. Hopeless.

      And everyone in the video knows it instinctively, just like everyone here sees straight through you.

      • Pete George 19.3.1

        You don’t seem to have progressed much since I first saw you here felix. Where’s all your ideas and what have you done? All I see is same old futile pettiness.

        • felix 19.3.1.1

          And you’re still just repeating my comments back to me, only weaker, as a technique to avoid engaging with my criticisms by attempting to make me the subject of discussion because you’re afraid to discuss what I’ve said.

          And you still suck at it, and it’s still 100 times more obvious than you think.

          Always open to being surprised of course but you’ve not managed it yet.

  20. Foreign Waka 20

    The article mentioned a superannuitant visiting the family and getting the entitlement docked. This is beyond belief. I suggest to take this to the Human rights commission as Super is an entitlement and I do hope once you have finally made it you are not required to look for work? The pension is already so low that one is being taken by one hand to the pearly gates by stealth – just to get rid of those who are such a burden, aren’t they? I am not a person wishing ill on anybody but I will make an exception in this case: For those who design these policies, I wish that one day you have the swallow the medicine you are dishing out today.

    • karol 20.1

      I think that superanuitants payments can be affected if they go overseas. They’re supposed to notify WINZ. Their payments should not be affected if they go overseas for less than 30 days.

      But, also, some people on super also get an accommodation allowance and/or an invalids allowance.

      • Foreign Waka 20.1.1

        This is true for many countries, most of Europe has a 6 months limit. However, it is understood that the pension money is owed to the person. In countries were tax is collected via deductions on income, goods and service, essential living expenses (power etc) means that a pension becomes an entitlement. There is a difference to a DPB, unemployment or other bridging financial help. One is actually earned the other is a societal agreement as it is a civilized gesture.

        • karol 20.1.1.1

          Social security should be an entitlement for all.

          • Foreign Waka 20.1.1.1.1

            I am not disagreeing, I just belief that it should be called provision and anything that has been earned is an entitlement. Under any name, receiving a benefit that is not high enough to live off it is neglect by not providing the means of survival. This in itself would raise some serious questions on motivations and intentions of those who decide on those matters. It is my opinion that many of those who are involved are completely removed from the real world and as such reflect the famous quote: “let them eat cake”.

  21. captain hook 21

    except for petey. he gets a huge kickback form you know who for trolling and generally trying to confuse people with non sequiturs and just plain bullshit.. He is a money hog and will bend over for anyone with the cash. he might seem innocuous but he is a real piece of work.

  22. Michael 22

    I think it is evident to almost everyone that poverty in NZ is growing and is not confined to beneficiaries, either. Reduced employment protection has resulted in exploitation, subsistence level wages and dangerous working conditions. These developments are not incidental to government policies since 1984 – they are intentional. Government, even Treasury, knows welfare benefit rates are too low for people to survive on, especially if they are too sick or disabled to participate in the open labour market. Instead of increasing welfare entitlements to a level where people can live in dignity – not luxury – government forces the sick and disabled, and those caring for children or sick people, to go without food, energy, decent habitation, access to healthcare and all the rest of it. Government does this because a huge army of hungry people without work acts as a tool of industrial discipline to stop uppity proles who have work from asking the boss for a pay rise. Government’s welfare policies are deliberate. They are also wicked as are the middle classes who keep voting wicked representatives into office.

  23. Maybe if the so-called left parties swatted-up on why exactly a massive wealth ravine was carved and how the power structures of a capitalist state facilitates systemic poverty, forces everyone to compete and ensures there is persistent unemployment … just maybe, the large block of people who don’t vote might join an equally large block of normally complacent voters on the streets to insist on radical policies of wealth redistribution. Snoopman has done that swatwork … it’s up to you and you and you to give a shit and spread the stories …

    SEE: SNOOP MONSTER’S BIGGEST WISH: “HUMANITY, GROW-UP!” at Snoopman News http://snoopman.net.nz/?p=818 SEE ALSO: Alistair Barry’s films: “Someone Else’s Country” http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/someone-elses-country-1996 AND “In a Land of Plenty” http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/in-a-land-of-plenty-2002 AND SEE: Mind “The Gap: A Special Report on Inequality” http://www.tv3.co.nz/INSIDE-NEW-ZEALAND-Mind-The-Gap/tabid/3692/articleID/94816/MCat/3061/Default.aspx

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