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The spirit of ’35

Written By: - Date published: 10:32 am, June 24th, 2014 - 50 comments
Categories: activism, benefits, capitalism, election 2014, greens, internet mana party, labour, poverty, welfare, workers' rights - Tags:

Jan Logie published a post on Frog Blog yesterday, that deserved to be read and re-read by anyone interested in the future of NZ society, and the current state of the country’s governance.

Logie mic

In “Work and Income – stories from hidden people“, Logie reports on her meeting with a group of people at a pre-employment course.  The stories are not the kind that are hidden from beneficiaries who deal with WINZ these days.  nor are they hidden from those who have listen to or read of similar stories online. These are the kind of harrowing stories that speak of the depth of callousness of our current government.  They speak to the level of misinformation and neglect that dominants our public culture. Logie reports:

Everyone, including the tutors was worried about what  is happening in Work and Income.

Among the issues they raised with me was the basic inadequacy of income. One young man gets $144 pw and has to pay $100 for rent, excluding expenses, leaving him $44 a week to cover all his costs . The young woman next to him was around the same age and had $80 income over her rent each week. They all felt that what you got was really dependent on luck and the case manager on the day.

The same young man had to leave the session with his tutor because , we were told, he was about to have his benefit cut for not turning up to WINZ instigated meetings. This was despite the tutor having a letter saying that the students were not required to attend Work and Income meetings while on the course.

The efforts the man had to go through to convince work and income staff that he had not been non-compliant were mind-boggling. Added to the injustice of it all was that the meeting he was being punished for not attending was a budgeting session; to learn how to pay for everything with his $44pw.

A tutor was also very concerned that a mother had had her benefit cut in half for missing three days of the course when it turned out she and her baby had been admitted to hospital after getting the flu and having seizures. She didn’t have enough money on her phone to tell anyone.

More harrowing stories at the above link.

paula bennett inequality

The struggles of such people should never be forgotten as the election campaign continues. There was a time when Kiwis were proud of the country’s record in caring for it’s least well off, and least powerful citizens.  In 1935, the Labour became government committed to providing comprehensive care of citizens “from the cradle to the grave”. In 1938 the historic Social Security Act was past.

Savage social security

NZ History Online summarises its content and significance:

Labour won the 1935 election with a policy that every New Zealand citizen had a right to a reasonable standard of living. The community was responsible for ensuring that people were safeguarded against economic conditions from which they could not protect themselves. Labour’s ultimate response to the Depression was the Social Security Act.

The Act combined the introduction of a free-at-the-point-of-use health system with a comprehensive array of welfare benefits. It was financed by a tax surcharge of one shilling in the pound, or 5%. ‘Pensions’ were renamed ‘benefits’.

Micky Savage crowd

The NZ History article ends with hints of how this system of care, compassion, inclusiveness and social well being has since been undermined by the powerful spinners of callous, profits-before-people, economics: an ideology that benefits the few at the expense of the many. The result is the kind of society where stories of those struggling are hidden, marginalised, or worse.

We can be much better than that.  We can return to the spirit of ’35 and elect a government that works for the whole country.  A true economics puts social and community wellbeing as before finances, balance sheets, and corporate profits.

Many things have changed since 1935, so we need a renew blue-print for a society that is measured by the wellbeing of all, including those with least money and power.

Opposition Party Policies:

Green Party polices are part of an integrated whole.  The Income support policy,

Key Principles

  • Everyone has a standard of living that enables them to participate in their community.

  • People have sufficient income for their personal and whanau/family’s well-being.

  • People are actively involved in meeting their potential and creating a fulfilling life.

  • A commitment to full employment.

  • Greater emphasis on sufficiency, simplicity, universality.

Specific policy points include this:

  • Improve the culture of Work and Income so that people are treated with dignity and respect and are enable to access their full entitlements promptly.

Labour Party: I couldn’t find a specific policy area on Labour’s website for anything resembling income support or social security.  It is touched upon in policies that focus on children and the elderly, and on full employment, a living wage for all and fairness at work.

The Mana Party also puts a strong emphasis on work, a living age and fair employment legislation addresses social security specifically with its Social Wellbeing policy.  It explains,

Anyone who is unable to support themselves because they are out of work, sick, injured, disabled, elderly, or a sole parent deserves support from a compassionate welfare system.  The current system is far too complicated.  It wastes huge amounts of taxpayers’ money on administration, and does not provide even minimal adequate support for most people on benefits.  All too often people coming to Work and Income are treated with disregard and contempt.

Specific policy measures include:

Radically change the culture of Work & Income so that people coming in for assistance are treated with respect, granted their full entitlements, and so that staff are trained and supported to work sensitively with people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

On the Internet Party website, I don’t see any policy area (as yet) for social security.

Vote for a return to the spirit of ’35, while focusing on the practicalities of the 21st century.

50 comments on “The spirit of ’35”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    The carrot is not enough. We must also wield the stick against persistent human rights abusers, especially those employed by the state.

    Not just disciplinary measures: police action.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      They’re doing the work of the state, as approved by the state. Why would you punish front line staff and front line supervisors, who themselves are merely wage serfs, for that.

  2. Kaye 2

    “Labour Party: I couldn’t find a specific policy area on Labour’s website for anything resembling income support or social security. ”

    That’s because Labour don’t give a damn about beneficiaries, even the ill/disabled ones. That was made crystal clear to us during their reign in the 2000s. At least National don’t pretend they like us and want to help- we know where we stand with them. Labour for the most part agree with what National’s doing, they just won’t say it out loud. MJS would be rolling in his grave if he could see how Labour are behaving towards NZers who are down on their luck through no fault of their own.

    Labour have betrayed beneficiaries big time, and if they want to know why their support has dropped considerably- we’ve shifted our allegience to Greens and Mana who do actually give a damn. And yes, benefiaciaries do still have the vote, despite many who have relegated us to 4th class citizens, and a large number of us still vote, beaten down as we’ve become.

    • Mary 2.1

      I was so outraged to read that Labour had no social welfare policies mentioned on its website (which of course we’ve known for years now but it’s still riling to see it mentioned) that I launched straight into the post below without reading anything else. Yes, everything you say about Labour is correct. It’s time people started telling the truth about this. There are so many (it seems to me, anyway) Labour supporters who don’t want to face up to the fact that Labour has sold the poor down the river. It’s something too traumatic for tribal Labour to face. You can even put the legislative amendments that Labour have passed in front of them but they turn away.

      I hope I’m wrong but I fear that things are too far gone to convince Labour to change its spots back to what MJS saw as fundamental to the labour movement, which was that there is no distinction between the working poor and non-working poor. We need to send a message to Labour not to take its support for granted. At the moment it’s clear that Labour is no friend of the poor. They’ve proved it time and time again, and have given no indication it’s going to change. It really is time for a change of strategy, and that must include moves to relegate Labour from being a main party.

      • karol 2.1.1

        I think in this election campaign, the most positive and helpful approach is to vote for the parties pledged to work for the working & non-working poor – and the ones aiming for an approach that puts social and community wellbeing front & centre – and to let people know WHY you/we are voting that way.

        I am supporting the Greens because these policies are included in a holistic approach to a fair and inclusive society.

        That’s the best way to let Labour know what we want from left wing parties.

        At this stage of the campaign, I’m not into fragmenting the left, but in promoting strong left wing polices, and getting as many people on board as possible to throw out the current anti-people bunch.

        • Kaye 2.1.1.1

          But unfortunately NZ is now a country where social inclusion and what’s good for society as a whole doesn’t come into it any more. It’s every person for themselves and quite literally, survival of the fittest. If you’re lucky enough to be able to work, even on the minimum wage, then the fate of someone not able to work isn’t your problem. Your concern becomes keeping your job and hopefully get a pay rise and tax cut, so vote for the party that presents that bribe. A generalised statement I know- I’ve met many employed people who don’t think like that (they tend to vot Green)- but for the most part that’s what it’s become.

          • karol 2.1.1.1.1

            Yes. There needs to be a whole culture shift away from “What’s in it for me?”

            That’s why it’s important to let people know the values we follow when voting.

            Voting is not enough on its own.

            But if we don’t vote, we enable the current government to continue to destroy everything valuable for society.

            • Mary 2.1.1.1.1.1

              “But if we don’t vote, we enable the current government to continue to destroy everything valuable for society.”

              Yes, I agree entirely, and I would add that a failure to vote also means throwing away an opportunity to send the message to Labour that it can’t take its support for granted. Voting for the Greens or Mana at this election will help to send this message, and sending this message to Labour has a further significance in terms of preventing the current government continuing “to destroy everything valuable for society” because at the moment we have two main parties who are not prepared to place value on the need to ensure participation for all including the poor. That’s what’s got to change and it never will change if both main parties keep doing what they’re doing. This is why Labour has so much to answer for.

              As far as this election goes there’s nothing more to do than vote Greens or Mana, but the only difference between doing this in 2014 and what the Left needs to do after the election is to convince more and more people to do the same in 2017. Labour has proved that absolutely nothing else will ever get them to change their stance on social security and the non-working poor. This is why we need to start telling the truth about Labour and if this isn’t enough then they need to accept the consequences which may very well mean face calls for relegation to being a minor party. This has to be the logical extension of the debate about Labour and its abandonment of traditional core values.

    • Vicky32 2.2

      “That’s because Labour don’t give a damn about beneficiaries, even the ill/disabled ones. That was made crystal clear to us during their reign in the 2000s”

      That has not been true in my experience, Kaye. David Shearer as my local MP and his staff, have been very helpful to me and to people I know.
      Vicky

  3. Mary 3

    “Labour Party: I couldn’t find a specific policy area on Labour’s website for anything resembling income support or social security. It is touched upon in policies that focus on children and the elderly, and on full employment, a living wage for all and fairness at work.”

    Herein lies the problem. Until Labour pulls its arrogant head in nothing will change. We live in a country where the two main political parties don’t care about the poor. This just strengthens the modern day anti-poor / anti-beneficiary climate of opinion that was created in the Shipley/Richardson decade of hell. All well-reasoned and principled social security policy comes from two minor parties that the right-wing spends a huge amount of time and money trying publicly malign. What a mess. And it’s a mess that’s allowed to continue with not a jot being done about it because of the very same attitudes that keep feeding the problem.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      The writer of this piece forgot to mention that Labour in 1935 pushed through many progressive policies because of the pressure and expectations foist upon it from a vast number of civil society organisations and mass movements. Huge unions, the communists, the socialists, the Red Feds just to name a few.

      None of those organisations and mass movements exist today to do that, hence Labour meanders here and meanders there, under the variously changing guidance of highly paid social liberals, academics and intellectuals.

      • Mary 3.1.1

        And the right-wing does everything it can to crush and destroy those civil society organisations and mass movements.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          Yep. Right down to taking away night classes and closing down community facilities. They are thorough.

          • karol 3.1.1.1.1

            Yes, some very important points, CV.

            My experience of this was in London under Thatcher’s government. At that time, I reckon that the UK had the strongest left wing networks and organisations in the English language world. And that government set about systematically, gradually and patiently dismantling them one way or another.

            • Mary 3.1.1.1.1.1

              “And that government set about systematically, gradually and patiently dismantling them one way or another.”

              Yes, it was done “gradually and patiently”. The nats in the 1990s had the same agenda and while they did some serious damage, they also failed to achieve much of what they set out to do because they tried to do it too quickly. The resistance to many things was simply too strong. The current government has learned from that experience so is now “systematically, gradually and patiently dismantling” everything perceived as an impediment. Doing it this way makes it easier to dupe the voting public into thinking what they’re doing is just great which then means we vote them back in again so they can then get to work on the next phase of screwing citizens even harder but in a way that still makes us like them even more and so we then vote them in yet again. Easy peasy.

              • Colonial Viper

                And with raising the retirement age and voting for NAT benefit reforms Labour is playing that same game.

    • greywarbler 3.2

      Well said Mary.

  4. weka 4

    Here’s the comment I left on Frogblog

    Thanks for this Jan, it’s a very good write up of how bad things have gotten and how much despair this creates for people.

    Can you please tell us if the Green Party is going to include Social Security as one of its priorities in post-election negotiations? Had the GP done any work yet on how to restore WINZ to the agency it should be ie one that helps and supports those in need?

    It’s important to hear the stories, but if the political parties don’t take action not much is going to change.

    The GP have positive intent in their policy, but I want to know if any work is being done on the how and the when.

    • karol 4.1

      Excellent point, weka. I will look out for the response.

    • weka 4.2

      Just looking at the Mana policy compared to the GP one, with a focus on improving the culture at WINZ.

      GP: “Improve the culture of Work and Income so that people are treated with dignity and respect and are enable to access their full entitlements promptly.” No detail.

      Mana have more detail:


      Radically change the culture of Work & Income so that people coming in for assistance are treated with respect, granted their full entitlements, and so that staff are trained and supported to work sensitively with people from a diverse range of backgrounds. First steps will include:

      Removing review of decisions from the Benefit Review Committees to a far more independent body.

      Creating an independent social security ombudsman to deal with complaints against Work & Income staff who humiliate or mistreat people.

      Implement a social marketing campaign to begin to undo the negative stereotyping of beneficiaries.

      Provide stable, ongoing funding for community based beneficiary and ACC advocacy groups throughout the country.

      Those strike me as suggestions from people who deeply understand what the issues are.

      • karol 4.2.1

        Agreed.

        A Mana vote is for positive change.

      • karol 4.2.2

        Did you look at the full Green Policy in this pdf? It includes a lot of detail eg repealing sections of the law, ensuring various things, etc.

        The policy also includes the following:

        9. Ensure that the Ministry of Social Development, including its Work and IncomeService, (MSD/WI) works to:

        a. Ensure that all people using their services are treated respectfully and heard, by implementing an effective complaint process.

        b. Ensure that people who are dissatisfied with decisions of MSD/WI re their entitlements have access to a speedy and independent review and appeal process that operates in accordance with the principles of natural justice.

        c. Ensure staff training, instructions and incentives encourage staff to engage in active listening and make positive efforts to inform individuals of their full entitlements and provide them.

        d. Improve outreach efforts to minority groups through their community organisations, including training of MSD/WI staff.

        e. Expand vocational guidance services so that unemployed people can be given proper, individually tailored assistance in finding appropriate employment and training opportunities from the time they first register as a jobseeker.

        10.Ensure quality support and advocacy services for people dealing with Work and Income and other relevant Government departments by:

        a. Significantly increasing MSD funding and infrastructure support to community organisations that provide beneficiary advocacy and support services.

        b. Supporting and enabling training and information sharing in and among advocacy groups.

        c. Providing proper accountability mechanisms for MSD/WI to all key stakeholders.

        d. Further developing appropriate ways for community organisations to provide feedback to the MSD/WI on the effectiveness of its services in each of its regions.

        e. Developing the capacity for community organisations to carry out research and contribute to policy development.

        f. Enabling community advocacy and support organisations to have access to appropriate MSD/WI information with proper informed consent and security processes and within the limits of the Privacy Act.

        But I’d also like to know what level of priority the Greens give this policy.

        • weka 4.2.2.1

          Thanks karol, bit of a brain fade and didn’t look further. I’d hazard a guess that Mana took some of its policy from the GP one. However, there is something about the Mana one that speaks to me as a long term benerficiary more than the GP. It seems more pragmatic and focussed on specifics that make sense in the real world. The GP one seems more idealistic and abstract.

          Having said that, maybe the GP one is just more wordy.

          My comment at Frogblog still isn’t out of moderation.

          • karol 4.2.2.1.1

            Could it be that Sue Bradford had significant input in the drafting of Mana’s policy?

  5. I can certainly identify with the testimonials from those dealing with winz saying the benefit is not enough to live on.
    After paying my weekly bills I have the monthly phone/internet bill this week ($69). I will be left with $25 from my benefit, accommodation supplement and temp additional support for food and everything else. I will get $29 tax credit from ird, so $54 to get by. No going to the quack this week, and no cough medicine either.

    Of course I could cancel my internet and phone, which is one of the cheapest deals out there, but who will pay the cancellation fee? Not winz.
    I am indebted for what receive, but I have no car as it’s run out of wof and registration and it’s stupid to rack up potential fines by winging it, my shoes are falling off my feet, my clothes need replacing and the cat has been home cured after it’s bloody then pussy fight with a possum.
    Yes I can eat noodles, but is that really living.
    Give me a job or give me more money. Simple.

    • Kaye 5.1

      Allen- I consider myself lucky by beneficiary standards- Invalids- so the highest rate and currently not subject to work testing, single no dependents, and cheap rent so I’m not starving and can pay the bills. But I’m very aware that could change, and I have friends in similar situations to yourself.

      While I’m not going to post my rate here, what I can say is since 1996 my benefit (including supplements) has increased by the grand total of $88/week. And back in 1997 my power bill was only around $20-30/month. There was a bit of discretionary money left over and it was possible to have a bit of a life (go to the movies, save for a holiday, not a chance now.) So in real terms benefits have been decreasing every year, that’s common knowledge, but the press releases still go out every year to inform the public that benefits will be increased on April 1st to meet the cost of living increase ha ha ha…

      We’re not going to get any more money Allen. The only hope for most is that jobs will turn up again. But for those of us who are permanently disabled, we’re stuck with WINZ for life. That is really terrifying, as are general elections.

  6. NickS 6

    And it’s stuff like this that makes me so stressed to go on to the sickness benefit, as any of the above or similar would just make things worse for me.

  7. Ennui 7

    I can remember years back when unemployment spiked being out of work for a few months and being treated shabbily by what was then the DOL and DSW. They seemed to think it right to make our relationship as contentious as possible. That was at the start of the Rogernomics era.

    A key thing done by that bunch of scumbags was the redefinition of the citizens relationship with the state. You became not an unemployed citizen talking to a public servant but a client talking to your case manager. The semantics betray the change of the power balance and the point of the exercise.
    The individual became a client with a case, no longer assisted with service from a public servant but managed by a manager.

    Since this charade began in the 80s our whole relationship with the state has become more excluding of the citizen. It has become including of tax payers. If you don’t have work and pay tax you are a client, to be managed and excluded from everything possible. You might otherwise become a burden on the state. And cost money. No account is taken of prior contribution, that’s yesterday.

    Who is this state we talk about? What is a citizen? Time we forced the politicians to redefine this before we redefine them.

    • weka 7.1

      That’s a very good point Ennui. The whole power dynamic in that shift is with clients being passive, whereas citizens have agency. Where we are at today is an end point, where clients are treated like shit, or economic units that need to be incentivised.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      You became not an unemployed citizen talking to a public servant but a client talking to your case manager.

      Yes. Languaging is absolutely key.

      And the trend continues with Ministries and their “Chief Executives”, flash $250,000 logo designs, essentially a corporatisation of the public sector.

      In too many instances the state has gone from a role of helping the citizen to that of one hindering the customer. It’s BS and both Labour and National continue along this track.

      And now, in the case of the Liu OIAs, the public sector has actively taken sides against the Leader of the Opposition. WTF.

      • karol 7.2.1

        Good points, CV. Am I to take it you have resiled from your previous position on “language police” re gender, etc?

        • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.1

          Oh droll, karol. Nope. Did you see me suggesting somewhere that we need more trivial language police, or indeed language policing of any kind?

          • karol 7.2.1.1.1

            You are acknowledging the power of language – far from trivial.

            • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Absolutely – but one day I got sick and tired of people wanting to confine and derail the language used in discussion and debate to the parameters that they approved of.

  8. Kaye 8

    And not content with turning us into “clients” with “case managers”, they then went and took our “case managers” away. Now even long term beneficiaries have no consistency, it’s someone new at every appointment and have to explain our whole complex situation over and over again. Apparently this is more “efficient.” Yep it sure is. That’s because so many of us now can’t cope with going anywhere near them to ask for assistence that we know we’re entitled to, we’d rather go into debt or go without. I’m sure that’s their plan.

    I guess they don’t care too much about how much it’s costing the taxpayer for the extra (unnecessary) hospital admissions resulting from all of this. Of course not- it’s someone else’s budget, nothing to do with them. Right, Paula?

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      “efficiency” is that neoliberal speak again, reflecting an inhuman system deliberately designed that way, where both the “staff” and the “clients” suffer on a daily basis.

    • greywarbler 8.2

      @Kaye
      I think the case managers got the push because some of them might show empathy and ‘weakness’ in demanding compliance with whatever they deem fit to impose. What is wanted is cold objectivity and the beneficiary not allowed to feel settled or happy.

      Unhappy and unsettled and uncertain is the state of mind wanted. I feel that I am right about the approach and the outcome wished for by the admin of WINZ. From what I have heard, this is a common experience.

  9. Will@Welly 9

    I just love the fact that partners of those ‘in work’ have no ‘rights’, regardless of what taxes they have paid. Years of working hard, ‘salting’ money away for old age, forgoing holidays, then one of you is either laid off or is taken ill, and WINZ just gives you the bird.
    So much for the much vaunted hand up.

  10. dimebag russell 10

    are winz staff still getting bonuses for kicking people off the dole?

    • Kaye 10.1

      Officially no, and they never were, that was just a wild rumour (sarcasm). Seriously though, I’m not sure about the current state of play. If there are bonuses going on then they’re going to make damn sure that info doesn’t get out like last time. It might induce a slight bit of sympathy towards the unemployed person by the general public and we can’t have that, can we?

  11. Rose 11

    Does anyone know if the dole is linked to the government’s Food Price Index?

    According to Statistics NZ, the annual change in the FPI from May 2013 to May 2014 was:
    food prices up 1.8%;
    fruit and vegetable prices up 5.6%;
    meat, poultry and fish prices up 0.5%.

    I wonder if the dole has been adjusted to keep pace with this 1.8% rise in food prices in the last year?

  12. Michael 12

    Responses to this post demonstrate why Labour will get another hiding from the people on 20 September. (1) It is a disgrace that it took a Green MP to disclose WINZ’s abuses, when every Labour electorate MP (and most of the list MPs) are well aware of them (if they are not, they shouldn’t be Labour MPs in the first place); (2) there is absolutely no evidence that Labour will do anything to make WINZ (and ACC, too) treat people decently if it wins the election; (3) WINZ has been abusing people for many years, under successive governments (including those led by Labour. ACC’s abuse is even worse); (4) Many New Zealanders, especially those who traditionally vote Labour, have been shafted by WINZ (or ACC), or know someone who has; (5) it is not unreasonable for these people to conclude that Labour cannot, or will not, make government work for them and help them deal with the adverse effects of capitalism (Labour’s historic raison d’etre); (6) Therefore, 000s of New Zealanders will not bother to enrol, or vote, as they believe Labour has abandoned them, while no viable alternatives yet exist (although the Greens and Mana are moving that way).

    • Ergo Robertina 12.1

      +1

    • weka 12.2

      While I agree that Labour need to up their game significantly, I don’t think it’s true to say that Labour does nothing at all.

      Life on a benefit is generally somewhat easier under a Labour govt than National. What remains to be seen is what a Cunliffe Labour govt will do.

      Labour have been addressing some of the issues re WINZ. Google Sarah Wilson and Labour, and also there is this (which I think is problematic, but at least they are trying) http://action.labour.org.nz/fair-treatment-hard-times#top

      The GP seem much more together, but I remain unconvinced that they will make WINZ changes a priority. Both Labour and the GP can hardly bring themselves to mention beneficiaries (unless it’s in the context of child poverty).

      • karol 12.2.1

        I think having both the GP and Mana in parliament is a very good thing. Both put pressure on for betetr treatment of beneficiaries. I think n the future both parties will put pressure o the government for changes to social security. If they lead the government, Labour is way more likely to take positive notice of them than National.

        I do think Mana has dtronger focus on people on low incomes than the GP. But I don';t think that means the GP won’t advocate strongly for changes to social security. I like the way this fits in with other GP policies as well.

        I think it has been a good way to appeal to the consciences of Kiwis by focusing on child poverty.

        Even Mana has done that with “Feed the kids”.

        Mana’s two main areas of action this term have been “feed the kids” and the state housing protests – plus some Unite action.

        It has been Sue Bradford, and AAAP that has been advocating the strongest for beneficiaries.

  13. Descendant Of Sssmith 13

    The last betrayal by Labour was to put the $20-00 per week back on NZS but not on benefits.

    They at least showed they can do as a matter of policy when they want it but do it for the worst off – not on your nelly.

    Remember too the youth rate being changed from 18 to 24 was another significant benefit cut that also needs correcting.

    The absence of even something as simple as doing for beneficiaries what they did for superannuatants shows how little they are interested in the poor and vulnerable.

    Just like they no longer believe in an 8 hour working day, 40 hour working week, state housing for life, government departments employing the young and those with disabilities because the private sector wont, that rail is a service not a profit making enterprise, that tax cuts should be reversed and people should pay more, that hospitals and schools should not compete against each other, that education should be secular and so on and so on.

    I’ve always liked how the description in the 1997 yearbook:

    “The present system cannot be characterised according to any single principle, theory, or formula. As already stated, it has evolved from changing needs and experience in dealing with them. For example, it looks like a form of community insurance, but is not financed, funded, or administered on an insurance basis. It is financed from general taxation; but a person’s benefit bears no relation to his tax contribution. While basically income-tested and selective as to need within classes of benefit, it is also universally applied without regard to other income or means in three main cases (superannuation, family, and medical benefits) and in the lesser miners’ benefit. It transfers income from the more to the less affluent mainly on the basis of greatest help for those in greatest need. It reflects the traditional humanitarian, egalitarian, and pragmatic approach of New Zealanders and, most importantly, reflects an acceptance of community responsibility for social welfare. ”

    If only Labour could articulate anything remotely close to that.

  14. xtasy 14

    Jan Logie is doing some good work here!

    Sadly she is one of the very, very few MPs who actually bother to talk to the affected, and to take on board their distress, fears and suffering. I wish there were more opposition members in Parliament who would actually get out of their climatised offices and go out and make such visits to WINZ offices, to such seminars, to the now newly outsource providers for “mental health employment services” and “work ability assessments” and the likes.

    Yes, it is shocking, what is happening, and it is not likely to get any better, certainly not under another National led government, should they get a third term.

    As others have realised above, and as it is NOT NEW, there is damned little we hear from Labour on this, and almost nothing in welfare policy that goes beyond of middle class welfare, and a bit more help for poor kids and those on the minimum wage. While all that is welcome, it seems that Labour do otherwise tolerate the abysmal treatment of sick and disabled that I have heard about, and also experienced myself. They certainly share the staunch work focus as the Nats have adopted from UK “experts”.

    But we know, the ruthless Principal Health Advisor that now leads all Regional Health and Disability Advisors in the MSD and WINZ Regional Offices, that is Dr David Bratt, who likens benefit dependence to “drug dependence”, he got his newly created job under the last Labour led government, so they will hardly dare criticising the man they helped into his job.

    As far as I can see, only the Greens and Mana have some serious concerns for those on benefits, and with no or little prospect of employment, for various reasons. And they also have at least some useful policies.

    This is how they are going about to deal with sick and disabled now, at WINZ:
    http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/work-ability-assessments-done-for-work-and-income-a-revealing-fact-study-part-a/

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/16092-work-ability-assessments-done-for-work-and-income-%E2%80%93-partly-following-acc%E2%80%99s-approach-a-revealing-fact-study/

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/15463-designated-doctors-%e2%80%93-used-by-work-and-income-some-also-used-by-acc/

    Those facing assessments by WINZ “designated doctors” or the new outsourced work ability assessment providers may wish to read this to prepare for it:
    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/13301-what-to-do-if-you-are-required-to-see-a-winz-designated-doctor/

    Fight this shit from the beginning, I say, before it becomes too accepted and established!!!

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    ...
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    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • From Fiji’s dictatorship to ‘democracy’ – the AUT student team on t...
    Mads Anneberg’s profile on Ricardo Morris and Repúblika. David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. THREE STUDENTS from AUT University covered Fiji’s historic “from dictatorship to democracy” general election this month. While the election arguably legitimised Voreqe Bainimarama’s so-called 2006...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • David Cunliffe Resigns As Labour Leader – Forces Robertson Out of the Bel...
    David Cunliffe has made a smart move, resigning as the leader of the Labour Party so as to force a leadership primary campaign. The move draws rival Grant Robertson out of the beltway to parts of the country where he...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Deep thought vs Deep prejudice
    . . This letter to the editor appeared in The Listener, on 27 September, and caught my attention; . . Mr Dawson wrote in response to one of those typically unthinking comments which  condemned the poor for their “unbridled, reckless...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The NZ National voters elected
    The NZ National voters elected...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – The post election postmortem is giving me post p...
    I feel the need to contribute to the discourse. This is a new experience for me. Not having an opinion, but expressing it on a popular forum in a public sphere. That’s why I have waited till now and put...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A dictionary of education terms and definitions, brought to you by the let...
    Free to all TDB readers, please enjoy your very own cut-out-and-keep handy primer of terms that I predict you will need to know over the next three years… Achievement Gap (noun) Synonym for wealth gap. ACT (abstract noun) Intangible. Reported to exist in...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A Mines Rescue brigadesman’s perspective on the Pike River Mine
    My husband and I lived in Greymouth in 2010, we were a coal mining family.  The day Pike River Mine blew up and the days following changed us profoundly, as it did for so many.  This is a Mines Rescue...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • The Left Triumphant! A Counterfactual History of the Last Twelve Months.
    DID IT REALLY HAVE TO END LIKE THIS? Reading through the commentary threads of the left-wing blogs it is impossible to not feel the anger; the sense of betrayal; the impression of having had something vital ripped from their grasp;...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG – Myles Thomas: The media won it!
    Make no mistake, John Key is a clever communicator – reasonable, authoritative and relaxed – but without the media he wouldn’t be PM. Depending on your viewpoint, New Zealand’s news media are either a bunch of Grey Lynn lefties or...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Not Learning Lessons Past: the West’s Response to IS
    In an earlier posting Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, I noted that the first lesson of conflict learned by Robert McNamara was “understand your adversary”. If we have honourable objectives, our first and most important weapon is empathy. In the Vietnam War,...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Dr Jarrod Gilbert – Proof of David Farrar’s deception: my ...
    In the lead up to the election the Minister of Corrections Anne Tolley launched a gang policy. In order to justify the government’s approach she used gang figures that overstated the gang problem. Not by a little bit, but a...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • SPECIAL FEATURE: Stuart Nash – Red To The Rescue?
    SPECIAL FEATURE by Selwyn Manning. IF THE ELECTION RESULT which was dished out to Labour was not enough to incite an immediate leadership primary, then the caucus’ refusal to recognise David Cunliffe as the leader should cement it. Now is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Has the one party state crackdown begun already? Left wing NZ activist grou...
    Well known left wing activist social media group, ‘John Key Has Left Down NZ’ has been shut down on Facebook. At 11.40pm last night, Facebook, without any warning shut the group down siting a breach of terms of service as...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Why Cunliffe should probably just let Nash & Robertson win
    We have to face some very unpalatable home truths. If you are a left wing political person, best you put your vote now to the Green Party, although you’ll have to do that all the while the Greens frantically tell you...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • The graceless win of Kelvin Davis
    The graceless win of Cameron Slater’s mate in the North, Kelvin Davis is difficult to swallow. Here Cameron Slater’s mate in the North is shitting on Hone Harawira by calling Hone all steam, no hangi as Kelvin rubs his ganged up win into...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So Labour shifted too far to the left?
    So Labour shifted too far to the left?   Here’s the ill-judged view of Josie Pagani in the Pundit “Labour must change”: “At the last election I made myself a heretic when I wrote a column mentioning how unpopular the...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Uncomplicated Loyalties: Why Cunliffe and the Labour Left Cannot Win
    THE STORY of David Cunliffe’s leadership of the Labour Party has been one of missed opportunities and unforced errors. That he was the only choice available to those who wanted to rid the Labour Party of its neoliberal cuckoos is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So we can expect this now?
    So we can expect this now?...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Can Labour be saved? Why Whaleoil & National won and why we need a new ...
    As the shock of my optimism that NZers would recoil from the real John Key as exposed by Dirty Politics and mass surveillance duplicities wears off, I am surprised to find that the right in NZ are not content with...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Three more years (up shit creek and paddling hard)
    “If the future is not green, there is no future. If the future is not you, there is no future”. Emma Thompson’s stirring words to the climate marchers in London last Sunday are worth considering in the aftermath of the...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • One Party State
    In years to come this election will be seen as a historic turning point towards one party rule. I don`t mean this literally, absolute single party dictatorship is not in prospect. In the New Zealand context though, one party has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • No More. The Left Falls.
    . We cannot be beaten down Because we are down already. We can only rise up and if you should beat us down, We will rise again. And again. And again… And when you tire of beating us down, We...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Hang tight everyone – Marama Davidson campaign reflection
    To the many people who had expressed their overwhelming support for me to enter Parliament this election – thank you. That the Greens held steady in a big loss for progressive politics is an achievement. We are hopeful that after...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • Speaker leads delegation to CPA Conference
    Strengthening New Zealand’s ties with parliaments from across the world will be the focus of the upcoming delegation to the 60th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Conference in Yaoundé, Cameroon from 4-10 October and the 131st Inter-Parliamentary...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Response to Russell Brown and Tertiary Education Union
    The allegation that I have worked with others to discredit public health efforts is wrong. My public comments in relation to public health researchers have been where academics have mislead the public about official support or endorsement, and where...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • 17 jobs lost as Bridon/Cookes reaches the end of its rope
    Seventeen workers at the iconic Bridon/Cookes wire rope company in Auckland are to be made redundant as the company ceases production in New Zealand. The company has blamed the high New Zealand dollar for making it uncompetitive to keep the...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Slip in University Rankings – Funding Not the Problem
    Responding to the slippage of New Zealand universities' rankings , Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Time to rethink police chases, says safety campaigner
    Police chases are dangerous and generally unnecessary, says the American Federal Bureau of Investigation....
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Robertson now expected to be Labour leader by Xmas
    Grant Robertson is now overwhelmingly picked to become the next leader of the Labour Party by the end of the year, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. Another potential Labour...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Documenting historic Māori land law cases for the first time
    A new book from Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Law will continue to put the spotlight on Māori Land Law judgments which have never before been published....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • ‘Oily’ people greet Petroleum Summit diners
    Greenpeace activists smeared in fake oil have greeted guests arriving at the part-Statoil sponsored Petroleum Summit dinner this evening....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Key Decisions Made About Labour’s Leadership Election
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has made the key decisions about the timetable and process around the election of Labour’s Party Leader. The result will be announced on Tuesday 18th November, following a comprehensive and extensive process unique...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Suspected $6 Million Dollar Wananga Fraud Alarming
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on on the Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi to front up over claims the Wananga has pocketed government overpayments amounting to $6 million of taxpayers' money. Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Submissions sought on herbicide for weed control in maize
    The Environmental Protection Authority is calling for submissions on a herbicide to improve broadleaf weed control in maize. The substance CADET contains 100g fluthiacet-methyl in the form of an emulsifiable concentrate and would contain a new active ingredient...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Jesse Mulligan Lives Below Poverty Line
    Jesse Mulligan Lives Below Poverty Line TV personality Jesse Mulligan will live on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line this October in order to raise awareness of sex trafficking. Mulligan will survive on $2.25 for his food from October...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: What do we learn?
    Narratives from the 2014 Election: What do we learn? - Sue Bradford, Russell Brown & Kirk Serpes discuss....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change
    Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change at launch of Pacific environment report...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Changes to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre messages
    The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management advises that while changes to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre messages come into effect from today (Wednesday 1 October), the Ministry has been, and remains, the authoritative voice for tsunami...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Police remove banner at Statoil Offices in Wellington
    Oil Free Wellington hung a banner at 9:30 this morning at the Statoil office headquarters in Wellington as the Petroleum Summit opened in Auckland. The banner, which read 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil', has now been removed...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Mixed massages raise concerns
    Mixed massages raise concerns for Te Taumata Kaumatua Ngapuhi nui tonu, and Te Wakaminenga O nga Hapu Ngapuhi....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Union Slams Port Boss’s Pay Rise
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) says Lyttelton Port CEO Peter Davie’s 18% wage rise, taking his pay packet to $1.24m, is unjustified and inflammatory. ‘Lyttelton port has an appalling health and safety record, with three deaths on...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Prisons expert Ron Nikkel to speak in Auckland October 15
    Prison Fellowship NZ and JustSpeak have the privilege of hosting the former president of Prison Fellowship International, Ron Nikkel....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Hundreds of educators protest IES in Rotorua
    Four hundred educators from around the country took their opposition to the Government's controversial Investing in Educational Success policy to the public today....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Crime drops by 3.2 % in the 2013 / 2014 financial year
    Criminal offences dropped by 3.2 % in the last financial year according to figures released today through Statistics New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: what do we learn?
    I would like to invite you to a Fabians Reflection on "Dirty Politics, Dotcom and Labour’s worst result" with Colin James, Keith Ng, Stephanie Rodgers and Richard Harman. They will provide a debrief of analysis and lessons from the 2014...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Oil Free Wellington drops banner from Statoil headquarters
    Today members of Oil Free Wellington have targeted the offices of Statoil, by attaching a banner reading 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil' to the entrance of Vodafone on the Quay Midland Park, where Statoil's New Zealand office...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Media Statement from Karen Price
    “After a period of intense media attention and scrutiny of our family, I set up and used an anonymous Twitter account over the weekend and made a number of comments that I deeply regret....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Greenpeace disrupts Simon Bridges’ speech to oil industry
    Greenpeace activists have disrupted the opening speech by Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges at the Petroleum Summit in Auckland this morning....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • New Zealand Red Cross Responds to Drought in Tonga
    New Zealand Red Cross has sent an aid worker and two desalination units, to turn seawater into safe drinking water in the drought-hit Ha’apai islands of Tonga....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Can you ever tell if an email is real or forged?
    Computer industry veteran Brian Eardley-Wilmot warns that we should never take claims about stolen emails at face value....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • NZ MPs to attend the ASPG Annual Conference in Sydney
    New Zealand MPs to attend the Australasian Study of Parliament Group Annual Conference in Sydney...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Independent Maori seats still needed in Parliament
    “He’s got to be joking!” is the reaction of the president of the Maori Party, Rangimarie Naida Glavish to a call by a former Labour Minister of Maori Affairs, Dover Samuels, for debate by Maori on whether the Maori electorates...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    Rallies supporting the rights for universal suffrage will take place all over New Zealand today and tomorrow...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand
    Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand The Graf Boys New Zealand has some of the best trout fishing in the world! Every year thousands of international visitors wade pristine rivers in search of the freshwater game fish....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New Zealand’s 2014 Hottest Vegetarians Crowned
    With winter gone things are heating up, and things just got even hotter with the crowning of New Zealand’s hottest vegetarians, says animal advocacy group SAFE. Marking World Vegetarian Day, 1st October, director James Napier Robertson and actor...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A day to remember our duty to look after our senior citizens
    Human Rights Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says International Day of the Older Person (1 October) is a United Nations day to celebrate our senior citizens, but also acknowledge the need to protect our kaumatua, or older people from abuse and...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Clear data needed on impact of benefit sanctions on children
    A lack of data on benefit sanctions means there is no way of knowing whether welfare reform is helping or harming children, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The socialist alternative to austerity and war
    Public meeting: After the New Zealand election—the socialist alternative to austerity and war By Tom Peters 29 September 2014...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New recruits to boost border protection
    Twenty six new recruits began an intensive nine-week training course in Auckland today that will see them graduate as Customs officers in time for the busy summer season....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Dwindling Mallard population shows up ‘pest’ myth
    The pro hunting organisation Fish & Game is researching the causes of the decline of the mallard duck population, upset at the prospect of fewer ducks to kill....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    New Zealanders in Auckland will gather on Wednesday to support the rights for universal suffrage in Hong Kong....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Campbell Live Exclusive Interview with David Cunliffe
    David Cunliffe resigned as leader of the Labour party on Saturday; but he still wants the top job....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Action needed on cycling safety
    “Clearly we aren't doing enough to protect the 1.5 million New Zealanders who ride bikes,” said Mr Morgan....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • World Rivers Day Passes Without A Whimper
    Sunday 28 September was World Rivers Day to celebrate clean, flowing rivers and caring about them. But a recreation-conservation advocacy the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) says the day seems to have slipped by without...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The Kiwifruit Claim: Q&A
    1. Who is running The Kiwifruit Claim? The Kiwifruit Claim was founded by kiwifruit growers representing well in excess of 10% of the industry. 2. Why are you running this claim? The introduction of Psa into New Zealand had devastating...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Fed Farmers Need to Be Weaned
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Federated Farmers to make a firm commitment to reject any future Government funding, after it was revealed that the lobby group had received over $200,000 of payments in recent years....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Children paying the price for charter school stitch up
    New Zealand children will be paying a high price for a one-seat deal between ACT and National, with an expansion of the beleaguered charter school system says education union NZEI Te Riu Roa....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Hikoi From North Reaches Oil Conference Tomorrow
    Today: The Hikoi opposing Statoil plans for seismic testing and deep sea oil drilling has marched through Dargaville and later be welcomed to Piringatahi Marae, West Harbour,Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Communities Still Count
    The efforts of many organisations to influence the electorate and the political parties they voted for in the lead up to the 2014 Election is over. The voting public has spoken and provided a strong endorsement to the centre-right National...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Eleven social enterprises get ready to take off
    Eleven teams from across the country will take part in the Launchpad, Ākina’s programme to get social enterprise ideas off the ground....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • An open letter to the Prime Minister
    in which Transparency International New Zealand asks the Prime Minister to ensure integrity underpins all work he leads "in the best interests of all New Zealanders"...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Paula Bennett ‘great work’ acknowledged – McVicar
    “Paula Bennett, as Minister of Social Development, has contributed significantly in lowering our crime rate and preventing further victims.” - McVicar...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Key’s Restraint in Propping up ACT Welcomed
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming the announcement that ACT MP David Seymour will not be appointed as a Minister....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
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