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Tales from the precariat: AAAP

Written By: - Date published: 1:18 pm, September 13th, 2013 - 69 comments
Categories: activism, benefits, class war, health, housing, political alternatives, poverty, unemployment - Tags: ,

Auckland Action Against Poverty did another 3 days of advocacy action this week, this time in New Lynn, as explained in their pre Impact Action press release:

“At least 9 out of every 10 people seen by our advocacy service have been incorrectly or unfairly denied assistance. This ranges from being denied a benefit altogether when Work and Income have incorrectly assumed someone is living in a de facto marriage, to Work and Income not applying discretion in a case where a mother needs additional assistance for food.

“The culture of blame and suspicion which Paula Bennett has whipped up makes it near impossible for people to receive the assistance they are entitled to.”

Last year, in my report on AAAP’s similar Impact Action days in Onehunga, I stated how positive such action is for many people struggling on low incomes.

AAAP’s Facebook page links to some videos from these two weeks of action.

Sandra’s story was posted on youtube on 4 September 3013 (so before the New Lynn Impact), based on her prior experience of AAAP advocacy. Sandra had a bad back and a lumpy bed. Unable to get money for it from WINZ, she borrowed money from a money lender.  AAAP advocacy helped her to get money for this from WINZ, and pay back the money lender.

Aaron’s story was uploaded to youtube on 1 September 2013.  He is an unemployed graduate who had struggled with WINZ.  AAAP helped to get his benefit re-instated along with backpay.

An AAAP video from 11 September filmed at New Lynn WINZ:  advocates, and AAAP organisers, including Sue Bradford, give examples of the stories from people advocates have helped.  They speak of people incorrectly/illegally having their benefits cut, leaving people struggling and hungry.

A Thursday press release from AAAP focuses on “Tales of despair: from the streets of New Lynn” … Ranui … Glen Eden…

Even seasoned advocates running a beneficiary ‘impact’ outside Work
and Income in New Lynn this week have been shocked at the numbers of
people in dire need says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson
Sue Bradford.

“In the last few days we have worked with many families who are living
with constant hunger and cold, and who are having to wash all their
clothes by hand in the middle of winter.

“We’ve helped people who are seriously ill but still hounded to find
work as a ‘Job Seeker’ rather than being paid the Supported Living
Allowance they are entitled to.

“We are finding many who have been turned down for Work and Income
assistance to which they are entitled, or who are on the wrong
benefits, meaning they are trying to survive on even less money than
an already minimal welfare system allows them.

“If our experience in New Lynn this week is anything to go by,
thousands of New Zealanders of all ages are having an already marginal
existence made even tougher because of Paula Bennett’s welfare
policies and departmental inadequacies.

“On top of that, Government housing policies which have severely
reduced access to state housing mean many beneficiaries are simply
unable to find or afford decent accommodation and are living in damp,
overcrowded and filthy conditions.

“It is deeply ironic that while there is huge angst about the
difficulty middle class families have in buying a suitable home, there
is little public mention of the families living in cars, garages or
being shunted from one unsuitable situation to another.”

A left wing NZ government needs to urgently repeal Paula Benefits damaging social security “reforms” and return social security to fulfill it’s original 1930s aims.

AAAP protest

Well done AAAP!

69 comments on “Tales from the precariat: AAAP”

  1. Treetop 1

    So the government thought that throwing millions into testing (throat swabs) for rheumatic fever was the answer to prevent the condition. Decent affordable housing is what prevents rheumatic fever and being able to eat three square meals a day and being able to afford to see the GP. While on the topic of third world disease in NZ, whooping cough is claiming the life of very young babies (6 – 12 weeks).

    HNZ has become a shit hole place to rent from. I applied 2 or 3 years ago (after the new criteria)and I was told that it would take three months. The reason I have not pushed for a cheaper home is because of the poverty of many of their tenants and my health has declined and will continue to do so. Most tenants are sick and miserable or have a criminal record and many of the properties have a dirty next door yard/section or an agressive dog near by and I do not like stereo base in my face randomly. I cannot live in a stressful environment.

    Work and Income have become a shit hole place to go to for assistance and to deal with. I will not allow them to intimidate me. The last time I went to Work and Income I had an appointment and the woman who saw me said she had 6 other people to see.

    There needs to be a survey carried out on HNZ and Work and Income. Now that would be an eye opener for the uniformed.

    • Greywarbler 1.1

      The uninformed would indeed have their eyes opened, even just a fraction if they want to remain wilfully ignorant of the sad conditions that our poorly run economy has left otherwise worthy and willing workers in. The list of disadvantage goes through poor jobs, poor hours, poor opportunities, poor transport, poor housing, poor food options, poor services, poor health (with increases in prescription costs from $3 to $5 for each item, absurdly expensive for a family with multiple problems, and a high barrier before costs drop). There are low levels of happiness, which is essential for a life not just an existence, and low income with little or no discretionary income, and low levels of hope for better conditions.

      The uniformed too need to know about the awful conditions for sure, the police, the wardens and other workers, so that they don’t add extra harm to the harm that people with problems have caused to others, and the harm they have caused themselves from practices they adopt to deal with their situation.

    • bad12 1.2

      You have an objection to living anywhere near ‘the poor’???, i beg your pardon, perhaps i could intercede on your behalf and get the Minister to build you a more befitting place out Remmers way,

      There is a dead certain means of not having a neighbour’s messy yard offend your sensibilities as well, keep you nose on your side of the fence,

      i live in one, a HousingNZ property that is, it is pure luxury simply because the rent is affordable, this old girl, my Castle has been housing people like me for over 70 years, on the odd occasion where the street goes into feral mode i either lean on the gate and have a laugh at the show or turn the tv up and ignore it…

      • The Al1en 1.2.1

        “You have an objection to living anywhere near ‘the poor’???”

        I don’t think the word ‘poor’ was used.

        “or have a criminal record and many of the properties have a dirty next door yard/section or an agressive dog near by and I do not like stereo base in my face randomly”

        But scum would have sufficed.

        “i beg your pardon, perhaps i could intercede on your behalf and get the Minister to build you a more befitting place out Remmers way”

        You’d have more chance getting people to live with respect for their neighbours, though judging by some tenants, it’d be a close run thing.

        “There is a dead certain means of not having a neighbour’s messy yard offend your sensibilities as well, keep you nose on your side of the fence”

        Broken window policy for all.

        • bad12 1.2.1.1

          ”because the poverty of many of their tenants”, ring any bells in your cranial cavity ‘the alien’,

          i got stuck in my reply to you at the word ‘scum’, go look in the mirror…

          • The Al1en 1.2.1.1.1

            Look, you jumped both feet into assuming Treetop was being anti poor, which they are not. Settle down.

            “i got stuck in my reply to you at the word ‘scum’, go look in the mirror…”
            :lol:

            • bad12 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Oh i get it, that one is fully supportive of the poor but just wouldn’t want to live near any of them…

              • The Al1en

                I think it was explained in the first post…

                “and my health has declined and will continue to do so”
                “I cannot live in a stressful environment.”

                So are you picking on them for the fun of it or the idealogical desire to support ‘the poor’ , as you put it, at all costs?

                • bad12

                  i think it all might have something to do with the small fact that ‘i am’ the poor and have been for quite some time,

                  i have to in all honesty do a me to over the fact of not being able to live in a stressful enviroment, such makes me prone to acts of feral violence, closing the door and ignoring the world i find is the best medicine…

                  • The Al1en

                    Poor is relative, of course, but I’m sure many of us posting here currently are, or have been really hard up in the truest sense of the word.

                    My point, perhaps badly made (as usual) is that there aren’t any excuses for some aspects of how we live, because those poor actions are not defined by the amount of money we have.

                  • karol

                    Seems to me both of you are talking about extra stresses that people currently live with in low income areas. It also sounds like part of the stress could be removed if HNZ houses were better managed.

                    Plus, giving people a living wage, and options for engaging positively in the wider community might help, too.

                    • Treetop

                      Section 38 (1) of the 1986 Residential Tenancies Act states “The tenant shall be entitled to have quiet enjoyment of the premises …”

                    • xtasy

                      Treetop, I can relate to your issues with handling stress and unhealthy environments. Yes, there are persons with ill health who are probably more sensitive to noise, tensions, disorder and so than some others may be.

                      I do not hold it against you.

                      Re Housing NZ you are right with criticism, as they now run their BS “corporation” at the smell of an oily rag, put tenants they have into uncertainties and fear (reviews, non performance or delays in repairs and so forth), do not even renovate places properly anymore, and allow private market speculators to buy homes in “expensive” areas to make a nice profit with buying and selling. Tenants get sent letters to tell them their “market rental” “valuations”, so they feel real “guilty” for “depending” on the “honourable taxpayers” subsidising their supposedly “chosen lifestyles”.

                      Entitlement to housing has been tightened, so many on the list will likely NEVER get a proper HNZ home in future (under this government).

                      As for “quiet enjoyment”, that is the tenancy law meaning the landlord will allow the tenant to not be bothered by the landlord with unreasonable presence and pressures, it does mean nothing re the neighbours. That is where you may have to struggle with useless Council “noise control services”, which are a massive joke here in Auckland, as they never really resolve anything much anyway.

                      Once there were functioning communities in Housing NZ neighbourhoods and other neighbourhoods, but with the “reforms” in the early 1990s, that has all gone. Also look at the stats for crime sky-rocketing after 1991! Everything has a cause and effect, some ideologues confuse the two.

        • marty mars 1.2.1.2

          Why exactly are they scum allen – cos their yards are untidy, their music is too loud, they apparently have criminal records – what is it that causes you to describe them as scum?

          • The Al1en 1.2.1.2.1

            Work out and use your own definition, Marty – You don’t have to agree with my interpretation and vice versa.

            Me, I say scumbag neighbours are those who show little or no respect for others in the community.

            • marty mars 1.2.1.2.1.1

              lol – like those who go around calling others scum.

              • The Al1en

                “lol – like those who go around calling others scum.”

                If you like, well done. ;)

              • Greywarbler

                marty mars
                lol – like those who go around calling others scum.

                Are you determined to start a fight over who is the poorest or whether people have the right to want something better than the pits? Do you actually care about people in poor conditions, and the problems they have with people who are not in control of their lives, care nothing for others and are unpleasant people to live near to?

                What good comes from fighting with people having a tough time or knowing others who are. What improvement does that bring? It’s just senseless and anger is wasted energy that is needed for action to improve conditions.

                • I don’t like someone calling other people scum for no good reason (music, tidiness or whether it is believed that they have a criminal record) – that is my beef with allen. Do you think he was right to call them scum?

                  • the pigman

                    marty mars – aliens was interceding because bad12 had decided to misconstrue Treetop’s dislike for being surrounded by antisocial behaviour. I think aliens was probably trying to draw his attention to the distinction between the poor who do not display antisocial behaviour, and those who do. You might object to the binary and defend the ferals (do you like this word better than scum?) on the basis that their antisocial behaviour is a symptom of their poverty, but that is lowering the bar a little too far I’m afraid.

                    • ferals are not the same as scum – in fact I’ve got a lot of feral in me. Allen added his little toxic bit in and that is what I objected to. I have no issue with what treetop was saying and fully appreciate how difficult the situation can be. To me calling them scum is equivalent to calling beneficiaries bludgers. It is just a blanket derogatory term that dehumanises people, often people who actually are not that bad.

                    • The Al1en

                      “Allen added his little toxic bit in and that is what I objected to.”

                      No, you’re twisting it and spinning bullsh*t because your prejudice and pre conceived ideology got the better of you.

                      That’s not the way to go about things, comrade.

                    • “or have a criminal record and many of the properties have a dirty next door yard/section or an agressive dog near by and I do not like stereo base in my face randomly”

                      But scum would have sufficed.

                      ummm that’s what you said numbnuts – my response was pretty subdued I thought

                      Why exactly are they scum allen – cos their yards are untidy, their music is too loud, they apparently have criminal records – what is it that causes you to describe them as scum?

                      Can’t see any twisting there – is it down the page a bit?

                    • The Al1en

                      “ummm that’s what you said numbnuts – my response was pretty subdued I thought”

                      I know what I wrote, and yeah, most of us will know of the sort of people that have in this thread been more appropriately and quite properly described/classified as anti social. They’re scum bags all right.
                      Your response, predictable and ever so ‘right on’ left wing, places the rights, moral or otherwise, of this type of tenant/home owner, despite all their wrong doing, above those poor sods having to live amongst them. Indeed, you said, and I quote “often people who actually are not that bad.”.

                      Now of course not all people with untidy gardens and criminal records are scum, but that was never the issue, and I dare say you know it.

                      “Can’t see any twisting there – is it down the page a bit?”

                      But you don’t deny spinning bullshit. ;)

                      Edit…
                      And now you’re fighting a one man epeen, inet weeing contest with yourself because you can’t/won’t accept you didn’t think it through before you took the default position of defend and attack.
                      Seriously, do better, or wear the fake tag yourself ;)

                    • “Now of course not all people with untidy gardens and criminal records are scum” then why call them that or are you just going to bullshit some more cos you’re bored. Just take it on the chin, as you said you often badly make your points – I accept that and I’ll let it go :)

                      Edit: Ha! Thought the fake bit might break the skin – maybe flake was better, less painful for your ego lol

                    • The Al1en

                      “Now of course not all people with untidy gardens and criminal records are scum” then why call them that or are you just going to bullshit some more cos you’re bored. Just take it on the chin, as you said you often badly make your points – I accept that and I’ll let it go :)

                      You’ll let it go :lol: No doubt, you’ll want it all to be forgotten, never to be mentioned again, funny that.
                      Don’t play if you can’t lose, my old fella used to say.

                      Point made badly or not is up for debate, but it’s quite clear the type of tenant we’re talking about here, and I’m not alone in conjuring the mental image.
                      Like I wrote earlier, you can defend their rights to make peoples lives a misery, in fact, you should make your case and stand by it, but anyone who’s lived next door to one of them will know you’re talking bull and are full of sh*t.

                      Now you can quote from here ’til sunday and back again, with all manner of sage commentary to go with it, but it changes nothing. Some people are scumbags. This is a fact. Living near them is a nightmare, and decent folk deserve better. Argue contrary if you must.

                      Edit…
                      “Edit: Ha! Thought the fake bit might break the skin – maybe flake was better, less painful for your ego lol”

                      Love me or hate me, what you see is what you get. I’ve never been called a fake before, well not by any one that’s been able to back themselves up.
                      If it were me that had said it, I wouldn’t have bought it up again unless I had the proof to make it stick, credibility and all that ;)

                    • your making your point badly again allen – come on get your shit together will you

                      btw what exactly is a ‘decent folk’

                      hint – you don’t have to quote my whole reply back – I can follow the conversation and it just clutters everything terribly

                      edit – I very surprised no one has called you a fake before – just goes to show doesn’t it

                    • The Al1en

                      “your making your point badly again allen – come on get your shit together will you

                      btw what exactly is a ‘decent folk’

                      hint – you don’t have to quote my whole reply back – I can follow the conversation and it just clutters everything terribly”

                      I think you’ve had enough for now, ’cause you’re oozlum birding it, somewhat :lol:

                      “marty mars …
                      13 September 2013 at 8:53 pm
                      Get fucked wanker”

                      That’s pretty classless, I can do a lot better. ;)
                      https://soundcloud.com/theal1en/one-plus-one

                    • yeah it was but class is so overrated

                      Edit – I don’t mind your music – that was quite good

                    • bad12

                      the pig-man, from a re-read of what treetop wrote in his/her first comment i misconstrue nothing,

                      Your defence of alien is pathetic, whereas treetop gives every impression of not wanting to live near those in poverty for a stated list of reasons, your mate alien takes this to a whole new level of insult by inserting the word ‘scum’,

                      If you think alien’s first comment was anything to do with making distinctions i suggest you need get at least your eyes checked,

                      it is HousingNZ’s mission to house the mad,bad,and plain sad and in my opinion they do the best they can with only half a set of tools and far too few houses which obviously means that the more timid among the clientele are more likely to end up face to face with the above,

                      Alien’s claim that there should be some form of ‘broken windows policy’ would tend to suggest that ‘it’ thinks that tenants should be given the kick for such ‘crimes’ as having a messy yard,

                      A grand idea with the result being that instead of offending some sensitive souls sensibilities such people will end up back on the streets where many of them come from doing a lot more damage than simply having a messy yard…

                    • The Al1en

                      “yeah it was but class is so overrated

                      Edit – I don’t mind your music – that was quite good”

                      Thanks very much, I just wish I could sing and play.
                      I wrote it the day a f*ckwit scumbag, going well over the 40k school zone speed limit, nearly rear ended me outside the school at pick up time, and who then objected to getting the finger by offering me out for a fight, in front of my daughter and all the other mums and dads, like a big twelve year old kid.
                      A bit of a chat later, by the time we were done, his passenger was laughing so much at him, this clown was so angry, when he took off doing a burnout he slid into the kerb and popped his tire.
                      F*cked how I drove home in a straight line as I stopped and gave him the last line of the song for his troubles. :lol:

                    • The Al1en

                      “Alien’s claim that there should be some form of ‘broken windows policy’ would tend to suggest that ‘it’ thinks that tenants should be given the kick for such ‘crimes’ as having a messy yard,”

                      I’d be happier if you’re gonna quote me or use my name to make a point, you at least try and read and understand what I’ve written instead of just making it up or lying :lol:

                    • xtasy

                      With much grief, once again, I see the poor, disowned, downtrodden, stressed out tending to argue and fight amongst each other. This is exactly the result of the kind of government and the divisive policies we have, and this is exactly what Key, English, rotten Paula Bennett and their (financial stakeholder) backers want to happen. Divide and rule, that is their motto.

                      Perhaps reflect, a functioning society needs debate and clearing the air at times, but in the end, sufficient unity and solidarity will the be only way to defeat the crap to drives us all to stress, depression, tension and despair.

                      Sometimes we need to agree to disagree, but live and let live also.

                  • The Al1en

                    “I don’t like someone calling other people scum for no good reason (music, tidiness or whether it is believed that they have a criminal record) – that is my beef with allen. Do you think he was right to call them scum?”

                    Go on, empathise with and support the type of inconsiderate low life scumbags that make some people prisoners in their own homes.
                    We know they exist, what’s wrong in calling it like it is?
                    Too un pc, or too close for home? :lol:

                    Oh, and get over yourself and harden the f up, as the natives, figuratively speaking say. ;)

                  • Greywarbler

                    marty mars
                    Do you think there are people in the world who deserve to be called scum? If not do you have a bottom line for behaviour that you will tolerate? And how many times would you allow such other people to limit or take from you either things or your money or your secure personal space, or the people or pets you love, or your security, or your self-respect etc? Because that is what people called scum do?

                    • Scum are key and his exploitative mates that encourage substandard housing, inadequate income and deprivation on those most at need – that is my definition and example of scum.

                  • karol

                    Well said xtasy @12.12 am

                    Maybe others should take a note of his important points, and calm down a little – look at the bigger picture and how things can be made better and we can all learn a bit about learning to live together.

                    What xtasy said:

                    With much grief, once again, I see the poor, disowned, downtrodden, stressed out tending to argue and fight amongst each other. This is exactly the result of the kind of government and the divisive policies we have, and this is exactly what Key, English, rotten Paula Bennett and their (financial stakeholder) backers want to happen. Divide and rule, that is their motto.

                    Perhaps reflect, a functioning society needs debate and clearing the air at times, but in the end, sufficient unity and solidarity will the be only way to defeat the crap to drives us all to stress, depression, tension and despair.

                    Sometimes we need to agree to disagree, but live and let live also.

        • Greywarbler 1.2.1.3

          Cripes Bad12 Give someone a bit of leeway to say what they honestly feel. And what is real and important for them in their situation, though it’s not the same for you. There is not a case for giving Treetop a hard time, you sound as judgmental as some of the officious government workers must sound to people having troubles. Have a bit of empathy, it isn’t just about whether you are satisfied or can tolerate what you have.

      • Treetop 1.2.2

        I rented with HNZ from 1986 until 2000. There has been a steady decline in the maintenance and availability of the properties. It costs money to dump rubbish and mow the lawn. When I talk about a “dirty next door yard/section” I am talking about dumped furniture and dog poo not picked up for weeks. Some HNZ properties do not have fences.

        I have an objection to the government not supplying enough fit to live in affordable homes. It is about time that this changed.

        • The Al1en 1.2.2.1

          Make no mistake, there’s plenty of rich folk who are scumbag, neighbours.
          Being poor isn’t a prerequisite for the mantle.

          • Treetop 1.2.2.1.1

            I knew that some people who rent from HNZ may take offence to my comment and that some people may have a field day.

            Just because rental is low there is no excuse for the governments maintenance to be poor or to have a critical shortage of properties.

            I always laugh when a person quotes you when a spelling mistake has been made e.g. bass.

            • The Al1en 1.2.2.1.1.1

              “Just because rental is low there is no excuse for the governments maintenance to be poor or to have a critical shortage of properties.”

              Quite right, just as there are no excuses for some tenants to make life miserable for their neighbours, HNZ or otherwise.

            • bad12 1.2.2.1.1.2

              A hint: check out the property thoroughly befor you accept the lease, then you will see if the neighbours leave s**t all over the lawns etc,

              Make up a little narrative befor you go looking, ”Hi i am your new neightbour blah blah” sort of thing and check out your neighbours either side, if you don’t like the scary facial tatt’s, the kids beating each other with heavy blunt instruments, or the cat chewing up the dog,

              Say no thanks to HousingNZ and wait in the line again…

              • Treetop

                Hard to check out a complex with 10 – 20 units, this is the unhealthy cheap direction that HNZ are heading in.

                Irrespective of where I live, if I know that family violence is occurring, I will contact the police, as I would not like it on my conscience were a serious injury or a death to occur, especially an innocent child.

  2. Greywarbler 2

    I haven’t heard of Sue Bradford for a while but felt sure that she would be active at the coalface. She is better doing what she is now drawing attention to the dire conditions that some are suffering so she can report the painful facts.

    I hope that AAAP has enough money to continue with this because the Three Monkey Denial practice that the NACT government wants to apply to difficulties they want to ignore, is particularly potent when looking at Welfare in Poorer Benefit’s Patch. (The 3 Monkeys have their hands, over their eyes, mouths, and ears to ensure they Know Nothing.) Perhaps Sue could let us know how AAAP are situated financially themselves.

    • karol 2.1

      I don’t know how AAAP are doing funding-wise. But their website asks for donations and other forms of support.

      AAAP is a collection of Beneficiaries, Community Activists, Academics, Students, Trade Unionists and members of the Church community. Getting involved can be as easy as contributing some funds, but we really need people to join us organising against National government reforms. Administration, Media, Action planning, flyering, picketing, outreach- we need help with all of these.

      If you want to get involved email us at contact(at)aaap.org.nz and let us know how you would like to contribute. We try to support one another as much as we can in upskilling, so if something specific interests you, you can let us know as well. If you’re not sure what you would like to do but want to keep updated send an email to our contact email saying you would like to subscribe to our email list.

      Donation notice down the bottom right of the web page.

  3. Rosie 3

    Thank you karol for your report. It’s great to be informed about these actions happening around the country.

    Hearing those stories made me feel a bit teary, but also angry that people who are struggling and/or in crisis are treated with such contempt and indifference. Such treatment is degrading and no one should have to bear the loss of their dignity on top of circumstances in their life that are beyond their control.

    The volunteers that make up AAAP are true angels doing crucial work. It’s a sad reflection on the state of our welfare system that they have to exist.

  4. Mary 4

    “A left wing NZ government needs to urgently repeal Paula Benefits damaging social security “reforms” and return social security to fulfill it’s original 1930s aims.”

    Too true, just a pity it’s not Labour’s policy to do this. For this reason we need to continue to expose Labour as a party that does not look after the poor, and hope that the Mana/Green presence within a coalition is strong enough to stand up to Labour’s refusal to do anything about poverty in New Zealand. We need to publicly abandon any hope that Labour is a caring party, instead of treading around carefully hoping not to show a divided left. When it comes to social security Labour is not a left-wing party. It’s time we told the truth about this and let Labour persuade us through action that this isn’t the case, if it can.

  5. xtasy 5

    Yes, some shocking news is trickling through from AAAP and their experiences in New Lynn, and the most scary stuff about it is, that so many affected do not dare to raise their voices, and that many do not even know their rights and entitlements.

    Our so “hard working” Principal Health Advisor” for MSD and WINZ has most recently been avoiding making comparisons between benefit dependence and drug dependence, but he continues unchallenged (by his employers) and unimpressed by any criticism – with his “therapeutic work” and “work will set you free” kind of agenda.

    Here is Dr David Bratt with some of his newest “presentations” – that he gave to GP conferences not long ago. He has been “updating” his so “informative” propaganda on the “health benefits” of paid work on the open market, and included details about the new welfare reforms that are being put into practice now:

    http://www.conference.co.nz/files/docs/gp13/1100%20-%20cs3-a%20-%20happy%20docs%20true%20generalism%20with%20welfare%20reform%20-%20david%20bratt.pdf

    Dr Bratt and Professor Aylward joining forces to push the pseudo medical science propaganda:

    “Shifting Your Primary Focus to Health and Capacity”

    http://www.gpcme.co.nz/pdf/WS%20142%20Bratt%20-%20Shifting%20Your%20Primary%20Focus%20to%20Health%20and%20Capacity.pdf

    Watch the duo Bratt and Aylward defend their agenda promoting the “health benefits of work”, in an interview with Lucy Ratcliffe from ‘NZ Doctor’:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPNqBJ4n-x0

    P.S.: I am not sure whether it is mentioned in one of the presentations the links above lead to, or in another one, but not so long ago I saw one where Bratt strongly suggests, that there are now “Special Needs Grants” available for longer lasting contraceptive measures (implants or so), so women can access them and now become more “attractive” for the job market, more “work ready”, by avoiding the “risk” of getting pregnant!

    • Mary 5.1

      xtasy – Are there any statistics that show that while the number of people receiving benefits has increased the average amount each of those individuals receives has decreased? This would be a damning rebuttal to Bennett et al who constantly rely on the total spend as showing how “generous” our social security benefit system is.

      • xtasy 5.1.1

        Mary – good question. I have no information on that, and I suppose it is not readily available. Some research may be worth doing in this area. But it will be hard to establish, as most benefit recipients will receive various components, being the base rate – plus top ups for accommodation, temporary additional support, for in some cases still special benefit (where some may have continued to get it without interruption, since it has been replaced by TAS), and also for disability allowance.

        The Ministry is playing a lot of “smoke and mirror games” with such figures, and realising that so many individuals will have different circumstances, there is no real chance to get a clear enough set of figures to prove that less is being paid per person on average. The standard answer to OIA requests is often, that “such information is not centrally collected or recorded”, it is instead “kept in individual client files”. The Ministry then usually refuses information, as they claim it will be too costly and time consuming to collate such information, which is enough for a legally valid reason for them to not supply it.

        Only by adding up all total benefit components, by adding up all benefit recipients and then comparing such figures year by year, may one get some hint of a “trend”.

        What I know for sure is, that over the last year or two, at least about a couple of thousands have been “culled” from the former invalid’s benefit.

        There will also be many former sickness beneficiaries pressured into some forms of work over the coming years, but as they will be a new “sub group” in the new Jobseeker Support group, on whom too little detail of info will be made available, it will be hard to track, how many will shift from “deferred” Jobseekers (too sick to work) to no longer deferred Jobseekers (those “fit” for work). I suggest those interested send in as many OIA requests as they see fit to shine light on all this in coming months and years.

        • Mary 5.1.1.1

          I wonder if it isn’t as simple as adding the total amount spent across all benefits paid under the legislation, including add-ons etc, comparing that figure with previous years, and then matching each year’s total with the corresponding number of people in the benefit system? The question could be along the lines of an average per capita spend on all benefits under the Act, compared across previous years. There’d be a need to take account of certain tax credits like Working for Families paid under the Tax Act and perhaps one or two other things but I suppose my point is that it mightn’t need to be too complex ascertaining some sort of average spend per capita compared over previous years?

          • xtasy 5.1.1.1.1

            Mary – many may also be working part time and only get parts of their benefits week to week, and with employment, part time and full time fluctuating, it would make it difficult to argue any case, based on beneficiaries being underpaid so to say. There are too many scenarios and variables at play.

            What is a fact is, that beneficiaries have for so many years been ill advised by at least some case managers, or not being told about all their entitlements, it is nothing really new of a problem. What is new, is the amount of pressure put on case managers, also now doctors and therefore beneficiaries affected, to first try and prove there is no work for them, to prove they are sick and disabled and incapacitated enough, to “deserve” any benefit or top up.

            Hence the worsening feed back that AAAP and advocates have received.

            • Mary 5.1.1.1.1.1

              “There are too many scenarios and variables at play.”

              But if all the variables have always been present in both the past periods and at the present time then wouldn’t it mean we’re comparing apples with apples? The issue I’m raising is simply one of comparing average welfare spend per capita over various periods? Am I being a little naive here by missing something obvious?

  6. tinfoilhat 6

    More power to you Sue and AAAP you are doing wonderful work for those most in need.

    I look forward to the happy day when you’re no longer needed.

  7. Treetop 7

    A minority have assumed that some of my neighbours are not struggling students, single parents, on the supported living benefit, aged or terminally unwell, that from time to time the odd neighbour is not on home detention, that there are not old couches, microwaves, car parts in the yard or dumped bags of rotting rubbish on the street not picked up for weeks (not in a regulation bag) unless I ring up.

    In my initial comment I stated “HNZ has become a shit hole place to rent from.” “Work and Income have become a shit hole place to go to for assistance and to deal with.”

    How dare I think that I should have an expectation that the government increases their housing stock, provides the size of housing required, and when required to have the necessary maintenance or repairs carried out on a property.

    Every time a person rings or goes into Work and Income or HNZ, how dare they think that they should have an expectation to be treated respectfully and assisted. This can also be said for dealing with ACC or the DHB.

    I set out with an intended objective to highlight how out of touch with poverty HNZ and Work and Income are and that immediate change is required.

    • Mary 7.1

      “I set out with an intended objective to highlight how out of touch with poverty HNZ and Work and Income are and that immediate change is required.”

      I agree entirely. Just don’t expect Labour to want to do anything about fixing anything for beneficiaries. As David Shearer made clear, “Labour is a party for workers”.

  8. myrlock 8

    Social Housing is changing now. Social Housing will be tiny little cells in concrete blocks.
    Housing Corp properties, the quarter acre section ones, are being sold off and are unavailable to most New Zealanders now.

    • Murray Olsen 8.1

      Your sense of entitlement is unbelievable. Concrete is far too expensive. Social housing will be built of cardboard.

  9. AsleepWhileWalking 9

    @Treetop

    Hope you are still checking in on this thread!!

    I understand about the need to live in a home away from stressful environments and the issues with HNZ. Suggest you try to apply through Keys Social Housing (I believe a division of Pathways). This is my recommendation because the application process is less stressful as they help house mental health consumers so they understand why you need as opposed to “want”:

    - a quiet neighbourhood where you feel safe
    - close to supports (eg transport and doctor, other relatives)

    Better yet Keys manage the tenancy. I know you are ALREADY in HNZ housing but please look into it, ok?

    Many blessings, xo

    • Treetop 9.1

      When you have a physical debilitating health condition which is uncommon, it does take a lot of my energy just to have this managed and properly diagnosed. (Oh how I argue and have argued with clinicians to the point where I have knicked name the DHB the freak show). I try to live as independently as I can and living close to the CBD enables me to do this.

      I rent privately and have resided where I reside for nearly 13 years. I do not see any advantage in living in social housing as there is a time limit and some people may not like young children making noise. As well I do not need to be managed by a social worker/community agency and the system they have to work with, STINKS.

      Ideally HNZ needs to go back to what is tried and true as this is what flourished, with some modifications e.g one bedroom dwellings on the flat.

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