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Sick

Written By: - Date published: 4:21 pm, January 23rd, 2013 - 90 comments
Categories: bill english, jobs, welfare - Tags:

Bill English’s priority in 2013 will be to “bed in” welfare reforms. Because that’s where the big fiscal savings lie.

He’s hoping to cut 44,000 beneficiaries and save $1.6 billion by 2016-17.  Which would be fantastic if this was a jobs government focussed on employment growth and those 44,000 were going into decent paying jobs.

But no.  Instead we have unemployment expected to remain around 7% by the end of the year, and the economic forecast deteriorating until 2017.

So those 44,000 are going to go the same way we just got our last big drop in benefit numbers while the unemployment rate rose: by pushing vulnerable people off the safety net.

As Ed Miliband was recently saying in the UK where they have a similar story unfolding: There’s a Labour way to reduce benefit numbers and welfare costs and a Tory way. The Labour way is to create jobs, the Tory way is to attack the vulnerable.

This government’s just given us the highest level of unemployment since the last National government 13 years ago, at the same time as they’ve almost got benefit numbers back down to the levels the last Labour government left them with…

It’s all well and good National trying to divide us into a nation of strivers vs shirkers, but we haven’t just gained tens of thousands of so-called shirkers in the last few years – we’ve just gained a National government that is doing nothing to protect Kiwi jobs, and everything to encourage our best and brightest to head across the ditch.

Here’s an excellent Garrick Tremain cartoon (h/t Frank Macskasy):

key1

90 comments on “Sick”

  1. Matthew Hooton 1

    Actually, welfare doesn’t offer big fiscal savings long term. In fact, the total welfare spend is expected to fall as a percentage of GDP over the next 50 years. The fiscal risk areas are superannuation and health, and the increased debt servicing costs associated with them. ( see http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/media-speeches/speeches/affordingourfuture )

    Like Ruth Richardson’s December 1990 benefit cuts, that Helen Clark never reversed, those who advocate welfare reform do so not primarily for fiscal reasons but to change incentives in the economy in order to create a greater motivation to try to find work. (An argument can be had about whether work is there to be found. And while there are labour shortages in some parts of the country that may not be true on an aggregated basis. But that’s another debate.)

    • framu 1.1

      so are you saying its not used as a mechanism to reduce wages?

    • So Mattey

      Are you saying that under the current regime the rate of bludgerism has doubled and if so what is it about Tory Governments that create the incentive for so many people to become loafers?

      • vto 1.2.1

        Micky, the strivers are the ones trying to get a job or do what they have to so the family can somehow be fed and housed. The shirkers are the ones not willing to do their bit to ensure all of the community is so fed and housed. Wankers.

      • Tanz 1.2.2

        Thought you would have beeb on the side of those in need, Micky. Tory governments hate benes, of course.

    • vto 1.3

      What are you doing commenting here with the loonies and nutters?

      And as for this “the increased debt servicing costs associated with them”. Privately issued interest-bearing debt can go fuck itself. It serves no useful purpose and people are steadily catching onto the scam that is this form of money.

      • Matthew Hooton 1.3.1

        The debt I refer to is publicly issued

        • vto 1.3.1.1

          Oh yes of course. However, the point remains, as if/when privately issued interest-bearing debt gets tossed out so too of course will interest-bearing public debt wither in an instant. It is the interest factor which is the problem, not so much the public / private. Interest is bad news and serves no good purpose, hence it being banned in many places over much of time …. As stated, the populace is catching onto this scam, albeit slowly slowly.

          • Matthew Hooton 1.3.1.1.1

            “if/when privately issued interest-bearing debt gets tossed out so too of course will interest-bearing public debt wither in an instant.”

            The opposite is true isn’t it?

            If companies and banks are no longer able to issue debt (ie, issue bonds or take deposits and term deposits), then the only entity a person or organisation would be able to lend money to in order earn interest would be the government. So I don’t see that interest-bearing public debt would wither in an instant – to the contrary, money would flow out of the banks into government bonds.

            I think my logic is right, but perhaps we have misunderstood one another.

            • mickysavage 1.3.1.1.1.1

              Hey Mattey you did not answer my question. I admit that I engaged in a bit of reframing and presented something with a fair bit of spin and it arguably was not true. But you do this all the time. So how about a response?

            • vto 1.3.1.1.1.2

              No misunderstanding, just poor communication on my part. Brain seems to have caramelised more than usual in todays heat. My point concerns interest-bearing debt fullstop. Interest needs tgo be made illegal like it is in many other parts of the world. Bad bad bad. Always ends badly for society.

        • muzza 1.3.1.2

          Elaborate on your version/definition of *publically issued*!

      • Rhinoviper 1.3.2

        What are you doing commenting here with the loonies and nutters?

        Well if Hoots is going to shill for work with the sorts who inspired Anders Brevik, “loonies and butters” are no trouble at all.

    • xtasy 1.4

      “Actually, welfare doesn’t offer big fiscal savings long term.”

      “Like Ruth Richardson’s December 1990 benefit cuts, that Helen Clark never reversed, those who advocate welfare reform do so not primarily for fiscal reasons but to change incentives in the economy in order to create a greater motivation to try to find work.”

      Thanks for admitting the first bit, that welfare reforms of the types presented to the public and Parliament now, are unlikely to offer “big” fiscal savings long term.

      I agree with you on that, and if they are to be implemented as suggested, it will only create new, complex systems, bureaucracies and involve MSD staff in partly working for the justice department and police. Also will case managers have to try and enforce “social obligations” that non-beneficiaries do in part not have.

      Re the “Ruthanasia” cuts, yes it was disappointing that Helen Clark’s governments did not find a constructive approach to really assist those with health and disability issues, “some” sole parents into suitable work, that would also pay a reasonable income, without necessarily leading to too high cut-backs on welfare support where it would still have been needed.

      As for “incentives”, what incentives are needed???

      The regime applied by WINZ already, especially since Future Focus has been introduced, is quite harsh, and some now fall through the safety nets, even when having fair and reasonable reasons for in part perhaps not meeting some expectations. Others are victims of an “impersonal” system now, where phone calls of brief duration are counted as efforts by case managers to contact persons.

      Some have had their benefits cut without receiving letters.

      With some youth staying at home while unemployed, they may manage OK on the dole, but most pay rent or have mortgages and debts to serve. You will always have the odd ones able to cope without working, but as we have a minimum wage, work does pay more than a benefit.

      The jobs are not there, and those few that are, are not accessibly within short times, for short times and what else may be needed. Others lack the skills needed.

      No easy answers, but I do not buy this crap about “changing incentives”!

    • muzza 1.5

      Hooton – Whats your position on human necessities, being played off against eachother over the manufactured scarcity, of *money*?

    • Pete 1.6

      The biggest factor in whether somebody finds work is whether the jobs are available. And this is where Keynes vs neoliberalism comes in. A Keynesian response would mandate substantial public investment in the economy, with public works providing jobs that provide more than a subsitence level of existence. There is dignity in well-paying, productive work. Not the forelock-tugging state-sanctioned serfdom where the peasants beat each other down in terms of the conditions they are resigned to accept that the neoliberal approach fosters.

      • Colonial Viper 1.6.1

        And given that we need to take at least half a million vehicles off the road over the next 10 years, as well as provide 100,000 well insulated, energy efficient, long life state houses, there is indeed a lot of public works to be done ASAP.

        • aerobubble 1.6.1.1

          Strange how automobiles, the petrol engine, removed many labour intensive jobs from the economy but is now in the way of creating a new economy of jobs as the energy from oil is redirected to processes that engage people in work rather than riding around wastefully in cars.

          Doesn’t the internet, a part of a revolution that is doing away with jobs, eventually promise to bring whole new classes of jobs. And how is it going to do that? Government had to remake regulation and business as the automobile appeared (what are suburbs, etc) move government out of the way, not of developers, not of big fiscal, or big industrial, but citizen capitalism.

          The problem is, just like the world wars, governments are incapable of throwing off the wealth class whose interests are lockstep against change. We get the internet but only with crushing invasions of privacy, we got the world wars because states hated unions and the progressive forces of change that they promoted, only afterward did the consensus create the post war economy, based around humanity and secularism.

    • Colonial Viper 1.7

      Hooten, superannuation IS social welfare.

      • Matthew Hooton 1.7.1

        Not in the presentation I linked to. You should read it again. You’ll see it refers to Superannuation (NZS) and Non-NZS Welfare (which means DPB, sickness benefit, dole etc). The former nearly doubles as a percentage of GDP whereas the latter actually falls to just 3.9% of GDP, below the 4.4% of GDP that superannuation is costing us now, which surprised me. (Note, these all assume no policy changes.) So even if the Non-NZS welfare budget were cut in half, it wouldn’t really have much of an impact on the long-term fiscal outlook. Health and superannuation really stand out as the major fiscal issues (see the table entitled “Long-term fiscal projections – cost pressures” at http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/media-speeches/speeches/affordingourfuture

        • geoff 1.7.1.1

          Which is another argument for means/asset testing of super so that we’re not wasting money on wealthy baby boomers.

          • vto 1.7.1.1.1

            Why isn’t it means or asset tested now? I know the politics of the many forcing their greedy will on the fewer but what of the actual arguments that are put up in support?

            Seems like this is where the shirker element resides.

          • Matthew Hooton 1.7.1.1.2

            I agree but it was tried by the Lange/Douglas government and then by Bolger/Richardson, but it turned out to be politically unsustainable and led to the rise of Winston Peters and NZ First, so I doubt any future government will be prepared to advance it again, blue or red/green.

            • geoff 1.7.1.1.2.1

              Perhaps it will become politically sustainable after a few more years of circling the drain…

              • Colonial Viper

                Exactly.

                Hooten is happy to raise the retirement age on ordinary workers to reduce the deficit, but targetting the rich? No, we’re not allowed to do that.

                • Matthew Hooton

                  I thought I was quite clear that I think we should means-test superannuation, as Roger Douglas did in 1985 and Ruth Richardson did in 1991. The problem is that Jim Anderton and Winston Peters strongly opposed them and campaigned for superannuation for everyone, including billionaires. By the mid-1990s, after the MMP referendum, superannuation became universal again. I doubt any government will ever try to means-test it again, but I hope I am wrong.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Ah, thanks for that clarification. Next to do something about those wealthy rural types whose kids all get student allowances and interest free loans.

                • alwyn

                  I suggest you re-read his comment. He doesn’t say that we’re not allowed to means test it.
                  When someone suggested that NZS should be means tested he replied “I agree”.
                  After that he says that he doesn’t think that any Government will be willing to try it. He is not saying that they shouldn’t. He is saying that he does not think that they will.

                • geoff

                  Anyway, after all that I think there may be something we all agree on. Perhaps this should be something for the standard’s manifesto?

                • aerobubble

                  As people grow up and live longer in poverty they die earlier, are likely out of
                  the work force for longer, this will lead to a crisis as ever more boomers
                  reach a hundred while the ‘bread winners’ of the economy fail to provide
                  taxation for government. And then there’s the seepage problem, that those
                  skilled, motivated and healthy will jump the ditch, exasperating the crisis.
                  Oh, wait, we’re here already, as we see numbers of young people in the
                  criminal system, skilled flocking to OZ and governments removing the
                  welfare net to push citizens into low wage serfdom.

                  Why aren’t builders flocking to Chch? maybe because the costs of
                  moving, the likelihood of owning one of the homes they build at the
                  end of the exercise is so low that it does not merit thought. Sure
                  we can at the moment attract foriegn builders due to the higher dollar
                  but that won’t last, and harms the economy because those workers
                  will immediately send their fund home to their countries of origin.

            • Frank Macskasy 1.7.1.1.2.2

              @ Matthew,

              Those with means and access to clever schemes can always find ways to hide their wealth and thereby have access to super.

              The easiest, simplist is a universal system and claw it back from the top 10%, 1%, whatever, by a comprehensive progressive taxation system. And by that I include CGT, FTT, etc, so that wealth can’t be hidden in non-taxable investments.

              A system of universality/claw-backs also apply to Gareth Morgan’s propsals, via his negative taxation idea (aka, Universal Basic Income). Pay it to everybody; do away with most the vast WINZ bureacracy, and the savings are there.

              The only downside is the hundreds of WINZ case workers who would be thrown onto the unemployment scrapheap themselves. Some on the Right may laugh at such an irony, but they have families to support as well…

              • Colonial Viper

                There’s plenty of social work and counselling/support work to be done in this society Frank. Those WINZ case officers could help look after a lot of people being neglected today, in ways other than helping people figure out the complexity of rules around various benefits and entitlements.

                • @ Colonial Viper – you may well be right. In fact, watching “Campbell Live” tonight, I’m sure you are.

                  It would have to be carefully managed though. I recall the mass redundancies of the mid/late 1980s and 1990s, as SOEs were privatised and staff were laid off by their new owners (or even prior to sale, to make them attractive to prospective purchasers/investors).

                  That is not something I’d want to see again. It was bad enough seeing the mass redundancies from last year,

                  ANZ; 1,000 redundancies
                  Yellow Pages; 125 redundancies
                  Wire by Design, 55 redundancies
                  Hakes Marine; 15 redundancies
                  Telecom; 400 redundancies
                  Brightwater Engineering; 40 redundancies
                  Pernod Ricard New Zealand; 13 redundancies
                  Depart of Corrections; 130 redundancies
                  Summit Wool Spinners; 80 redundancies
                  Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; 80 redundancies
                  Cavalier/Norman Ellison Carpets; 70 redundancies
                  IRD; 51 redundancies
                  Flotech; 70 redundancies
                  NZ Police; 125 redundancies
                  CRI Plant and Food; 25 redundancies
                  Te Papa; 16 redundancies (?)
                  PrimePort Timaru; 30 redundancies
                  Kiwirail; 158 redundancies
                  Fisher & Paykel; 29 redundancies
                  Goulds Fine Foods; 60 redundancies
                  Canterbury University; 150 redundancies (over three years)
                  Solid Energy; 363 redundancies 460 redundancies
                  Tiwai Pt aluminium smelter; 100 redundancies
                  Axiam Metals; 44 redundancies
                  Norske Skog; 120 redundancies
                  Goodman Fielder; redundancy numbers t.b.a.
                  Dunedin City Council/Delta: 30 redundancies
                  Blue Sky Meats; 100 redundancies
                  Kaipara Ltd/Stockton Alliance; 63 redundancies
                  Wainuiomata New World; 44 redundancies
                  Nuplex; 64 redundancies
                  Newmont Waihi Gold; 20 redundancies
                  Ministry of Justice; 70-200 redundancies
                  McKenzie Residential School in Christchurch; 90 redundancies (?)
                  Rakon; 60 redundancies
                  Dynamic Solutions; 40-60 redundancies
                  Thorn Lighting; 8 redundancies
                  Eastern Institute of Technology; 12 redundancies (?)
                  UCOL; 30 – 50 redundancies
                  Kiwirail Hillside Workshops; 90 redundancies
                  SCA Hygiene Australasia; 140 redundancies
                  Carter Holt Harvey; 70 redundancies

              • tracey

                I wonder why the very wealthy just don’t apply for the super. They don’t have to. It would be the responsible and accountable thing to do…

                • alwyn

                  Bob Jones at least doesn’t and won’t. One of the left politicians accused him of taking National Super in an article in the Dom/Post a few months ago. There was a letter from Bob a day or two later saying that he never had and never would.
                  I can’t find a link unfortunately
                  Jim Anderton on the other hand had no shame at all. He whined that he was “entitled” to it even though at the time his greed was exposed he was a Cabinet Minister and on a very generous salary and expenses package.

        • xtasy 1.7.1.2

          MH – Why then, if there is little chance of subtantial cost savings, do you think it is, that English is pushing to “bed in” welfare reforms, which clearly are meant to be the very ones before the Social Security Committee, due back in Parliamant in March.

          They are NOT about “reforming” superannuation and the likes, they are about FORCING SICK AND DISABLED TO get “READY” for some forms of WORK on the open market. That is where jobs are presently quite hard to get for most fit and healthy.

          I may suspect the answer is: RIGHT WING NAT-ACT IDEOLOGY!?

          • red rattler 1.7.1.2.1

            Its right wing ideology that serves right wing interests to throw 10s of 000s of beneficiaries onto the job market to lower wages and hence raise profits, when those profits are falling as a result of the global capitalist crisis. The ‘incentive’ is poverty, misery, and bullshit about working making one ‘free’. Almost ‘free’ to the boss.

    • Coronial Typer 1.8

      the welfare reform I’d like to see is a higher retirement age. To me that’s where the big savings are. Slowly shifting the Current Account Deficit with Kiwisaver and Kiwibank is a good policy motivator, as well as rewarding local capital to work locally.

      And the big incentives to live healthier in order to increase one’s lifespan and enjoy the state pension, and to motivate everyone who possibly can to save like bastards. 70 sounds like a start.

      • Coronial Typer 1.8.1

        it’s always fun to be at a Wanaka dinner party and be amidst 6-8 oldie couples frothing at the mouth about the Maaries and the Bennies and “back in the day… we had to work for a living”, and then I get to agree, and join in and talk about:
        that appalling group of bennies
        who aren’t means tested,
        don’t have to work,
        have their own card system for discounts,
        never get criticized,
        get sucked up to by their own tailor-made political party
        have state bank accounts and funds set up to slop up their lifestyle choices
        and are a massive drain on the health system, transport system and all the rest
        in fact these layabouts even often get their own car parks!
        Ourageous sloppy troughers, these waster bennies!

        …and then explain that they are the biggest beneficiaries troughers in the country.
        It’s them.

        Although my wife does give me a bit of grief afterwards.

      • Matthew Hooton 1.8.2

        I agree that Labour’s policy to increase the retirement age to 67 is better than National’s position.

        Not sure though what Kiwisaver and Kiwibank have to do with the current account deficit.

        • Colonial Viper 1.8.2.1

          So you like austerity measures. No surprise. Ironic, for Labour the Workers Party to be leading the charge on this. All in the name of “neoliberal fiscal responsibility”

          In reality we should be offering early retirement packages to all over 60, clearing way for younger people to get jobs.

          • Matthew Hooton 1.8.2.1.1

            I don’t think it is true to call a progressive increase in the age of eligibility to NZ Super to 67 “austerity”.

            According to the last formal long-term fiscal projections, under current policies net public debt will reach over 200% by 2050 and there will never be a fiscal surplus between now and then (see figure 2.1 at http://www.treasury.govt.nz/government/longterm/fiscalposition/2009/ltfs-09.pdf )

            The main reason for this would be the change in the dependency ratio from 1:5.x to 1:2.x (see the second slide at http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/media-speeches/speeches/affordingourfuture )

            But changing the age of superannuation is not mean-spirited. If you look at the third slide at http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/media-speeches/speeches/affordingourfuture you’ll see that currently, when the average male reaches 65, he has worked for 43 years and will live for another 20. It is expected that by 2060, when the average male reaches 65, he will have worked for 42 years and will have 26 years to live. (Back in the 1960s, when the average male reached 65 he would have worked for 50 years and have just 13 years to live.) What this all means is that back in 1960, to be 65 was to be old, whereas that is not true now and will become less true in the future. In response to that trend, it makes sense to adjust the age of eligibility for superannuation, as Labour proposed in 2011 and continues to advocate with majority public support.

            • Colonial Viper 1.8.2.1.1.1

              Of course its austerity.

              There is an excess labour force, insufficient jobs to go around, record low tax rates and massive inequality of wealth, and your solution is to make the decreasing number of workers work harder and longer?

              Like I said, its an irony that Labour is proposing this austerity measure.

              What is needed is for early retirement packages for all who want them so that younger people can take their jobs.

              Those who are over 60 can then contribute their knowledge and wisdom to society in many different non-employment roles.

              As for your stats re: people living longer – well they work more hours now during their work week than ever before, so its time they had a chance to contribute to society in a way other than making business and asset owners richer.

            • BLiP 1.8.2.1.1.2

              I don’t think it is true good PR to call a progressive increase in the age of eligibility to NZ Super to 67 “austerity”.

              FIFY.

            • Colonial Weka 1.8.2.1.1.3

              Try analysing those figures by ethnicity and see how fair they look.

              “Mäori life expectancy is lower than that of non-Mäori by about 7 years. However, it has been increasing in recent decades.

              A Mäori boy born in 1996 can expect to live 67 years, 13 years longer than his counterpart born in 1951. A Mäori girl born in 1996 can expect to live to age 72, up 16 years on her 1951 counterpart.

              Historically Mäori life expectancy has been much lower than that of non-Mäori New Zealanders, but the gap has narrowed considerably over time. The difference in life expectancy for Mäori males and non-Mäori males has dropped from around 13 years in 1950-52 to seven years in 1996. For females, the difference between Mäori and non-Mäori life expectancy has fallen from around 15 years in 1950-52 to seven years in 1996.

              Age-standardised mortality rates for Mäori fell more rapidly than for non-Mäori between 1972 and 1987. But since 1987, Mäori mortality rates have dropped more slowly than non-Mäori and the gap between Mäori and non-Mäori mortality rates has widened. ”

              http://www2.stats.govt.nz/domino/external/web/nzstories.nsf/3d7ba81fd31d11adcc256b16006bfcf3/82dfd788a5ad21c1cc256b180004bacf?OpenDocument

              I’d like to see similar analysis by class/socio-economic status.

              • vto

                Yep. And for men as opposed to women. And others surely? Smokers don’t live as long either, but I suppose they deserve to suffer.

              • Matthew Hooton

                Yes, this is the counter view and it does make the issue extremely difficult. But the status quo is not realistic so some change is needed, a debate Phil Goff and Labour led in 2011.

                • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                  I don’t think it is true to call a progressive increase in the age of eligibility to NZ Super to 67 “austerity”.

                  You might want to keep the “austerity” label. TrevellerEv thinks raising the age of entitlement to superannuation by five years over a twelve year period is “terrorism”.

                  http://aotearoaawiderperspective.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/john-key-phill-goff-to-sides-of-the-same-coin-or-how-both-are-catering-to-the-money-masters/

                  • Descendant Of Sssmith

                    A simple start would be to remove the ability to include underage spouses.

                    If other beneficiaries under the age of 65 have to look for work why not those ones? What is it about being married to / living with a superannuitant that makes them special?

                    Lets not forget too that increasing the age of NZS also increases the number of people on benefit.

                    Look here for an explanation of Invalids Benefit increases post increasing super age.

                    http://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/research/sbib-growth/index.html

                    With Maori and Pacific Island peoples having lower life expectancy this would give the racist right an even greater number of bludgers to whinge about but in reality will disadvantage those populations.

                    Introducing income testing until say 75 with no income testing post 75 post 75 would be useful in reducing costs but make the income testing relatively generous i.e. you can earn up to the equivalent in income that NZS payments are with then no entitlement if you earn more than that.

                    On current rates a single person could get $20,000 per annum super plus up to another $20,000-00 from working and interest before NZS would stop.

                    A couple would be able to get $15,000 + $15,000 each giving up to a total of $60,000 between them.

                    This would allow older people to work part-time and businesses to still benefit from their skills and knowledge but basically say if you want to work full-time or close to it no NZS. Make your choice.

                    Run alongside this a compulsory trust register that also must identify primary beneficiaries of a trust and tight controls on assistance where assets and income have been put into trusts.

                    My thinking would be that that those amounts ensure a decent standard of living and income test through those years from 65-75 when the majority of the effectiveness of income testing would occur. Post 75 few would be working and this would be of less import.

                    • Descendant Of Sssmith

                      I don’t support any further increase in age. Blue collar workers like my father and his fellow workers who worked around chemicals, did physical work and shift work for years got little or no super as it was.

                      Many died before 65 and many more between 65 and 70. Others may still be alive but are physically stuffed.

                      While many manual jobs have gone those that do physical work should be allowed some retirement – short though for many of them it will be.

    • geoff 1.9

      Sounds like Hooton is advocating for means testing of superannuation.

    • Georgecom 1.10

      Matthew, you may want to read what Bill English actually said:
      “Mr English said the broad aim for this year was to bed in the welfare reforms “because that is where by far the biggest fiscal benefits lie”.
      “In terms of the Government’s focus on those long-term costs, the welfare reforms are the biggest single effort there.”

      All about fiscal stuff, little about incentives and motivation.

    • Tom Gould 1.11

      Social and corporate welfare are simply two sides of the same coin. Taxpayers subsidise business and their workforces to help them grow and prosper, and they support individuals and their families to help them grow and prosper. So why do Tories loathe one and love the other? Could be basic greed and envy? Is the typical Tory simply a lesser being?

    • bad12 1.12

      So Matty,or Hooties or whatever is the appropriate form of address one such as you has come to expect,

      You didn’t come ‘fishing’ here today did you??? sorry no bites, But, we will talk,(snigger)…

  2. xtasy 2

    Going by the vision of Paula Bennett NZ must return to the good old spirit, where slogans like “If anybody can, a Kiwi can”, and “only a Kiwi can”, will likely be revived and broadcast on all media day in and out.

    Get the wheel-chair bound to ready themselves to head off each morning to the work-bench, get the mentally ill sent to something like “work houses” to ready them for work, no matter what, they will possibly be numbed and feel no pain, after the GPs start a massive medication program, so they can partly physically function and at least collect and push trolleys at supermarkets.

    It is all there, just have a read of her “great Kiwi spirity”, expressed in this speech – to “health professionals”, just after the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill had been presented to Parliament:

    http://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/speech-medical-professionals

    Her heroes are those that went to the Paralympics. With all respect, some may be able to, but with such talk, I fear some will feel the “pressure” and “stern breathing” coming down their necks, when seeing their GPs, a designated doctor, or a new (UK style) assessor, examining their “capacity to work”.

    http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/10/31/government-use-might-of-american-insurance-giant-to-destroy-uk-safety-net-by-mo-stewart-update/

    Current UK DWP work fitness test – apparently fancied by Paula Bennett, upon advice of hard-line work assessment promoter, Prof. Mansel Aylward (former Chief Med. Officer of DWP):

    http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/@disabled/documents/digitalasset/dg_177366.pdf

    And those that are healthy job-seekers already: Bear in mind, sit by the phone 24/7, as if you miss a call from a WINZ case manager, that may count as not being available or willing to engage in work planning now!

    • It’s interesting that Bennett refers to numbers on the sickness bebefit;

      “If we left the system as it was and let past trends in Invalid’s and Sickness Benefit continue, 16 per cent of the working age population could be on a benefit by 2050.”

      Yet again, a National minister is telling us only half the story.

      Until 2008, unemployed and sole-parent beneficiaries were dropping as the booming economy demanded more labour.

      After 2008, both unemployed and sole-parents benefciary numbers started to rise again.

      The only numbers that seemed impervious to Boom/Bust cycles was the Invalids/Sickness beneficiary numbers.

      http://fmacskasy.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/numbers-in-receipt-of-working-age-income-tested-benefits-1986-to-2009-30-jun.png

      The reason, it quickly became apparent, was because of ACC policy,

      The proportion of long-term ACC clients moving on to benefits has surged since the corporation adopted a tough new stance, which has fuelled allegations that they are being forced off compensation before they are rehabilitated.

      Figures supplied by the corporation yesterday also show it has slashed the number of long-term claimants on its books by a quarter since mid-2009.

      […]

      But yesterday’s figures show that the proportion of long-term claimants leaving ACC and going on to health-related, unemployment or domestic purposes benefits rose sharply from early 2009.

      In the five years to 2008, the proportion going on to benefits was 12.1 per cent, but during 2009 that rose to 16.4. In the first five months of 2010, the most recent data held by ACC, the proportion rose to 19.4 per cent.

      ACC figures also showed the corporation had reduced the number of long-term claimants on its books by 3644 or 25 per cent to 10773 in the three years since June 2009. That reduction is well ahead of ACC’s targets.

      Source: More ACC clients going on to welfare

      So the answer (which is really no great surprise to anyone) is plain and simple: jobs. Lots of them.

      I suspect Matthew knows this as well. (Being the sanest and most rational right winger in the country.)

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 2.1.1

        The report I linked to above show other reasons such as increased age of super, aging population, worsening of degenerative diseases, de-institutionalisation, increased mental health problems and so on.

        Many more factors than just ACC changes.

        One interesting comment in that report was the movement of sole parents to IB as work-testing came in. I’ll be looking forward to all the right-wing nongs complaining about National moving people onto IB to make the numbers look better.

      • xtasy 2.1.2

        Frank, I tried that link “More ACC clients going on to welfare”, but it only takes me to the NZ Herald Online front page now.

        I also spotted this one:
        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10859641

        So the NZ Herald likes to run these stories about “fraud” on welfare and ACC, rather than report about things that get discussed here, for instance in this thread.

        10 million defrauded over 4 years is the story. What a ‘big deal”, with the amounts that ACC handles all the time. It must be a drop in the bucket, same as WINZ benefit fraud by recipients.

        Yet mainstream media always run these stories, and sometimes on the front page, which naturally “prepares” the wider public, not informed enough about what goes on behind the scenes, to support the kind of welfare slashing Bennett, Key and the Natzy gang are planning.

        It is all so disheartening, yes disgusting. I raise this here, so “Mr Hooton” may take note of this also!

        • Frank Macskasy 2.1.2.1

          Bugger, not sure why that link didn’t work properly, Xtasy.

          Here’s the full link; http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10814974

          And yes, from early 2011, the MSM was running a constant campaign of media releases, from Bennett’s office, demonising welfare recipients. More info here, on this blogpost; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/johnnys-report-card-national-standards-assessment-the-social-welfare-safet-net/

          National was very keen to deflect attention from the lack of jobs (a government failure of policy) to painting welfare recipients as lazy, drug addicts, “reckless breeders”, etc (a beneficiary failure of morals).

          From 2009, the rise in Sickness/Invalid beneficiaries coincided perfectly with ACC dumping it’s clients onto welfare.

          This can only be called deflection on a massive scale.

          • xtasy 2.1.2.1.1

            Frank – thanks for all that!

            You are doing a lot of work analysing, disecting, writing the more truthful story and presenting this. Good on you for all that!

            As for the MSM bias, I am so sick of it!

            I tried to do an on-site search on the NZ Herald website about the so secretive Principal Health Advisor Dr David Bratt (employed by MSD and working for WiNZ as the manager, supervisor and mentor of their in-house Regional Health and Disability Advisors, promoting a bias in them and doctors by presenting also pseudo scientific “evidence).

            The search result is: NIL!

            No media report about what is going on behind the scenes at MSD, WINZ and ACC, except that 60 minutes piece on hatchet doctors last year (a follow up in September on the initial expose on Bronwyn Pullar’s issues).

            It is SCANDALOUS!

      • tracey 2.1.3

        Under the last labour govt my brother-in-law had to be reassessed yearly just in case his cerebral palsy had been cured. Ruth Dyson messed around alot with folks like him, so please let’s not pretend this is National’s bogey only. Caused immense stress to his mother who had cared for him in her home for 43 years, with no financial or other govt assistance (other than his sickness benefit).

  3. vto 3

    Perhaps the Nats would like to explain how, when we are at our most wealthy in our short history pretty much, we are unable to provide jobs or activity for such a large portion of our people? Why is that? There has been plenty of time to get it sorted. There must be something seriously fundamentally flawed in our system, obviously ……..

    And why can’t we adequately feed and house everyone and keep them healthy?

    Simple questions I would have thought.

  4. xtasy 4

    As I have exposed repeatedly, we already have a rather harsh regime when it comes to work capacity testing in NZ, where the Principal Health Advisor for MSD and WINZ, a Dr David Bratt, is trying all, to tell and “indoctrinate” the public AND especially the medical professionals themselves, that benefit dependence is bad for your health, indeed as “addictive” like a drug.

    He always presents selective “scientific” findings that are coming from a school of though that is represented by people like Professor Mansel Aylward, former Department of Work and Pensions Chief Medical Officer under Thatcher in the UK, who appears to be now working on convincing Paula Bennett and senior advisors at MSD, that they must bring in harsher work testing here, similar to what they have had in the UK.

    It has all been thought out and promoted by a few key persons, who advised repeated UK governments, and who have in many cases had ties with Unum insurance company, and who worked for a medical research facility at Cardiff University, that also propagates the same kinds of thoughts and “medical findings” (certainly not shared widely amongst medical experts and scientists) ad Prof. Aylward.

    David Bratt, Principal Health Advisor for MSD and WINZ appears to have been a fan of that “experts” theories and philosophy, so he has integrated much of this in presentations he held at GP conferences, before medical trainers, at the Welfare Working Group Forum and so forth:

    http://www.gpcme.co.nz/pdf/GP%20CME/Friday/C1%201515%20Bratt-Hawker.pdf
    (see pages 13, 20 and 35, where Principal Health Advisor for MSD and WINZ, Dr David Bratt compares benefit dependence to opiate or drug dependence)

    http://www.gpcme.co.nz/pdf/GP CME/Friday/C1 1515 Bratt-Hawker.pdf

    http://www.gpcme.co.nz/pdf/2012/Fri_DaVinci_1400_Bratt_Medical%20Certificates%20are%20Clinical%20Instruments%20too%20-%20June%202012.pdf
    (see pages 3, 16 and 33 of that presentation, where Dr David Bratt compares benefit dependence with DRUG dependence)

    BUT this is about almost “ALL” the background of this supposedly “international research”:

    http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/05/31/a-tale-of-two-models-disabled-people-vs-unum-atos-government-and-disability-charities-by-debbie-joll

    “INCENTIVES” to work? WHOSE INCENTIVES, I ask??? … to make money and save costs…

  5. PlanetOrphan 5

    We need to fight back ….

    I propose a new “Asset Stripping” regime,

    We organise Demolition Parties for the Gnats’ private homes and holdings, via Facebook and text messaging, make sure we invite the local police (Coz there good at that demolition stuff)

    Sell the demolished homes on Trade Me to Oversees investors, and hay presto no more money problems for NZ !!

    Ya reckon Bully Boy English should go on the block first ?

    • Saccharomyces 5.1

      Lol, nice one! Love to see you get that off the ground!

      • PlanetOrphan 5.1.1

        You’d be amazed @ what a simple fuel air explosion can do M8!

        Just need a weed spayer and 2 liters of petrol, good old Zippo 4-5metres away’ll do the rest 😀

        Flatten a house with that one M8!

  6. geoff 6

    Approx half the working age population, 45 yrs+, has on average, a surplus of wealth and assets and the other half, those under 45, have on average a deficit of wealth and assets. This
    structural imbalance is one of the many wonderful gifts from Rogernomics that has screwed the country.

    • rosy 6.1

      It’s to be expected that +45 will have more wealth and assets. If you’ve been able to save since you began working it’s logical that you’d have more wealth and assets 25 years or so after starting out.

      The problem is how much more some people have (usually older people) and how much opportunity there remains for other people (usually younger people, but also low wage workers of any age) to build assets, because of concentration of wealth in fewer hands. And that’s “one of the many wonderful gifts from Rogernomics that has screwed the country” It’s also the gift that the current government is renewing, with bells on.

      • geoff 6.1.1

        Yes good point about older people having more wealth on average. I guess I meant that Rogernomics has exaccerbated this beyond what you would consider ‘normal’.

  7. vto 7

    Gareth Morgan, besides doing good work on behalf of our native birdies who get trashed by cats with irresponsible owners, should keep pushing his idea for a universal living allowance.

    That resolves it once and for all. We would then all together ensure we all have enough to put a roof over head and food in belly.

    This is truly the sign of a fine society. And the economy would charge along too, funnily enough ….

    • rosy 7.1

      Yip. Universal income + a living wage = policy I’d advocate for. (and bells on cats)

      • rosy 7.1.1

        oh – and how to pay for the UI? FTT & CGT & reverse the top end tax cuts.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          Plus a super-profit corporate tax level…on profits of over $100M pa.

          And a wealth tax…0.20% pa on all assets held over a total of $1M

          And an estate (death) tax…25% on everything over $1M inheritance value.

          • rosy 7.1.1.1.1

            Yip, I’d go there – and that way we can start cutting regressive taxes like GST…

            • Descendant Of Sssmith 7.1.1.1.1.1

              I still think simplifying our tax system and bring businesses and trusts in line with workers by taxing at a gross rate rather than a net rate is the easiest way to go.

              I know I seem to be the only one thinking this but I’ve worked through this in my head a number of times and have a view that this is much simpler than a financial transaction tax, leaves business expenses between the owners of a business and those running it, discourages layering of businesses to reduce tax (which would then subsequently increase productivity by not having all those subsets of businesses) and scams like Australian bank A charging it’s subsidy in NZ for it’s own name to shrink profit or the latest one IRD is looking to clamp down on having the profits appear in a low tax economy and the losses in a higher taxed one.

              We already tax at gross via GST and the world hasn’t ended.

              Banks would pay more tax than they do now. If I have to pay tax on my gross incomes I can’t see why businesses don’t.

              As it’s easier to calculate tax could be paid monthly for the previous months sales and so on.

              If you want to have a flash Christmas Party or have a corporate box at the rugby then it should have nothing to do with government but you should be answerable to you shareholders. Shareholders could concentrate on real profit and not just taxable profit where it seems minimising tax is seen as important if not more so than the profit made.

              • Colonial Viper

                ideas worth thinking about, DoS.

                • Descendant Of Sssmith

                  Here’s an earlier post where it was debated a little more:

                  http://thestandard.org.nz/tax-take-bullshit/#comment-422506

                  I’d like to find a figure for the total gross (before expenses) income for all businesses to do a rough calculation but can’t find this anywhere. I asked IRD but they didn’t know either.

                  It would seem to me to be quite simple to simply tax at say 5% of total income across every business in NZ. Every business would be on the same footing tax wise as every other business.

    • One Tāne Huna 7.2

      vto: See Campbell Live last night: the evidence presented implies that by killing (predominantly) mice and rats, cats save more birds than they kill.

      • geoff 7.2.1

        So if you managed to exterminate the mice and rats, do the cats still save more birds?

        • Rhinoviper 7.2.1.1

          “If”

          Aye, there’s the rub.

          Gareth Morgan has really overlooked the nature and scale of the rodent problem. For example, the main threat to the Kea are rats. Being ground-nesting birds, their chicks are predated by rats.

          We’ve certainly been trying to wipe out rodents, but so far cats are better at controlling them at least. Unless you’re dealing with a small isolated island and you can lay traps without new rodents moving in, so far the most effective rodent extermination tool is a cat.

          It’s anecdata I’m afraid, but in more than one case, the extermination of one exotic pest species has led to the explosion of population in another. The example I see most often is the case where cats were trapped to “save” a bird population… which promptly crashed as the other pests, formerly predated by those cats, do what they always do – reproduce and eat – destroying the birds’ habitat.

  8. Tiger Mountain 8

    Correct me if I am wrong but Blinglish plans to crush not the riceburners of young hoodies, but the remnants of freedom of association for workers as recognised by the ILO and UN, and social security for those having to seek benefits or ACC such as they remain. Mangled out of shape from their original intent.

    “Fiscal savings” is surely the “going forward” of 2013. Degrade and minimise the state and social wage. The dirty filthy tories have the Australian pressure release valve otherwise they would be in deep is all I can say.

  9. tc 9

    He could generate 1.2-1.5B p.a. if he reversed his ‘lying out of his arse’ fiscally neutral tax cut and make those can afford to contribute do so.

    Ah but that would be counter to Nat philospohy, I rich so must be good, you not so must be bad, let me just play with the games rules some more.

  10. Tanz 10

    Just went for a job working on the census, guess what, the pay is $14.00 an hour. Before tax I believe, though I could be wrong about that. I think that this is a disgraceful amount, given that it is a job, a short-term one, working for the government. Surely it is worth about $18.00 an hour, at least.
    Not all of us can be lawyers, well who wants to go back to uni in their middle age!! If I do, I will aspire to be like Judith Collins. She’s the best the Nats. have.

    • tc 10.1

      They don’t want accurate data collected as the facts are an inconvenience to them. Watch them extrapolate in lieu of hard data where it suits them.

  11. Interestingly, despite the government rhetoric about “encouraging” beneficiaries back to work, to quote Bennett, when she stated on TVNZ’s Q+A on 29 April 2012,

    “There’s not a job for everyone that would want one right now, or else we wouldn’t have the unemployment figures that we do. “

    Source: http://tvnz.co.nz/q-and-a-news/transcript-paula-bennett-interview-4856860

    So even Bennett understands the simple realities of a post 2008 global economy that has seen millions thrown onto the economic scrapheap. (So dastardly, these beneficies, sitting on the Boards of Wall St financial institutions, engineering an economic catastrophe so they could stay on welfare a wee bit longer…)

    Which means that all the National Party rhetoric and welfare “reforms” are there for only one reason; raw meat for conservative minded and low-information voters, to win the next election.

    Yup, it’s as simple as that.

    Dog-whistle politics.

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