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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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    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Blomfield IPCA letter – Has Dirty Politics leaked into the NZ Police ...
    It’s difficult to know what to make of the IPCA letter to Matthew Blomfield over Slater’s continued insistence that the hard drive taken from Matthew wasn’t stolen.  Slater has selectively cherry picked the Police referring back to his claim that Blomfeild perjured...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • ​Media release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union – Auckland move for K...
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is questioning a KiwiRail proposal to progressively relocate its Zero Harm personnel from Wellington to Auckland. “The purpose of the Zero Harm team is to drive KiwiRail’s performance in health and safety.  Rail is a...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Amnesty International – Friend request from an IS militant
    There’s always that one person, that one Facebook friend, usually a musician or event promoter, who, when you so foolishly accept their friend request, will completely inundate your news feed with copious event invitations and promotions. The person who, despite...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • NZ should follow the UK and recognize the Palestinian state
    Over the past two weeks, the United Kingdom and Sweden have made headlines through their decisions to recognize the state of Palestine. They are hardly the first nations to do so. Indeed, 134 countries have, in various ways, given formal...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Discordant Chimes of Freedom: Why Labour has yet to be forgiven.
    WHY DOES THE ELECTORATE routinely punish Labour and the Greens for their alleged “political correctness” but not National? It just doesn’t seem fair. Consider, for example, the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 – the so-called “anti-smacking legislation” –...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Hosking or Henry – Which right wing crypto fascist clown do you want to w...
    So Mediaworks are finally going to make some actual money from their eye watering contract with Paul Henry by launching a new multi-platform Breakfast show over TV, Radio and internet. This is great news for Campbell Live who have dodged...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Families need more money to reduce child poverty
    Prime Minister John Key is mistaken to rule out extending the In Work Tax Credit to all poor children (The Nation 11th Oct) and Child Poverty Action Group challenges government advisors to come up with a more cost effective way...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – Don’t shit on my dream
    Once were dreamers. A large man, walks down the road and, even from 200 yards there’s light showing between his big arms and bigger body. It’s as if he’s put tennis balls under his arms. Two parking wardens walk out...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Labour and ‘special interests’
    The media narrative of Labour is that it is unpopular because it’s controlled by ‘special interests’. This ‘special interests’ garbage is code for gays, Maoris, wimin and unionists. We should show that argument the contempt it deserves. The next Labour...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Ru...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Tahi) . National’s housing development project: ‘Gateway’ to confusion . Perhaps nothing better illustrates National’s lack of a coherent housing programme than the ‘circus’ that is...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Here’s what WINZ are patronisingly saying to people on welfare when they ...
    Yesterday, a case manager from WINZ called to tell me that I needed to “imagine what I would do if I did not have welfare”. I replied “Well, I guess if I couldn’t live at home, I would be homeless.”...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • David Shearer’s ‘no feminist chicks’ mentality highlights all that is...
    Mr Nasty pays a visit Shearer’s extraordinary outburst last night on NZs favourite redneck TV, The Paul Henry Show, is a reminder of all that is wrong within the Labour Caucus right now… He said the current calls for a female or...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Greenpeace 1 – Shell 0
    Greenpeace 1 – Shell 0...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – A Tale Of Two Cities
    Sunday was surreal. I went for a drive and ended up in a different country. It wasn’t intentional but those days of too many literally intertextual references seldom are. There is no doubt that the Sunday drive this week had...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Key raises terror threat level to justify war in Iraq and now the SIS need ...
    Have we learned nothing from rushing into war? It’s embarrassing Key has raised our terror threat from ‘very low’ to ‘low’ so he can justify military action in Iraq. Watching him pimp for an American war is as sick as...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Socialism? in France; Austerity in Europe
    On Sunday I stumbled upon this recent New York Times column The Fall of France by Paul Krugman. Then I caught BBC’s Newsnight interview with France’s ‘Socialist’ Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Krugman notes that the Socialists came to power on an anti-austerity mandate, but completely squandered their opportunity...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • So Snowden and Greenwald were right – again – NZ Embassies spying for A...
    Well, well, well. What do we have here… NZ embassies involved in covert intelligence work for US – reportsNew Zealand’s embassies have been involved in covert intelligence gathering work on behalf of the United States, a fresh batch of classified...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Why David Parker *isn’t* a credible choic...
    The one electoral contest this year that a Labour leader is sure to win heated up over the weekend with the late entry of Finance Spokesman (and interim caretaker leader) David Parker into Labour’s leadership race. I’d blogged late last...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Fran O’Sullivan’s extraordinary column
    Note how the carefully constructed flow chart above ignores the mainstream media’s complicity with Slater and Dirty Politics    I am no fan of Fran O’Sullivan’s politics and would argue long into the day against her on many of the...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Final salute to Cunliffe
    Final salute to Cunliffe...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • David Cunliffe’s statement
    I am today announcing that I have decided not to nominate for the 2014 Labour Party leadership contest. It has been a hard decision to make but it is one that I believe is in the best interests of the...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Cunliffe to quit leadership race – the losers are the Labour Party member...
    That’s all folks   And so ends the first ever Labour Party member/affiliates choice for leadership. David Cunliffe is standing down at 2pm and is supporting Andrew Little instead. What a perverse turn of events. Cunliffe was punished by an angry Labour leadership forced...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Want to see new Nu Zilind? Read the comments section of Andrea Vance’s co...
    Andrea Vance is no stooge. She is one of the few mainstream media voices who has challenged power and authority, her latest column on the outrageous attempts by Key to use fear mongering to  spook the sleepy hobbits into war...
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • Humanity calling Government – anyone with empathy home?
    On Friday night groups of Invercargill activists and plain ole people who care took part in the 14 Hours Homeless event – sleeping out in the balmy southern climate on cardboard and couches at our Salvation Army Citadel. It’s a...
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • Labour, leadership and White blokes
    David Shearer said on TV3’s The Nation this weekend that he appreciated the support Labour’s received from Maori and Pacific communities over the last few elections, but that it was important to again, secure the votes of ordinary white blokes...
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • Wrong priorities in media coverage of Ebola crisis
    The experts have told us that there is very little likelihood of a serious Ebola outbreak in any Western nation – unless the virus changes so that it can be spread through the air rather than just via bodily fluids....
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • John Key uses the same old warmongering recipe
    Less than three weeks after the election Prime Minister John Key wants New Zealand to join a war in the Middle East and extend the powers of our US-focused spy agencies the SIS (Security Intelligence Service) and the GCSB (Government...
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – shifting focus: towards building an effective ...
    It has now been three weeks since the election, and we on the left are still in the phase of trying to figure out what went wrong.  That can be a useful exercise depending on how it’s done, especially if...
    The Daily Blog | 11-10
  • iPredict New Zealand Weekly Economic & Political Update
    Andrew Little’s probability of being the next leader of the Labour Party has reached 70% and Jacinda Ardern is favourite to become his deputy, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Prison Drug Treatment Unit marks a milestone
    Christchurch Men’s Prison’s Drug Treatment Unit (DTU) celebrated the completion of its 50th six month Drug and Alcohol Programme today, with the graduation of a further twelve offenders....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Security Council seat a chance for NZ to empower women
    The UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand (UN Women NCANZ) welcomes New Zealand winning a seat on the United Nations Security Council and is calling on New Zealand to use its position to proactively promote effective implementation of the...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Waipareira and ACC sign Partnership
    Waipareira and The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Whanau Centre, Henderson – marking a special day for the West Auckland Urban Maori organisation....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Humanitarian aid desperately needed in Iraq and Syria
    Global Peace and Justice Auckland is calling on the government to provide humanitarian funding for non-aligned NGOs (non-governmental organisations) in the Middle East rather than give any support whatever for the US-led military campaign in the area....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Court Judicial Decision: Dotcom v The USA: 17 October 2014
    The United States of America is seeking the extradition of Messrs Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and Van Der Kolk. The matter has been before the Courts on numerous occasions, and no further recitation of the facts is needed....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Marshall Island poet speaks at UN climate summit
    “The fossil fuel industry is the biggest threat to our very existence as Pacific Islanders. We stand to lose our homes, our communities and our culture. But we are fighting back. This coming Friday thirty Pacific Climate Warriors, joined by...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Many tourist car accidents preventable
    Simple steps could dramatically reduce the number of accidents involving tourists, says the car review website dogandlemon.com ....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • RainbowYOUTH: 25 Years, 25 More
    In 1989, a group of young people in Auckland got together to form a support group for LGBTIQ youth. They called it Auckland Lesbian And Gay Youth (ALGY). After 25 years, several location changes, a name change, a brand reboot...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Outdated Oath shows need for Kiwi Head of State
    MPs are sworn in today and New Zealand Republic has written to MPs asking them to talk about why 121 New Zealanders elected by the people of New Zealand and standing in the New Zealand Parliament swear allegiance to another...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Council shouldn’t revenue grab from windfall valuations
    Auckland Council should state clearly they will not try and capture revenue as a result of the latest valuations and needs reminding that the City’s skyrocketing property values doesn’t change the level or cost of Council’s services, says...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • EPMU endorses Andrew Little for Labour leadership
    The National Executive of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union unanimously endorsed Andrew Little for the role of Labour leader, at a meeting held yesterday. “I have been speaking to our workplace delegates at forums across the country over...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • World Food Day promotes Agroecology not GE technology
    The UN has stated that agroecology is a major solution to feeding the world and caring for the earth....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Labour Names Review Team
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Contenders for Labour leadership debate for first time
    The contenders for the leadership of the Labour Party debated for the first time on TV One’s Q+A programme today....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • UN Ambassador Jim McLay on TV One’s Q+A programme
    New Zealand's United Nations Ambassador Jim McLay on TV One’s Q+A programme....
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • The Nation: RSA President BJ Clark & Ian Taylor, New NZ Flag
    Lisa Owen interviews RSA President BJ Clark and tech innovator Ian Taylor about changing the NZ flag...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • The Nation: RSA President BJ Clark & Ian Taylor, New NZ Flag
    Lisa Owen interviews RSA President BJ Clark and tech innovator Ian Taylor about changing the NZ flag...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • Lisa Owen interviews Foreign Minister Murray McCully
    Murray McCully says New Zealanders can expect a 5-10 year engagement against Islamic State if we join military action in Iraq and the government will take that “very carefully into account”...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • Lisa Owen interviews Julia Gillard
    Julia Gillard says there is “sufficient evidence” to fight Islamic State and does not think it will increase the risk of a domestic attack...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • NZ businesses to make child abuse a priority conversation
    Many leading New Zealand businesses have partnered with national child advocacy organisation Child Matters to participate in the fourth annual ‘Buddy Day’ - New Zealand’s only child abuse prevention awareness day....
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • Tribunal decision significant for SMEs
    The Human Rights Review Tribunal decided this week in favour of an employee’s right not to work on Saturdays for religious reasons. The decision may still be appealed but the Director of the Office of Human Rights Proceedings, Robert Kee,...
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • On The Nation this weekend
    This weekend on The Nation… New Zealand has been elected to the United Nations Security Council, but what happens next? Lisa Owen interviews Foreign Minister Murray McCully from New York about our goals for reform, what America wants from us...
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • 1000+ supported by Te Arawa Whanau Ora
    Over 1000 individual whānau members are leading happier, healthier, more successful lives as a result of eight passionate and committed Māori organisations working at the coalface to help whānau find success....
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • Nomination for Board Members Now Open
    CRF’s objective is to create opportunities for people from refugee backgrounds to lead fulfilling lives and contribute to every area of New Zealand society. It is an organisation that undertakes advocacy work using the strengths-based approach,...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Anglican Family Care Otago staff to take industrial action
    Social workers, family workers and support staff working for Anglican Family Care in Dunedin and South Otago will take industrial action after their employer refused a pay increase that would keep up with the rising cost of living....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Use UN Security Council role to overcome inaction and injust
    Amnesty International welcomes New Zealand winning a seat on the UN Security Council and is calling on New Zealand to use the role to ensure the body lives up to its role of safeguarding global peace and security....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Grisham’s ‘child porn’ comments ignorant
    World-renowned author John Grisham has come under fire by advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation, for comments it says trivialises the global child sex abuse trade....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Latest leak of TPPA intellectual property text confirms risk
    On the eve of the latest (non)round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) yet another version of the intellectual property has found its way to Wikileaks ....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • New Zealand awarded UN Security Council seat
    International aid agency Oxfam New Zealand welcomes New Zealand’s election to the United Nations Security Council, saying it gives an extraordinary opportunity to make a lasting contribution to international peace and security and improve the lives...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • 40 more jobs lost to cheap imports
    40 more jobs lost to cheap imports Another New Zealand manufacturer is closing its doors, giving the lie to the idea that we have a “rock star” economy or any strategy for jobs growth. Wellpack is a paper bag manufacturer...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Pink Batts manufacturer to cut Christchurch jobs
    Pink Batts manufacturer to cut Christchurch jobs 29 roles are to be cut at the Christchurch manufacturing facility of Tasman Insulation, the company which manufacturers the iconic Pink Batts brand of products. The company is proposing to consolidate its...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Kellogg cereal donations help the Sallies feed those in need
    Kellogg New Zealand commits 64,000 serves of breakfast cereal during World Food Day Coinciding with World Food Day this year, Kellogg New Zealand and The Salvation Army are reaching out to less fortunate Kiwis with the donation of 64,000 serves...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • National Slips, Labour Hits Lows
    National fail to get post-election bounce but leaderless Labour Party crash to lowest ever support...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • NZ parents hope for more than just happy and healthy babies
    Auckland, 16 October 2014 – What do expectant mums and dads hope for their children? According to new research from Growing Up in New Zealand , a baby’s health and happiness may be high up on the list, but today’s...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • NZPI backs Minister’s affordable housing stance
    NZPI backs Minister’s affordable housing stance NZPI is supportive of Hon. Dr Nick Smith’s, efforts to use the RMA as a mechanism for taking the heat out of the housing affordability challenge in New Zealand. “As Minister for Environment...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Prime Minister’s OIA Admision Disturbing
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling for answers after it was revealed on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report that the Prime Minister’s office routinely flouts its obligations under the Official Information Act. Taxpayers’ Union spokesman, Ben...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • NZDIA forum press release
    NZDIA forum press release Wellington - The New Zealand Defence Industry Association, with the support of the NZ Defence Force and the Ministry of Defence, will be holding a two-day international forum on October 21-22 at the Michael Fowler Centre...
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • BPW NZ calls fashion industry to account
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) joins the call for action on the use of skinny models and mannequins as it is directly affecting the self-esteem and health of many of our young people....
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • Electoral Commission introduces Extra Touch for Blind NZers
    The Electoral Commission was presented with the Extra Touch Award by the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand (Blind Citizens NZ), in recognition of its successful implementation of Telephone Dictation Voting ahead of its commitment to do so by...
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • Auckland move for KiwiRail health and safety team questioned
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is questioning a KiwiRail proposal to progressively relocate its Zero Harm personnel from Wellington to Auckland....
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • Redundancies a result of putting profit over good business
    Heinz Watties redundancies a result of putting profit over good business Heinz Watties workers are shocked by the announcement made late last night that up to 100 jobs are being cut from the company’s New Zealand operations. No information was...
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • Injuries at work show many sectors are too dangerous
    Workers are deeply concerned about the research Statistics New Zealand have released today showing that almost one-quarter of agriculture, forestry, and fishery workers had a work-related injury claim accepted by the Accident Compensation Corporation...
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • Chatham Rise seabed hearing: the absence of evidence
    The phosphate on the seabed, 450m down on the Chatham Rise, has a particular quality that other phosphate doesn’t have: uranium....
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • Office of Ombudsman making sure people treated fairly in NZ
    The Office of Ombudsman has told Parliament that it has made significant progress in effectively managing its work to make sure people are treated fairly in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 14-10
  • Food Matters Aotearoa Conference Press release
    This year the UN World food day theme is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”, chosen to highlight and raise awareness of the problems worldwide and the solutions to food security and ridding the world of hunger. The...
    Scoop politics | 14-10
  • Support from Production, Recreation and Environment.
    When it comes to water quality not many organisations can claim to have the support of major bodies representing production, recreation and the environment, yet this is exactly what NZ Landcare Trust has achieved. The Trust's upcoming 'Communities...
    Scoop politics | 14-10
  • Law Society supports Malaysian Bar Peace and Freedom Walk
    The New Zealand Law Society has expressed its support for a planned Walk for Peace and Freedom by Malaysian lawyers protesting against continued use of the Sedition Act 1948 by the Malaysian government....
    Scoop politics | 14-10
  • Bunnies Offered Protection With New Technology
    SAFE is announcing the spring launch of its “bunny protector” – a new mobile phone app that will help shoppers on the go avoid animal-tested cosmetics products. Suitable for both iPhone and android, the ‘SAFEshopper Cruelty-free NZ’ app will...
    Scoop politics | 14-10
  • Maori Wellbeing – Defying the Oxymoron
    When Mother Teresa was asked how do you achieve world peace, she said, go home and love your family....
    Scoop politics | 14-10
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