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The Pernicious Food Card

Written By: - Date published: 6:05 pm, August 16th, 2011 - 72 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, cost of living, welfare - Tags: , , ,

Food Cards already exist and are charged up when applications are made for food grants. As it stands at present, the money charged on them can be spent at supermarkets; must be spent within 3 or 4 days and cannot be used to purchase cigarettes or alcohol.

If, as seems likely, loading a proportion of benefit directly on to a food card is rolled out and applied to all beneficiaries, the consequences are going to be significant additional hardships for many people.

Here’s why.

Food grants  can be applied for if an unforseen expense such as the cost of taking an injured pet to the vet for treatment – or paying out money due to some other emergency has occured.

In other words, the food grant is a mechanism whereby hunger can be avoided in instances where money for food has had to be used on other things.(Receipts, proof of money in bank, proof of where money was spent  etc are required by WINZ.)

Simply put, where the cost of food is ring fenced, there is no financial  lee-way to react to life’s unforseen circumstances.

So the pet suffers or dies and the other emergency (whatever it might be) rolls right on over the top of the person on a benefit because they have no room to manouvere; no way to deal to to it or stop it in it’s tracks.

Labour quietly condoning the changes by not confronting them is particularily sickening. Changes to welfare are not about jobs. Changes to welfare are about the very real and immediate effects on the lives of those on a benefit. (Oh, and on 2009 figures, WINZ saving about $81 million on the Special Needs Grants proportion of the over 1 million hardship payments made in that year)

72 comments on “The Pernicious Food Card”

  1. An essential immediate need which is unforeseen is the SNG criteria.

    I have been told by WINZ that home contents insurance was not essential, in other words had I not paid this I would have had $25.32 for food. A pet is probably considered as being non essential.

    • Bill 1.1

      The point (as things currently stand) isn’t whether the pet is essential. The food is.

      And so if you have spent your money on (say) a vet’s bill, you have created an essential need which could not be foreseen insofar as you didn’t know your cat or dog was going to need to be rushed to the vet.

      But if your food money is locked into a card, then you can’t apply for food grants…they won’t exist… and so you can’t take care of your pet or whatever because you’ll have no budget to juggle.

      • freedom 1.1.1

        food grants are written as seperate entitlements in the act and would have to be specifically removed as an entitlement. This process normally brings the issue under a few people’s noses who would be concerned if this is being planned. It used to be $150-$200 a year of specified SNG for entitlements to food. Dentistry is $300 and clothing is $200. The figures may have changed a bit but the speficity of the entitlement has not .. .. .. yet.

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          I think your missing the point Freedom. If it is impossible to designate the food component of your benefit to other expenses because it’s locked into a card, then you can’t very well go to WINZ and say you have an immediate need for food.

          So you can’t deal with unforseen financial necessities.

          Dentistry and clothing are very different kettles of fish. They aren’t weekly outgoings. And so don’t lend themselves to any ‘budgetary flexibility’ in the way that a need for food does.

          • freedom 1.1.1.1.1

            i agree 100% it is such an unworkable fantasy

            I was not disputing the gamut of problems this tragic policy exposes, i was wanting to show that there are factors i suspect National is being selectively attentive to.

            This policy from National says life is a regimented consistent pattern
            and that is seventeen types of horseshit

            the food concern is the same for all rent and all bills. Many landlords allow a bit of swing time now and then, and i am sure many of us enjoyed that particular luxury once or twice in our younger years. The same with the power companies, phone etc.

            The plan may look great on paper but outside of state controlled work camps the ‘budgets’ of any person’s week are usually redundant before implementation.

            As there will be the food component on the card, there is also an open entitlement for food under SNG that cannot be denied you. It is an entitlement. Power, phone car repairs for example are not and are always on a case by case assesment. The Food , dentistry, clothing components of the entitlement are for health requirements as i understand it.

            • Bill 1.1.1.1.1.1

              You completely lose me when you claim that it is possible to claim an SNG for food when there is a specific non-transferrable dollar amount loaded onto a food card every week.

              How can I claim I have “an immediate need to purchase food” that “was caused by an essential expense that had to be met and which left insufficient money to buy food.” [11.2.1 (a)] & [11.2.1 (c)] respectively of the legislation which can be viewed at http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/manuals-and-procedures/legislation/welfare_programmes/SpecialNeedsGrantsProgramme.pdf if an amount of money deemed necessary to purchase food has been ringfenced and put on a card?

              They don’t have to repeal the food component of SNG legislation. Nobody on a pre loaded food card can possibly satisfy the requirements set down in the legislation.

              • freedom

                honestly Bill, i do get what you mean, i do! I am not saying the person will be able to access extra food money, i agree with you they most likely are fubar on that front. I am saying, in my understanding from my own experiences, there is a legal entitlement in the act for food that is seperate to emergency SNG’s. The fact that the policy apparently fails to adhere to the act or at best makes it unworkable is tough to pass final judgement on, as we have deliberately been given flimsy info and no-one in power deems it important that we have too many details.

                Why not? Because they are still making them up, as usual.

                Modern government is a pathetic and cowardly cabal of policy whores who work any corner that feeds their habit for power and time in the limelight. Once they hear a bit of feedback they will tweak the hem, zip it all up, spit polish the stilettoes and then it’s off to hit Election Avenue. They will work hard too, blowing any John with a prejudice and making sure the pimps get phat paid in bail outs and bonuses.

                • Bill

                  A food SNG doesn’t sit seperate from the other emergency SNGs.

                  • freedom

                    Bill it has obviously been changed along the way the last couple of years, and as your link shows in the recent manual Food grants are under SNG as a non-recoverable grant, but it still exists as a quantifiable event with its own criteria. So at least the right to claim for it still exists. As we both touch on though, with the little cloth star, i mean little green card, the question for those wanting to lodge a claim, is HOW?

          • Deadly_NZ 1.1.1.1.2

            But first you have to get an appointment with winz and with the way that staff have been slashed, it’s about a 10 day wait. So it means that they will be able to say there are NO emergency payments, because how can you make an appointment for an emergency 10 days hence.

            • Bill 1.1.1.1.2.1

              If you are seeking a food SNG, WINZ have to see you on the day you turn up. They don’t like the fact that you don’t need an appointment for a food SNG and will usually try to get you to make one. Which, as you say, is ridiculous.

              So in short, if you need a food SNG, you turn up at the desk, ‘report in’ and then sit down to wait to be seen. And they must see you that day. Given their workload, that can be a long wait, but hey.

      • Treetop 1.1.2

        I did understand that there is no flexibility for an emergency with food loaded on a card.

        I had to ask the case worker to repeat that home contents insurance was not considered as being essential.

        I would like to see the SNG Programme of what is considered as being an essential item. Same with the list for an advance. Everything is capped as well. As well the minister can issue a directive.

        Litigation is going to increase and legal aid is harder to get. It will be interesting to see what decisions come out of the Appeal Authority.

        • Ed 1.1.2.1

          I wonder how many of those uninsured in Christchurch when the earthquakes hit had been advised not to pay an insurance premium by WINZ. If this really happened wouldn’t we have heard of it?

          • Treetop 1.1.2.1.1

            ED this happened to me three months ago. Basically you ask for an amount for food out of the set amount everyone is allocated and they are now knocking down the amount you ask for. I asked for $70 and they knocked it down to $40 when I had a food grant balance of $150 being available at DISCRETION.

            My word against the case worker.

            Deadly NZ if I ever hear something so bloody minded as home contents not being necessary I will ask for this to be put into writing.

        • Deadly_NZ 1.1.2.2

          If they said I did not need Home contents insurance, I would want that in writing, and then I would take it to the insurance company, your local MP, and the papers.

      • weka 1.1.3

        Where there will be leeway is that people don’t spend necessarily the same amount of money on food every week. This week happens to be the week I have to catch up on staples, so I need extra money.
         
        I agree the card looks like it’s going to cause problems for the food SNGs though.
         
        (how does the govt know what each 17 yr old needs for food each week anyway? Won’t it vary from person to person?).

        • bbfloyd 1.1.3.1

          you forget that these aren’t “real” people.. they have been reclassified as “acceptable collateral damage”..

          honestly guys… what do we need well adjusted, healthy youth for if they are just going to be road gang and prison fodder of the future?

          the only ones worth caring about are the ones coming out of “naice” schools.. who’s parents are the “job growers” for the ingrates getting trained for tomorrows service and maintenance sectors.

        • Bill 1.1.3.2

          I believe there was a study done at Otago Uni in the very early 90’s that calculated the necessary minimum food spend for a person. The then National government took that figure and reduced it by a given % (20…30…can’t remember) to work out the dollar amount for food that should be built into benefits.

          Funnily enough, Labour never reversed that ‘starvation diet’ policy.

  2. What happens if your flat mates eats your food or you get robbed?

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      All part of the massive daily insecurity of living on the edge.

      Plenty of people out there couldn’t care less if they got a $100 speeding fine. They make that money back before it hits morning tea. For some other people that sets their whole month back, game over.

      Constant state of insecurity and fear. Fucks people up that does.

      • jackal 2.1.1

        Why don’t beneficiaries get jobs… Oh! That’s right, there aren’t any.

      • Deadly_NZ 2.1.2

        Yeah I have a 200 buck one for no rego and I don’t have 200 and I don’t have the 77 for 3 months rego well 19 for the rego and about 50 bucks to that rip off ACC BUT it does have a WOF. And I have to use my car to get my 3 month old son to hospital in Palmy, and I am in levin so it’s the car, or a draughty van with no child safety seats

        • millsy 2.1.2.1

          You have National to thank for that.

          Bill Birch could only pay for those tax cuts back in 1996 by closing down hundreds of provincial hospitals.

          I think there is a form you can fill out to extend your rego date, so you can get around the full 3 months – I think the colour is yellow…

    • You starve.

      After all somehow it must be your fault, or at least a tory wants to have the ability to think it is your fault so they can feel justified in paying less tax. 

      • Bill 2.2.1

        Nah mickeysavage. See, I detest what the Nats are doing with welfare. And tax. And all the rest of it. But I’m sick and tired of Labour and or Labour apologists side stepping this specific issue (via Tory bashing or harping on about job creation) and refusing to state a position.

        As far as I can see Labour agree with National on this. Both parties are saying that the unemployed can starve. Only difference is, Labour say there will be slightly fewer starving under them, but starving just the same.

        • mickysavage 2.2.1.1

          Bill

          I thought I just stated a position.

          Labour did not increase benefit levels but it did increase education spend, health spend, Social Welfare spend, other spends that help poor people.  

          There is a major difference in approach.  It is really noticeable

          • Deadly_NZ 2.2.1.1.1

            True you used to be able to get an appointment within a day, with someone who was much more helpful, and way less under`worked, than the ones that are left after the razor gang went through. Now it’s more like them and us.

          • Bill 2.2.1.1.2

            mickey. Labour reduced benefit levels.

            Benson Pope replaced Supplementary Benefit with Temporary Additional Support, which was the biggest single cut to benefits since Ruth Richardson.

            And when they introduced Working For Families, they specifically excluded beneficiaries from the scheme.

            It’s true that they didn’t introduce discriminatory caveats alongside their increased spending in health and education though.

            Labour could have attacked this new policy head on very easily (just read some of the comments below) and flanked the Nats position by pointing out their cuts to training and night classes as well as their dismal performance on the job creation front etc.

            But as far as I’m aware they have said nothing on the matter of ringfencing food money and the impacts that will have now and are likely to have in the future if and when the scheme is rolled out to all beneficiaries.

            Is there any reasonable conclusion to be reached, based on Labour’s announcements around this policy, that they are anything other than broadly supportive of it? Since they have said nothing directly to the policy, they must agree with it, no?

  3. freedom 3

    The very busy community loan shops are going to hate this plan
    that is assuming they are not authorised to receive payments
    which is logical seeing as corner dairies, market gardeners and greengrocers won’t be authorised

    Which is funny when the whole idea is to teach responsible use of finances
    yet National are forcing the poorst to buy high price supermarket fruit and veges
    or are cheap fruit & veg a nice to have

    and do not for a second believe this will not be rolled out to be worn on the lapel of every beneficiary
    first day’s work I bet, if National steal a second term

    • Bill 3.1

      Loan shops will get their pound of flesh and then some….as usual. Debt repayments will be ‘paid from source’ if I understand the current plan for 17 and 18 year olds correctly.

      And when they roll out this shit to encompass all beneficiaries, the food card component (as I said) will leave no room to ‘work finances’. And the financial hole that is currently merely beckoning will simply open up beneath peoples’ feet. Many will wind up having their benefit ‘managed’ by a private provider.

      And if those people took out a loan for a situation where previously a food grant and/or ‘a bit less food this week and not so much next week’ would have covered things, or at least taken the edge off ; that private provider/manager will see that the loan is repayed as a priority.

    • just saying 3.2

      Nope.

      Not for superannuitants (who get about $100 per week more than all other benes plus all the top-ups and no means testing) students with interest-free loans, or middle-class receiving working for families (a much bigger slice of the welfare budget than all other benefits outside of super). Can’t imagine Peter Jackson will be affected next time he puts his hand out for a couple of hundie thou either

      This is a straight-out hate campaign against the poorest, weakest, most disadvantaged.
      The benefits are not designed to help people survive with any kind of basic health or dignity. In the long, or even medium term, “managing” on a benefit with no other means of support can’t be done.
      It’s slow death.

      Kicking beneficiaries is NZ’s real national sport. If there were a world cup it would be a sell-out.

      • mickysavage 3.2.1

        Agreed.

        In financial terms it is small cheese but it is part of this incremental approach the Key Government has.  It allows them to stand up and blow the dog whistle really hard and sound like they are bene bashing.  Not many benes will be bashed by this particular policy but this does not matter.

        Any bene blood will allow the sanctimonious rich feel like something is happening to reinforce their belief that they are superior and the poor are things that you have to despise and put up with. 

  4. neoleftie 4

    on second consideration..the underclass have gone from little choice or opportunities to a potential scheme that locks unemployed youth into no choice and no gain in opportunities i.e job growth. From an underclass now simple to a defined no-class as they have limited freedom of choice.The The question to be asked is what objective in the long term does the tories seek, what societal change?
    Seen through an ideological pair of deep red glasses this is nothing more than another policy based on purely business objectives i.e lock in regular payments on rent power etc and punish those of the underclass.
    How about increased funding to special needs programs at the ECE stage of education and then a raft of social programs to actively change or increase the chances of gaining positive choice or opportunities.
    After all the elites never have to worry to much as the are basically conditioned from an early age how to maxmaise opportunities.

  5. A lot of the proposed policy is to keep people at school until age 18 or at home with sometimes neglectful parents. Supplying breakfast in schools just may be a big insentive to stay in school.

    The first three years and the last three years of childhood appears to require the most resources.

    See that SCF may go over 1.2 billion for the bail out as a lower return is now expected for the assests. How many breakfasts and training schemes in schools to keep some youth at school longer would the bail out money have funded?

  6. William Joyce 6

    I don’t know if it’s true but I heard that if you want clothing you’re locked into buying from the “Warewhare” (Warehouse!).
    Soon you will be able to spot the underclass by the clothes they wear.
     
    Which is good, because it makes it easier to spot them when they enter your gated community and for the police to round them up, (assuming the private security and the dogs don’t get to them first).

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Surely you can get KFC

      I think corporates should be allowed to bid to access monies on the card. Maybe even the odd Destiny Church donation :twisted:

      • William Joyce 6.1.1

        There’s a point, hows “the bish” going to get on when he can’t fleece the congregation?
        Maybe that’s why he had all those brown-nosing pollies at his church and why Hannah and her sisters are taking over the Maori Women’s Welfare League.

        You’re right, the potential for corporate profits from “Preferred Vendor” status is huge – and an opportunity for a few backhanders
         

    • just saying 6.2

      Soon????

      You already can – those choosing clothing from the $1 box at the sallies, who can’t afford a haircut, or dental care, or adequate nutrition……

      It’s pretty screamingly obvious already. No need for special armbands so we know who to hate.

    • Bill 6.3

      They certainly ‘suggest very strongly’ that you purchase from the Warehouse. But you don’t have to. An argument of ‘buy cheap, pay dear’ usually resonates. Mind you $200 per year doesn’t go far outside of Warehouse type stores.

      I can’t remember if some Op Shops give quotes for WINZ. But it’s a bloody run-a-round providing WINZ with (I think) three seperate quotes for each item for them to generally only fund the cheapest.

  7. jackal 7

    Na! Let’s just cut to the chase and let them bid on the slaves, ahem I mean people. The amount of beneficiaries who work for food stamps the elite can amass will be a new status symbol. What’s the point in all that money if you can’t lord it over and control the poor?

  8. ak 8

    I fear you’re onto it Bill. A ratshit-cunning Nasty Party plan to eliminate the messy food grant programme altogether. Herr Joyce scrawled all over it.

    Roll it out for the scary feral youth on the back of the London riots, give it a month or two, then when the polls are narrowing, praise its “success” in your very own media, slam it on all beneficiaries and ride their pitiful howls to electoral glory.

    Lord help those poor DWI security people if you’re right. Yes, my dear Joky: push this inch and bugger-all might starve, but believe me there’ll be blood. Lots of blood. And it will never, ever, leave your pink, putrid hands.

    Life without grinding, gnashing despair is not a “nice to have”. Listen to the breeze, the tangi in the trees, wee Johnny boy: Enough. Is. Enough.

    Don’t say you weren’t warned.

    • Bored 8.1

      Herr Joyce, ………Lord Hawhaw so appropriate!

      http://www.heretical.com/British/joyce.html for those not in the know.

      • William Joyce 8.1.1

        A twenty first century liberal Joyce – just as his name sake was in the final days of the Reich.
        In the Twilight of the Gods, despairing that there was anyone out there left who still believed in his ideals, the world he loved collapsing around him, drunk in font of a microphone (or a Toshiba Satellite laptop) tapping out his last message before the forces of evil break in.
         
        Or, just the name my grand-mother gave me – you choose.

  9. HC 9

    As it is correctly mentioned in header story above, these “Payment Cards” have already been gradually introduced, supposedly on a “voluntary” basis since last year. In reality they have already been more or less “imposed” on applicants asking for special needs grants for food.

    What they are obviously trialling now on the 16 and 17 year old beneficiaries is clearly already intended to become the standard for all – or at least most beneficiaries! Payment Cards are designed in a way that they can become the standard form of benefit payments for food in future!

    That way Work and Income will be able to strictly control expenditure, so that there is no more “discretionary” spending on what WINZ will deem to be “luxury”, unnecessary or unacceptable (e.g. alcohol and cigarettes).

    As already mentioned there will be major problems arising, because this creates a significant degree of inflexibility, which makes it hard to provide for emergency expenses that may occur. Suddenly there is no cash available where it would be needed straight away, and this must lead to major incoveniences and problems.

    Knowing the way case managers work at W + I they will probably try to fob off people for such exceptional circumstances and blame it on poor budgeting. Maybe they expect the beneficiaries to save up a part of that intended “pocket money” allowed for “discretionary spending” for such emergencies?

    The payment of rent directly from WINZ or the follow up agency to landlords can also lead to a wider approach of this being used for ALL benefit recipients in future. That way the responsible agency may try and influence where people live. It will not be far away that they will tell people on welfare, that they will no longer have a free choice about what is acceptable, appropriate or suitable accommodation. The intention will be to save on accommodation supplements.

    I wonder how landlords will like to deal with this. I suppose many will not mind getting payments directly from WINZ, but then this creates extra problems for the beneficiary and landlord when tenancy agreements are started and terminated. There will then be 3 parties involved to arrange it all, which adds bureaucracy and opens up a pandora’s box for additional complications.

    Some beneficiaries may be able to get accommodation by not revealing that they live off a benefit. That will in future no longer be possible, because the landlord will need to deal with WINZ to arrange the direct payments. At least a tenant will have to ask the landlord to sign forms to hand in to WINZ. Some landlords will not bother, because they may not like making agreements with beneficiaries, even though such discrimination is not allowed. They would be able to get away with it though by using other excuses.

    The system will be an administrative nightmare, and the case manager already overworked with dealing with extra reviews for unemployed, handling more medical certificates for sickness-beneficiaries, plus performing numerous other tasks now necessary as a consequency of the intro duction of Future Focus policies, will be even more stress. As we know WINZ does not get extra staff, as all departments have to operate within strict budgets.

    This new regime has more or less already been drawn up, and we are being drip fed.

    One day the unemployed, sick and disabled “job seekers” will all be work-tested, eventually housed in cheap, boarding house style accommodation (modern “poor houses”), forced to take up any “suitable” training, work or study. Any non complience will lead to benefit cuts and cancellations. Those that think this is harmless, do not understand the approach being used. It is the beginning of something bigger coming up.

    So if National will get voted back in again, this is what will be in store for all that will face losing their jobs for longer periods, that will be sick, disabled, a sole parent and depend on the state for support. We are possibly returning to the times of “poor houses”, “work houses” or “work shops” for the poor and incapacitated. Do not forget, Housing NZ will also throw thousands off waiting lists soon, who are deemed as not being in urgent need for such assistance!

    There is one hope though. The introduction of the payment cards may be illegal, because treating certain groups of people (based on age, illness or disability, or some other criteria written in law) in a discriminating way raises serious questions of law.

    Hence legal experts may soon raise this and deliver critical views re the plans by Key and consorts. The whole plan may be against the Human Rights Act and the NZ Bill of Rights Act anyway. This should be researched further, and opinions should hopefully flow in.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Labour should lambast the NAT plan and present workable, fairer, dignified alternatives.

      • just saying 9.1.1

        Never going to happen. This hate campaign has been unchallenged for three long years now. Labour doesn’t care about beneficiaries. You know that CV.

        • HC 9.1.1.1

          A fair few of these “ideas” that National presents are not at all new, they had already been discussed amongst experts in the top echelons of MSD under the previous government, and some of course were suggested to MSD by experts from outside, who may have been commissioned to work on various projects.

          I may mention that the whole “advisory” regime under Principal Health Advisor and Principal Disability Advisor, who mentor, supervise and instruct Regional Health Advisors, Regional Disability Advisors and Health and Disability Coordinators (based in the Regional Offices of MSD) was established under Labour in 2007.

          They are involved in the now massive re-assessment of sickness and invalid’s beneficiaries, who under Future Focus are now en masse being down scaled according to new criteria, and eventually work tested.

          It is fair to say that they have provided a lot of advice to the top re how to reform the system re work testing for sickness beneficiaries and so forth.

          The MSD has a lot of staff that work on “improvements” internally, and ideas like the Payment Card may actually already have existed long ago under the previous government, but not yet been implemented. The MSD is a massive organisation and have their own “experts”, so National would to a fair degree rely also on knowledge, ideas and suggestions that were already in the making.

          It was under Labour that the idea of putting more emphasis on the ability of sickness and invalid’s beneficiaries to return to and to do some forms of work did already exist. Labour actually started reforms in this direction! The difference between Labour and National is though, that Labour did rather take the carrot approach, than the stick approach. National does now of course primarily focus on the stick approach.

      • insider 9.1.2

        Yeah I can really see them going into an election saying: ‘hey taxpayers, we think it’s a good idea that beneficiaries should be able to buy alcohol and tobacco with the money you provide.’

        That should attract what? Dozens of votes?

    • weka 9.2

      The privacy act too.
       

      Some beneficiaries may be able to get accommodation by not revealing that they live off a benefit. That will in future no longer be possible, because the landlord will need to deal with WINZ to arrange the direct payments. At least a tenant will have to ask the landlord to sign forms to hand in to WINZ. Some landlords will not bother, because they may not like making agreements with beneficiaries, even though such discrimination is not allowed. They would be able to get away with it though by using other excuses.
       

      I think there will be ways around this. They won’t be able to write into legislation that youth beneficiaries must have their rent paid direct to a landlord, because that would remove rights of privacy and in some cases deny youth access to benefits. So it will be at the policy level, and that’s always challengeable. As it stand currently, beneficiaries can refuse to give landlord details to WINZ eg where they can make a case that the landlord will discriminate against them if they find out they are on a benefit.

      • Deadly_NZ 9.2.1

        Yeah but if you get a handful of teens in a flat with nothing to do No money, tons of food, crappy tv, and a big sound system. They will just text a come, one come all, bring alcohol to all their mates have a huge open party. Alcohol to be supplied in return for for big feeds 500 turn up bringing enough alcohol to pickle the ark. House gets demolished in the ensuing mayhem. Police, Fire, and Ambulance are called 500 teens have caused millions of dollars in damage, and WINZ would be blamed, and would get the bill because they just decided to forget about the support, saved another 25 mil.

        Sounds far fetched??

        Tui Ad Time

    • Deadly_NZ 9.3

      I have a food card and it is way easier, than having to wait half a day or more to see someone (on an emergency appt), it’s way easier to use the call center ( until you have had 3 then you have to start through the budget advisor hoops, (and they can load the card immediately)) so you can use it at any pretty much most supermarkets and you can split your shopping over the three we have here in Levin. Also the old way was a signed piece of paper locking you into one supermarket, at least with the card you can chase the bargains. But to use it as a club to lock people into no cigs and no alcohol (as it should) but how long before the food police are let lose on the list, to come up with a ‘correct food list’ (Basically nothing allowed that Pudding Bennet would eat)

      • HC 9.3.1

        OK the payment card is acceptable in its present form – being used for shopping under the Special Needs Grant for food provision. I know that it is better than the credit letters they used before. But this card should not be allowed to replace the present system where beneficiaries get their total weekly benefit paid into bank accounts.

        Taking out the amount calculated for groceries and personal care items and only paying it out through these payment cards is unacceptable. It creates total inflexibilities, because the shopping is not the same each week, because certain items last longer and others less than a week.

        What can be acceptable to enforce that the payment card is issued to beneficiaries who have a record ob proven abuse of spending their money on non essentials, like for persons who have gambling, alcohol or drug issues and cannot manage properly without certain controls being put into place.

        That must be proved though, and the client should have a right to raise her or his points of view re the suggested steps by WINZ. That is natural justice.

        To simply make it a mandatory system of payment for certain age groups, or for all unemployed, sick or invalids on benefits, that is unacceptable, because it is unjustified and smells like discrimination (see Human Rights Act and NZ BORA).

        I should be challenged under the law if it ever is seriously implemented, and that is what I do expect.

        The same should apply with mandatory direct payments of rents or electricity or water charges. Such standard costs should be covered by the benefits paid into bank accounts and payed by clients themselves. Only if clients have a proven record of not being able to manage their expenses properly, then there may be a point to enforce such direct payments.

        • just saying 9.3.1.1

          Only if clients have a proven record of not being able to manage their expenses properly, then there may be a point to enforce such direct payments

          So, only those who have no other income, or loved ones who pay at least some of their bills then. Because if a person is living solely on the benefit there is no way they can manage their finances properly. There is simply not enough money.

          But that’s good because it means luckier and more well-connected benes would escape with a teeny bit of dignity.

          Maybe rioting and other violence are the only way that those at the bottom will ever be able to get listened to. And that would be really sad.

      • Treetop 9.3.2

        Deadly_NZ I do not think that the three is just food. I think think that it is any non recoverable SNG e.g. emergency tooth extraction.

        Hard to explain how they deduct what your discretionary food grant amount is as it is not a full entitlement amount each year, it is worked out as the balance in a 12 month period and the date shifts. A bit like what you have left to pay on a lay by is what you can apply for.

        • Treetop 9.3.2.1

          Just looked at the food grant in the SNG Programme and see that it is changed to not exceeding the amount you quailfy for in a 26 week period.

  10. William Joyce 10

    I wonder if the advisers to National suggested that benes in NZ should be treated like the aborigines of the NT?
     
    The approach is 

    Quarantining of a proportion of welfare benefits to all recipients in the designated communities and of all benefits of those who neglect their children

     
    Sound awfully familiar?

  11. Cin77 11

    I hate this idea. Whats it supposed to be teaching people? How to budget? Yes, I’m sure that will work. Taking the actual control of money away from someone is definitely going to show them how to budget. Or is it to scare people into employment that isn’t even there?

    And no one in power seems to be sticking up for the little guys! How loud do we have to yell to be heard?

    • Bill 11.1

      And no one in power seems to be sticking up for the little guys! How loud do we have to yell to be heard?

      And Labour have the gall to complain about the msm not listening to them! Kettle. Pot.

  12. aerobubble 12

    Does WINZ train its staff to deal with the agression and anger that has recently be seen
    in UK, or even in Hamilton where some girls strip and tortured a man, seems every
    day now government is attack youth rights. From driving, to we don’t trust youth to grow
    up fantasy cards. Did you know Hamilton has one of the highest populations of young people
    in NZ. Does National serious thin it can take West Hamilton in Nov?

    • HC 12.1

      Well, I don’t know about Hamilton, but here in Auckland just about every WINZ office I know of has a security guard at hand for any kind of “incident” at any time. I once saw a poor old Maori guy get treaspassed from an office, because he appeared a bit drunk and may have raised some issues. They called the cops who took him away. These security doods are not there for fun and for nothing. That tells you something about what goes on, because they are really afraid, because some beneficiaries, who got a tough deal, they really hate these guys working at WINZ.

      I have met some who had some real crazy ideas, and who knows, one day incidents like in London may happen here also.

  13. mik e 13

    Paula bennitto and lord haw haw have shot themselves in the foot over a letter

    • HC 13.1

      Yes, that is GOOD NEWS! And with a little bit more “fire” shot at her, I have some hope, that this silly enforced payment-card idea may indeed be put to rest after all. It was a very, very embarassing day for Don Key and Paula Pudding Belly Bennett today in Parliament! Have a look at question time on the Parliament website, or on Parliament TV at 10 pm tonight, if you have time and the chance to do so. It was quite delightful to see John Key and Phil Goff throw contradicting figures about youth unemployment at each other, and it was a total delight to see fat Bennett get hammered by Annette King later in the question time hour. No wonder it was the first item on TV3 news tonight. We need more days like this, and then – who knows, John Key may get his chance to retire at his holday home on Hawaii after 26 November.

  14. Campbell Larsen 14

    From Australia – where nonsense is already playing out, a glimpse of our future under a National govt:

    ‘WELFARE recipients could be segregated into different queues at shops under an ”apartheid system” that will force them to spend at least half of their money on essential items at government-approved retailers.

    Business groups have condemned a federal government plan to control the spending of up to 20,000 people across the country by effectively making them shop at a handful of the biggest retail chains. And the Law Council of Australia has warned that the change could be discriminatory.’

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/welfare-card-pays-out-on-poor-20110806-1igid.html

    • mik e 14.1

      It sounds like an Italian opera with Joyce insisting things must be done his way the holiday highway must be done just like bennitto mussolini built a dead straight motorway so he could drive to the beach.Now the Bennitto swipe card [food stamps] we could call it the Macabre.A couple of oxymorons in there for good measure.

  15. Descendant Of Smith 15

    I’m a little late pasting here but had to go back through a few things and do some checking.

    In the 80’s after interest rates went up to like 22.5% in my case and rents followed there were two quite strong attacks on beneficiaries – along similar lines to now.

    One was landlords wanting their rent taken out of beneficiaries payments and the other was the notion of control over what was being spent by individuals.

    As advocates back then a bit of a battle was fought with the local office over these things.

    Fortunately the OIA had come in and we used that to get copies of all the staff training manuals and policies. Today you have access to the same thing here:

    http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/manuals-and-procedures.html

    I can’t remember which advocate groups lobbied for this to be online but it’s great that it is. These are the policies and procedures for staff.

    Part of what we identified at the time was that it was illegal for someone to require someones benefit to be paid to them. In fact you can be fined for doing this.

    Section 82

    (3) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, every instalment of a benefit shall be paid to or on account of the beneficiary personally:

    provided that for good cause the chief executive may, in the chief executive’s discretion, direct that payment of the whole or any part of an instalment, or any number of instalments, be paid-

    (a) to or on account of some other person authorised by the beneficiary or, in the case of a beneficiary who lacks sufficient capacity in law, to any person appointed by the chief executive for the purpose of receiving it; or

    (b) with or without the consent of the beneficiary-
    (i) to any person in payment of the beneficiary’s lawful debts or other liabilities:
    (ii)to, or for the benefit of, the spouse or partner of the beneficiary or any dependent child or children of the beneficiary.

    So step one is by law benefits must be paid to you personally.
    Step two money can be paid to someone else only if good cause exists.

    This protects people on benefit from not only predatory landlords, debt collectors etc but also form overzealous or morally judgmental staff and politicians. The law itself clearly finds that people are capable of looking after and organising themselves.

    Section 84 offers further protection:
    Benefits to be inalienable

    (1)Subject to the provisions of the Family Benefits (Home Ownership) Act 1964, or the Child Support Act 1991 or the Student Loan Scheme Act 1992 and of section 82, no benefit shall be capable of being assigned or charged or of passing to any other person by operation of law.

    (2) Every person commits an offence, and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $100, who demands or accepts from any beneficiary any benefit order or any acknowledgement or undertaking where that demand, acceptance, acknowledgement, or undertaking would constitute a legal or an equitable assignment of or a charge upon any benefit if the benefit were capable of being legally assigned or charged.

    The government should never be the landlords or power companies or any other private businesses lackeys. There is no reason private enterprise should have any more call over a beneficiary income than they do over a waged or salary income.

    I wonder how many of these people supporting this are pissed off landlords who are chasing rent – including those political tossers suggesting this.

    Not surprisingly many of them own rental properties. Why the poor should be subject to more draconian rules than someone who actually has the money to pay things but doesn’t is beyond me.

    As for the comments about Labour not caring about the poor – I’ve made the point many a time that their political choice to increase NZS by $20-00 when they came into power but not benefits was shameful and remains so.

    The fact that they still won’t correct that says a lot about where they are at – simply National co-horts. There record is good in many areas but helping the poorest isn’t one of them.

    • HC 15.1

      Thanks for this!

      Yes, that link is useful, and it can be seen on the WINZ website, which rules and guidelines staff have to follow when handling various case management matters.

      It is also good to know the Social Security Act 1964 and relevant regulations.

      Due to the present plans of the government there is to be expected:

      a) a major rewrite of the Social Security Act 1964, or (more likely)
      b) a totally new Social Security Act, which will incorporate major recommendations by the WWG!

      So the law is likely to change – provided National wins the election and can form the next government. Most beneficiaries do not know details of the law, so they are easy targets for case managers and other staff working for MSD.

      The Manuals and Procedures online do not cover every instructions, guidelines and internal processes, because there is also the hierarchy of various advisors involved in decisionmaking now over health and disability issues, which was established under the previous government.

      1 Principal Health Advisor and 1 Principal Disability Advisor supervise, mentor and instruct a number of Regional Health Advisors, Regional Disability Advisors and Health and Disability Coordinators, who now have a lot of input in decisions regarding second opinions on medical conditions, regarding the way WINZ and MSD work with medical professionals and various treatment providers.

      The Act does not even mention those professionals working for WINZ and MSD, and it is very hard to get information about how they work, and what input they exactly have. Only very general information is available on the website.

      • Descendant Of Smith 15.1.1

        It sounds like you must be involved in some sort of advocacy work.

        Ultimately the decisions are reviewable and any evidence or opinion the department uses to make their decision should be supplied as part of that review, or individuals can request a copy of the relevant information used to make decisions under the Privacy Act.

        Using either of those options is quite a powerful in illuminating decisions.

        • HC 15.1.1.1

          Well I am not presently involved in advocacy work, but this may change. I am though involved in a legal matter that addresses some of the aspects mentioned. Also have I first hand experience with WINZ, having been a beneficiary, how they treat you, and what law is involved and can be helpful. I know it is quite a hard basket to deal with, but some of us are able to read it, understand it and maybe use it. Some lawyers I have spoken to, and some literature I have digested myself on law, have opened my eyes a bit. It is quite revealing and helpful to do all this. WINZ and MSD do like most government agencies and representatives play on the general ignorance of the people they deal with. Once you know what goes on, and once you take a strong position (backed up with relevant info and legal arguments), then they suddenly treat you very, very differently.

          Protests and other actions are good, and more of those are definitely needed. But sadly in the system we have, that alone may not be enough.

    • Bill 15.2

      Useful link DoS.

      Wish you hadn’t submitted it so late at night though. Almost missed it.

      One comment on the manuals and procedures though. I think I’m correct in saying that is only the departments own interpretation of the legislation. So it’s not where you want to be looking if you are challenging them. What you want is the legislation itself (which, unfortunately, is a pigs ear…a dogs breakfast…or whatever other what-dya-ma-call-it you’d apply to such a badly drafted and torturous to dissemble hodge podge.)

      The legisaltion does need to be over hauled. I believe Labour ran from it and put it in the ‘too hard’ basket. And so now it looks like we’ll get those nice Nats nuking it and leaving a legislative wasteland of despair behind.

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    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here...
    Greens
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems...
    Greens
  • Time to end legalised cruelty of factory farms
    We can ensure that animals are kept in safe and ethical conditions. Claims of economic impact and practicality as justification for animal cruelty just don't stack up.Use our easy e-letter to write to the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy...
    Greens
  • Government can’t rely on geothermal to grow itself
    While Electricity Authority figures showing geothermal has risen from the fourth to the second highest source of power generation are a promising sign for a geothermal renaissance, there can be no cause for complacency, Labour’s Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says....
    Labour
  • Big bickies for bosses despite subpar performance
    While public service workers are experiencing Grinch-like wage increases state sector bosses have pocketed early Christmas presents in the form of whopper pay hikes, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Unbelievably State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie got an additional...
    Labour
  • Consent should come before research grants for phosphate mining
      The Government’s decision to make a grant by Callaghan Innovation to Chatham Rock Phosphate is highly questionable, says Labour’s Science spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “The fact is that the company still has to get a marine consent to mine the Chatham...
    Labour
  • A Tale of Two Farms
    Pig farming has yet again been thrust into the public view with two programmes this week on Campbell Live highlighting the very different conditions for pigs on two very different farms. The first programme exposed the awful conditions on a...
    Greens
  • Dirty Dairy Accord failing to clean up rivers
    The first monitoring report of the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord fails to show progress on cleaning up our rivers since the Accord was introduced, the Green Party said today. The Accord's targets for stock exclusion are weaker than the previous...
    Greens
  • The Indignant Kiwi: Why we need to do more to protect our national bird
    A kiwi, about to be released into the wild, was first introduced to Prime Minister John Key and German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel on her recent visit to New Zealand. By all reports, Dr Merkel was delighted to meet the rather indignant...
    Greens
  • Conflicted interests and health promotion; my opinion.
    As it happens, I know quite a bit about health promotion. It was an area I worked in prior to becoming an MP. What differentiates health promotion from the strict biomedical model, or from health education, for example, is its...
    Greens
  • Transparency on foreign buyers register needed
    News that Overseas Investment Office officials have been working on a register of foreign buyers of New Zealand homes is a welcome surprise, but Land Information Minister Louise Upston now needs to be clear on the details of the project,...
    Labour
  • National moves on state house sell off
    The Labour Party understands the Government has decided to move ahead with a mass sell-off of state houses. Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says he has been told by sources that Cabinet agreed the plan for their sell-off this week....
    Labour
  • Back-down on expert teacher plan welcomed
    News that the Government has backed down and returned to the drawing board on its flagship ‘expert teacher’ policy will come as a welcome Christmas present to schools and teachers, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Teachers throughout New Zealand...
    Labour
  • John Key can’t duck the blame for internet and phone price increases
    Shareholders are winning out over Kiwi households in the latest episode of the long-running fiasco on copper network phone and internet prices, Labour ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said today. “As predicted last week hundreds of thousands of Kiwi households now...
    Labour
  • An astounding disregard for Māori Affairs
    I have sat on the Māori Affairs Select Committee for most of the last 12 years. I love the committee, its work, its constituency and I especially love how it works differently than other committees, with a strong commitment to...
    Greens
  • Plunging dairy payout will hit regions hard
    The plunging dairy payout will hit New Zealand’s provincial towns and farm service industries hard, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Farmers have been bracing themselves for this expected announcement but it will be small towns and those who...
    Labour
  • Reducing inequality creates a stronger economy
    An OECD report finding New Zealand has one of the fast growing rates of income inequality shows “trickle down” economics has failed and that everyone is better off under a stronger economy, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “The Government should...
    Labour
  • Government surplus target turning sour
    The Government’s golden surplus target is under threat with today’s Crown accounts showing the deficit is $260 million worse than expected, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is two blows in one morning for the Government’s economic credibility after...
    Labour
  • Greens call for end to cruelty of factory farming
    The Government must end the legalised cruelty of factory farming, the Green Party said today.Footage shown on Campbell Live this week revealed yet again the appalling, but legal, conditions pigs are routinely kept in on factory farms. The conditions the...
    Greens
  • Milk price plunge creates $6b economic black hole
    The plunge in Fonterra’s forecast dairy payout to a seven-year low for farmers will create a $6 billion economic black hole, showing yet again that National’s failure to diversify is hurting the economy, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The...
    Labour
  • Gender Pay Gap: It’s a Matter of Leadership
    The State Services Commission’s annual Human Resource Capability report for the public sector shows the gender pay gap has not decreased since at least 2010. The gap is 14% across all management roles – a slightly bigger gap than for...
    Greens
  • Pardon me Minister, but the cracks are showing
    Cracks are appearing in Cabinet ranks with the Minister of Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, throwing his predecessor under the bus over a huge spike in spending by advisers, Labour's State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. "Spending to 'staff the...
    Labour
  • Confirmation of no confidence in schools plan
    That just 90 of the country’s 2500 schools have signed up to the Government's one-size-fits all performance pay scheme confirms a wide-spread lack of confidence in it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The scheme, which creates ‘executive’ and ‘lead...
    Labour
  • John Key’s secret foreign buyers register
    John Key has been secretly planning a register for foreign buyers without telling New Zealanders, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Last week Andrew Little called on John Key to adopt the Australian policy on foreign buyers....
    Labour
  • Another kick in the guts for Christchurch
    The government has walked away from the people of Christchurch with Cabinet’s decision today to cut funding available through local Members of Parliament offices to assist people with their earthquake related issues, says Labour’s Earthquake Recovery Spokesperson, Ruth Dyson.  “Over the...
    Labour
  • State house sell off will make transience worse
    The National Government’s plans to sell off state housing will increase the rate of transience among the poorest families, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Growing Up in New Zealand study released today reveals families with children under two...
    Labour
  • Report shows need for independent food safety agency
    The inquiry into the botulism botch-up shows the decision to merge the food safety authority into the Ministry of Primary Industries was a failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI has been severely criticised in this report for...
    Labour
  • National needs to pull their head out of the sand on climate change
    Green MPs were out across the country attending Heads in the Sand events this weekend. I spoke at the Christchurch event where a couple of hundred people mimicked the Government’s climate policy by burying their heads in the sand. It...
    Greens
  • Claims of pumping up the volume all noise
    New manufacturing figures from Statistics NZ reveal a further decline in New Zealand's export performance, highlighting the Government's ongoing failure to rebalance the economy, Labour's Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says."The National Government has adopted a volume-based approach in an...
    Labour
  • Mediation Between Lyttelton Port and Union Fails
    The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining.   “There was no substantial shift in LPC’s position today so the...
    The Daily Blog
  • Letter from Pakistan
    I was in Peshawar last week. It is a vibrant city with a real energy to it. It is my favourite place to be in Pakistan. You feel the energy as you drive around the city. I am in an...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Media Release: Rail & Maritime Transport Union Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at...
    The Daily Blog
  • So the United States of Torture is the ally we are supporting to re-invade ...
    How easy is it to con the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind? Very. The despicable means by which this corrupt dirty politics Government have gone about trying to use the fear and anger caused by the Sydney hostage situation...
    The Daily Blog
  • A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins
    A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Jill Ovens – Auckland Hospital worker cuts – Democracy the ...
    Auckland Hospital kitchen workers tell CEO Ailsa Claire (far right) a week ago that they did not want to be contracted out. Such was the arrogance that no contingency plans were made in the event that these workers would be...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political opportunists out in force over Sydney hostage crisis
    It hasn’t taken long for supporters of New Zealand’s so-called “anti-terror” legislation passed last week through parliament to try and justify it in the wake of the Sydney hostage crisis. Before we even knew much about the gunman or hostage...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZs new hobby – hating the poor
    Last week people queued at the doors of the Auckland City Mission. They are people that are living without enough income to afford the basics let alone the extras we as a society have come to expect at Christmas. Extras...
    The Daily Blog
  • The only people who believed National’s surplus illusion were voters
    Sigh – the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind are pretty easy to con aren’t they? National’s surplus was always a joke that would never happen, but in every single focus group, voters believed by overwhelming numbers that National were...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key’s crocodile tears over dirty politics
    John Key: Bloggers ‘not big part of my day’ Prime Minister John Key says bloggers are not a “big part of his day” but he lives in a world where he can’t ignore them. Speaking on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme today,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why we are in inequality denial and climate change denial
        We are a country in denial over our inequality and climate change. Both issues have the same thread that runs through them. 30 years of neoliberalism has generated its own cultural narratives and myths. We have been taught that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of ...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of the Year is ethically bankrupt...
    The Daily Blog
  • Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety
    Media Release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union   Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety   The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is raising serious questions over the safety of the staff on Auckland’s train network after violent incidents on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Australia stares down Siege – National Party politicise tragedy
    The Sydney siege has finished, from the reports that are breaking the gunman, Man Haron Monis is dead and one of the hostages has also been killed. The Australian Police seem to have acted incredibly professionally and the real Australian...
    The Daily Blog
  • The termination of the Internet Mana alliance
    Last week the Mana Movement and Internet Party wrote to the Electoral Commission to cancel the registration of the Internet-Mana political party. It was a decision which brought the arrangement between the parties to a natural end after failing to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Peace breaks out between Greens and Labour
    Finally some good news for the Left. Peace has broken out between the Greens and Labour. One of the greatest barriers to a real relationship between the Greens and Labour has been the uncompromising arrogance of the Labour Party Caucus...
    The Daily Blog
  • Little keeps it stupid, simple
    Labour MP drops euthanasia billA bill which would legalise voluntary euthanasia has been dropped by Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway at the request of his leader Andrew Little. Mr Lees-Galloway had been canvassing support for his End of Life Choice Bill...
    The Daily Blog
  • Dear Ministry for Social Development,
    Dear Ministry for Social Development, I realise you probably already know this, but just a wee reminder of REALITY. You know – the reality of the vast majority of us who aren’t making ends meet and are struggling to live...
    The Daily Blog
  • Social Policy still in the dark ages when it comes to relationships
    Two years ago I became aware of the work of two very able barristers who defend low income women accused of relationship fraud. CPAG then began collecting cases and stories of horrendous misery and victimisation. Then penny was slow to...
    The Daily Blog
  • The truth about inequality
      The truth about inequality...
    The Daily Blog
  • Rather Than Sending Troops To Iraq … Brownlee May Wish To Consider Better...
    There’s something a little unsettling going on at the moment. Ok, many somethings. Of particular concern is the fact that right now, New Zealand troops are training at Waiouru for deployment to Iraq – and, assumedly, the ongoing war against ISIS. Brownlee,...
    The Daily Blog
  • West Papua’s Saralana Declaration most vital unity development for 52 yea...
    Newly elected spokesman for the unified West Papuan movement Benny Wenda is treated to a chiefly welcome at the opening ceremony of the “unity” meeting in Port Vila. Photo: © Ben Bohane/wakaphotos.com David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. A...
    The Daily Blog
  • Helen says it all
    Helen says it all...
    The Daily Blog
  • When Fran O’Sullivan, John Armstrong and Cameron Slater are singing Andre...
    The mainstream media of NZ will never allow a Labour leader who threatens the bastions of neoliberalism from ever taking power. David Cunliffe found that out. So when the mainstream media establishment from Fran O’Sullivan to John Armstrong to even...
    The Daily Blog
  • Wisdom’s Mirror: Can Grant Robertson Slay the Neoliberal Gorgon?
    HOW TO ELIMINATE one’s rival without getting one’s hands dirty? It’s a problem with a prodigious political pedigree. King David’s lust for Bathsheba drove him to order Uriah, her unfortunate husband, placed in the front line of battle – where...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Miriam Pierard – Sweet Sixteen and able to vote?
    The level of voter participation in elections is an indication of the health of a democracy. Declining turnout across the democratic world, particularly among young people, has led to questions about the legitimacy of our governing institutions. It is time...
    The Daily Blog
  • Public Equity and Progressive Politics
    We heard from the OECD on Wednesday morning (10 Dec) [Focus on Inequality and Growth] that inequality suppresses economic growth. (Here are Radio New Zealand’s morning reports on this.) This is hardly a surprise to many economists and non-economists alike. The key point in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Analysis: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us!
    Analysis (Text & Audio): Across The Ditch – Selwyn Manning & Peter Godfrey Headline: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us! 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.FiveAA’s Peter Godfrey and MIL’s Selwyn Manning present their last...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sharing intelligence with CIA torturers
    New Zealand’s spy agencies have long presented intelligence sharing with their US counterparts as mutually beneficial and benign. That stance has always lacked credibility and is now its impossible to justify. The just-released US Senate Intelligence Committee report shows that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour votes for Surveillance State. NZ First Opposes!
    A few weeks before the election, the New Zealand Labour Party decided to cash in on simmering popular discontent with the state of the surveillance state that National’s set up. Never mind their own previous and well-publicized brushes with egregious state-surveillance … they wanted people to know that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Economic ideology destroys us all
    The OECD’s latest report says “The biggest factor for the impact of inequality on growth is the gap between lower income households and the rest of the population. The negative effect is not just for the poorest income decile but...
    The Daily Blog
  • 3 simple words for the Labour Party
    I have 3 very simple words for all those Labour Party apologists who are trying to rinse Labour clean here. Get. A. Warrant. You can all try and spin this any way you want, but Labour voted for 24 hour...
    The Daily Blog
  • 2014 – Year of the angry white knuckle
    I knew Internet/MANA would have to fight National, ACT, Conservative Party, United Future, Maori Party and the mainstream media. I didn’t think they would also have to fight Labour, the Greens and NZ First as well. Apparently feeding hungry kids in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Chris Rock on cop shootings
    Chris Rock on cop shootings...
    The Daily Blog
  • Bank Lending: Restrictions and Favourites
    An important story in 2014 has been the Reserve Bank’s ‘loan-to-value ratio’ restrictions, which have made it extremely hard for first-time house buyers to get sufficient finance to buy a house. Corran Dann in TVNZ’s  Q+A (7 Dec) suggested that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – How should Waitangi Tribunal ruling on S...
      This weeks Waatea news column - How should  Waitangi Tribunal ruling on Sovereignty be implemented?...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour sell us out on warrantless surveillance
    Isn’t it depressing that Labour are selling us out by voting for warrantless spying by an agency caught out smearing them? Last night Labour do what they always do, over compensate on Security issues. So terrified are Labour at being...
    The Daily Blog
  • This Is The Headline For Test Post
    This Is The Headline For Test Post Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut eget neque facilisis sapien laoreet volutpat. Nulla vel nisl nec purus interdum tincidunt. Phasellus orci sapien, vestibulum et pulvinar non, pellentesque eget leo. Sed...
    The Daily Blog
  • Question Time in Parliament Today – National Party MPs cheer graph that s...
    This is the graph the National Party were shown by Russel Norman in Parliament today and they all cheered…     …they cheered?!?!?!? That’s beyond denial, that’s just gleefully suicidal....
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ Pastor Prays For Homosexual Author To Kill Himself
    By Jayden Jameson and Jessie Hume If we ever needed a reminder that homophobia is alive and kicking in New Zealand we have Pastor Logan Robertson from the Westcity Baptist Church. The Westcity Baptist ministry could apparently be described as New...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political Journalism in the South-Pacific – a new direction for NZ influe...
    Last week, the incredible Pacific Journalism Review celebrated 20 years of promoting and supporting and standing up for Journalism in the South-Pacific. The conference at AUT featured journalists from around the pacific who have battled and fought and been punished...
    The Daily Blog
  • Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future
    Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future...
    The Daily Blog
  • REAL LIFE GUEST BLOG: Lou – 15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homel...
    This is Key’s real life – other NZers aren’t so privileged    15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homeless since May. I went to the Salvation Army yesterday on advice for emergency housing as my temporary accomodation had turned volatile. Just...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour Party Members should be furious at reviews findings
    Let’s see The Standard use this image Well, well, well… Labour’s election review: What went wrongLabour’s review panel has reported its findings back about the party’s election campaign and the reasons for the low 25 per cent result, identifying problems...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins joins the Sunday Star Times and cements the Rights dominance...
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins   I don’t read the Sunday Star Times, so had no idea that they had just decided to make Judith Collins of all people a new columnist. Her appointment cements into place...
    The Daily Blog
  • Grey Lynn Festival – very Grey – Art in the Dark – very Dark
    The battle of Helm’s Deep from the Two Towers would have had better OSH conditions than Art in the Dark   Grey Lynn Festival – 2 stars So the Grey Lynn Festival happened last weekend. It’s a day where the good liberal...
    The Daily Blog
  • ‘Stalking’ Ede
      Tau Henare accuses TV3 of stalkingA former National MP has accused TV3 of stalking after one of its journalists attempted to question a former Beehive spin doctor. Today’s episode of The Nation featured an unsuccessful attempt to question former...
    The Daily Blog
  • Taxpayer Union, the NZ Herald and Len Brown’s secret hidden love den
    I love the way the NZ Herald introduced the discredited Taxpayer Union in their bullshit story about Len Brown’s secret hidden love den… ‘Secret room’ spending shows need for recall electionsA lobby group says revelations Auckland Council spent $30,000 on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Eric Garner killed by NYPD original footage
    The horror of a ultra militarised and racist American Police Force who can kill with impunity. Obama claims cameras on every office would stop this type of brutality, these cops knew they were being filmed and killed him anyway. In...
    The Daily Blog
  • Unjust to imprison us for crimes we haven’t yet committed
    Once again National and Labour have succumbed to the “law and order” brigade enabling the passage of a Bill imprisoning people for crimes they might commit in the future. The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill allows the Court to...
    The Daily Blog
  • SPCA welcomes glueboard traps ban
    The Royal New Zealand SPCA applauds the ban on the sale and use ofglueboard traps in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • Mediation Between Lyttelton Port and Union Fails
    The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining. “There was no substantial shift in LPC’s position today...
    Scoop politics
  • Review into Phillip Smith’s escape submitted to Government
    A multi-agency review on the escape of Phillip Smith to South America has submitted its initial report to the Government today....
    Scoop politics
  • Len Brown gets haybales from giant chicken and Ms. Santa Cla
    Today at 10.30am, Ms. Santa Claus and a giant chicken delivered haybales to Len Brown’s office, urging Auckland City Council to decline a resource consent application sought by cage egg producer Craddock Farms....
    Scoop politics
  • Increased Abuse of Parents A Predicted Outcome
    Family First NZ says that the increasing level of parental abuse , especially towards mothers, is an unfortunate but expected outcome of the rise of children’s ‘rights’ and the undermining of parental authority....
    Scoop politics
  • Brownlee’s Misplaced War on Acronyms
    The beleaguered Minister of Defence who reportedly cannot tell an RFL (required fitness level) from an AWQ (annual weapons qualification) has declared war on military acronyms while proving the proverb about those in glass houses....
    Scoop politics
  • Fluoride risks whitewashed in rushed consultation
    Ministry of Health propose to exempt toxic industrial waste products used in water fluoridation from the Medicines Act 1981...
    Scoop politics
  • Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand
    JUANderful Juan” in 7-Minute Migrante Video Project Shares Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics
  • Christmas Day in Prison
    Christmas Day in prison this year will involve swapping the main meal of the day, so that dinner will be served at lunchtime, leaving the evening meal to be sandwiches. This is standard practice for this day....
    Scoop politics
  • Alcohol advertising bans need stronger evidence
    Wellington (18 December 2014): The New Zealand Initiative’s Head of Research, Dr Eric Crampton, today urged Cabinet to look to the evidence before banning alcohol advertising and sponsorship. The Ministerial Forum on Advertising and Sponsorship...
    Scoop politics
  • EPA grants marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd
    The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has granted a marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd to continue its development drilling programme in the Maari oil field in the South Taranaki Bight....
    Scoop politics
  • DHB puts staff and patients at risk in order to save money
    The Public Service Association (PSA) is alarmed that the Waikato District Health Board (WDHB) is proposing to cut the 4 and 2 roster system, established nationally, for mental health nurses. The PSA represents more than 210 mental health nurses working...
    Scoop politics
  • Ambivilence about alcohol marketing recommendations
    Ministers Adams and Dunn issued a media release yesterday nearly two months after receiving a final report from their Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, and four years following an original announcement to review alcohol...
    Scoop politics
  • Alcohol forum recommendations: a step in the right direction
    The Forum has stated clearly that that it accepts alcohol marketing plays a role in heavy alcohol consumption and subsequent harm, and that young people need to be protected from it by regulation....
    Scoop politics
  • Court Judgment: Nicky Hager v Police on Dirty Politics Raids
    Mr Hager alleges that steps taken by the second respondent (the Police): first, in deciding to apply for a search warrant in respect of Mr Hager’s premises; secondly, in applying for the warrant; and thirdly, executing the warrant at his...
    Scoop politics
  • Holiday home hazards revealed
    Common sense ways to look after your property this summer Auckland, 18 December 2014 – Burglars aren’t the only threat to your home during the holiday season, says AA Insurance. It’s more likely to be broken water pipes, burst hot...
    Scoop politics
  • Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace
    Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace 18 December 2014 Funeral directors are relieved that Wellington City Council has finally dropped plans to charge families for permits to scatter ashes in public places. Funeral Directors...
    Scoop politics
  • RSA Offers Condolences To Victims Of Sydney Siege
    As an organisation representing over 100,000 New Zealanders, the RSA has today condemned the actions taken by Man Haron Monis during his siege in a Sydney café, and offered their deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Tori Johnson...
    Scoop politics
  • Kiwi activists crowdfund billboard for Simon Bridges
    Almost seven thousand New Zealanders have taken part in a crowdfunding campaign, and have raised enough money to put a billboard up in Tauranga that is directed at Simon Bridges, the Minister of Energy and Resources....
    Scoop politics
  • Leaked TISA text exposes US threat to privacy, data security
    ‘The US is demanding that New Zealand and other countries accept sweeping rules that would override privacy protections for digitised personal and other data’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland....
    Scoop politics
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at a mass meeting at the Port after negotiations between Lyttelton Port of Christchurch...
    Scoop politics
  • Ban on Alcohol Advertising Could Cost Taxpayer
    Responding to yesterday's release of the report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, Jordan Williams, the Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
    Scoop politics
  • Farm safety isn’t helped by punitive fines
    Federated Farmers Health and Safety spokesperson, Katie Milne says she is concerned about the impact of the $40,000 fine for a Marlborough farm couple, who weren’t wearing helmets and carrying children as passengers. The Court case, and subsequent...
    Scoop politics
  • New online guide to NZ’s environment goes live
    The Environment Foundation* has launched a new web-based guide to the management of New Zealand’s natural environment....
    Scoop politics
  • Ban On Alcohol Advertising Just One Step
    Family First NZ says that a proposed ban on alcohol advertising at sports events as recommended by a ministerial forum is an important move, but will not solve the binge drinking and alcohol abuse issue on its own....
    Scoop politics
  • CLANZ scholarship winner to examine legal services to Crown
    Wellington in-house lawyer Tania Warburton is the inaugural winner of the research scholarship established by the Corporate Lawyers Association of New Zealand (CLANZ)....
    Scoop politics
  • Joint Australasian operation dismantles drug syndicate
    The Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF), leading a multi-agency team, has smashed a multi-million dollar international organised crime network following raids across Melbourne this morning....
    Scoop politics
  • Video: Meet Mark Gilbert, U.S. Ambassador-Designate to NZ
    Join us in welcoming Ambassador-Designate Mark Gilbert and his wife Nancy. They are arriving in New Zealand shortly and wanted to introduce themselves. Watch this video to learn about his connections with Aotearoa, and why he thinks the partnership between...
    Scoop politics
  • MIA Welcomes Review Findings
    The MIA welcomes the findings of the Health Quality & Safety Commission into child and youth mortality arising from the use of motorcycles, quads and other agricultural vehicles....
    Scoop politics
  • Quads Bikes Not for Under 16s
    Safekids Aotearoa strongly supports recommendations made in a report released today highlighting the dangers posed by quad bikes when ridden or controlled by children who are under 16 years of age....
    Scoop politics
  • Inquiry on Parliament’s legislative response to emergencies
    Public submissions are being invited on Regulations Review Committee’s Inquiry into Parliament’s legislative response to future national emergencies. The closing date for submissions is Sunday, 1 March 2015....
    Scoop politics
  • Switch off on the beach NOT at level crossings
    KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ have launched a new summer rail safety campaign with a message to motorists to stay focused and always look for trains at level crossings over the holidays. December is known as the month for family, festivity...
    Scoop politics
  • Report on child and youth deaths from vehicle use
    Quad bike and other off-road vehicle accidents second largest cause of child recreational deaths...
    Scoop politics
  • Inspector-General accepts apology for leak of report
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has accepted an unreserved apology from Hon Phil Goff MP for disclosing some of the contents of her recent Report into the Release of Information by the NZSIS in July and August...
    Scoop politics
  • Santa’s naughty list shows NZPork in trouble
    Santa has provided animal advocacy organisation SAFE with an early copy of this year’s naughty list , as it prominently features many animal-abusing industries and businesses, with NZPork topping the list....
    Scoop politics
  • WWI veterans had persisting higher risk of early death
    New research on the impact of the First World War on participating New Zealand soldiers shows they typically lost around eight years of life and had an increased risk of early death in the post-war period....
    Scoop politics
  • Rainbow Wellington urges further change from Blood Service
    This week the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) announced the implementation of the agreed changes to blood donor deferral. For men who have sex with men (MSM) this primarily involves a reduction of the deferral period from five years to...
    Scoop politics
  • New Zealand Government signals reversal of fortune
    The Government’s robust $372 million forecast surplus from Budget 2014 will turn into a $572 million deficit, according to the 2015 Half-Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update and the Budget Policy Statement. Imports are cheaper and good export prices...
    Scoop politics
  • Time for Jobs that Count in the Meat Industry
    The NZ Meat Workers Union will launch a new national campaign to highlight job insecurity in the Meat Industry this afternoon in Palmerston North....
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  • Protest at killing of schoolboys – Vigil 17/12/14
    A peaceful vigil will be held in Downtown Square opposite Britomart station – cnr of Queen and Customs St from 11-45 am: Wednesday 17 December 2014....
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  • Social housing provider opens development in Johnsonvillle
    Social housing provider, Accessible Properties, will be opening eight new social housing units in a new housing development in Johnsonville tomorrow....
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  • NCWNZ Wins Court Case
    ComVoices welcomes and celebrates the news that the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) has won its High Court case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
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  • Cut Taxes + Cut Waste = Surplus
    Responding to the Treasury's Half Year Fiscal and Economic Update, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
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  • Cuts in public services likely fromBudget Policy Statement
    The horizon for workers looks gloomy with the release today of the Budget Policy statement. “Continuing real cuts in Government funding of public services are inevitable as a result of today’s Budget Policy Statement. The policy ignores the social,...
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  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
    Scoop politics
  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
    Scoop politics
  • Chief Ombudsman launches major review of OIA practices
    The Chief Ombudsman, Dame Beverley Wakem, has today begun a wide ranging review of Official Information Act (OIA) practices in the public sector....
    Scoop politics
  • The Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning
    “Our hearts and minds are with the people of Sydney: the Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy....
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  • A safety message for the festive season from Housing NZ
    Batteries may be required for some of the best toys under the tree this year, but they are just as essential to enjoying the greatest gift of all, says Housing New Zealand General Manager of Property Services, Marcus Bosch. “Smoke...
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  • Charity Wins in the High Court
    The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) is delighted that the High Court has found in its favour in its case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
    Scoop politics
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