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Who in the House is for beneficiaries?

Written By: - Date published: 11:01 am, December 5th, 2012 - 64 comments
Categories: benefits, greens, hone harawira, housing, jobs, labour, mana, Metiria Turei, news, nz first, paula bennett, poverty, spin, welfare - Tags: ,

There was a debate in open mike yesterday, on Jacinda Ardern’s questions to Paula Bennett on the issue of WINZ paying transition to employment allowances for beneficiaries to travel to Aussie to get jobs.  xtasy raised a very good question about which Labour MPs, especially front benchers, are there for beneficiaries?  I would widen this to ask, who in the House is for beneficiaries?  Certainly not any NAct MPs.  What about the opposition MPs?

As I learned more of the details I swung from one side to the other on the issue of Ardern’s question and statements on the issue. Mary argued that Ardern had wrongly targeted the issue to trigger another round of Bennie bashing in the media.  Before midnight arrived, Mary said TV3 were already incorporating the bennie-bashing angle in their reports.

Here are some of the references/sources on WINZ paying for beneficiaries to travel to Aus – I can’t find the Nightline report that Mary referred to, but here is TV3’s report from earlier:

Ardern’s question during Question Time yesterday:

6. JACINDA ARDERN (Labour) to the Minister for Social Development: How many times, if any, has the Transition to Work Grant, or similar funds, been used by Work and Income New Zealand to purchase tickets to Australia for job seekers who have found work there?

Ardern’s press release yesterday, begins with the appeal to misuse of taxpayer money for beneficiary trips to Aussie:

Revelations today that taxpayers are picking up the tab for unemployed Kiwis to fly to Australia to take up job offers is further proof that the Government has no interest in creating work opportunities here, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

This shows Bennett is not fully on top of the goings on in her ministry. Ardern’s questions and press releases could have been better targeted to focus on the government’s failure to enable the increase of jobs in NZ: ones that provide a living wage.

The legislation/programme doesn’t mention anything about travel to Aussie, and the advice on WINZ website for individuals applying for the grant does.

I looked at the websites of opposition parties to see who has been most active for beneficiaries recently.

Labour:

Ian Lees Galway on suicide prevention needed especially for the mentally ill (December)

Clare Curran on disability rights (December)

Jacinda Ardern on Hearings of submissions on the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill (December) [although Ardern’s passion and commitment on this issue has been questioned by TS commenters]

Sue Moroney on women’s contribution to the economy being undervalued, with a brief mention of women taking the brunt of rising unemployment (November)

Ardern on Bennett’s poor efforts to help unemployed young people into work (November)

Greens:

Metiria Turei on children’s focus on food, housing and basic necessities for all (November), and on her (defeated) Bill to extend WFF to all low income people (November).

Jan Logie will be speaking at the AAP action for beneficiaries outside WINZ in Onehunga next week (I thought Mana and Labour would also have speakers there).

Mana

Fact sheet on their up-coming “Feed the Kids Bill.

Press release giving limited support to Labour’s KiwiBuild, but saying Mana wants to go further with affordable housing for low income renters.

Hone Harwira’s feed the kids speech (November)

Mana involvement in protests for state housing and against the removal state housing/”ethnic cleansing” in Glen Innes.

My assessment:  Mana is most focused on supporting beneficiaries, but they tend to get marginalised by the media, and as a solitary voice in the House.  Metiria Turei in the Greens has especially shown some commitment to speaking for beneficiaries and their children, but the main Green Party focus seems to be on Russel Norman and the economy.

Special mention for NZ First in their focus on the elderly, but it doesn’t amount to speaking for the younger beneficiaries who are the main ones demonised.

I agree with xtasy that there is not a strong enough voice for beneficiaries among MPs: one that counters the dominant MSM line in bennie-bashing.

64 comments on “Who in the House is for beneficiaries?”

  1. King Kong 1

    Surely lobbying for a group of people, who want even more money from their fellow citizens for doing nothing, is poison.

    • Lefty 1.1

      You have unwittingly put your finger on the problem KK.

      MPs have not cared enough about beneficiaries to effectively combat sicko right wingers defining them in the way you just have.

    • One Tāne Huna 1.2

      It probably would be, if your premise were correct.

      Since the vast majority of beneficiaries go off a benefit in a short time, the notion that they “want even more money from their fellow citizens” is ridiculous.

      Basing policy on such a false belief would be very stupid.

    • felix 1.3

      Who you talking about there Monkey Boy? The Aussie banks?

      Beneficiaries, by definition, are people who can’t work because there are no jobs for them to do or because their circumstances preclude it.

      There is no benefit available for people who “want … money … for doing nothing”. Not possible to apply for, not possible to grant.

      Have another banana and try again.

      • McFlock 1.3.1

        lol snap :)
             
        This government is all for letting capitalists make nothing and produce nothing yet still rort us all for basic necessities, and does fuck all to sort out tax evasion, but god forbid they throw a few crumbs to people in genuine need. 

        • aerobubble 1.3.1.1

          Worse, unnecessary, inefficient use of limited finite resources, has been spurred on by Thatherite monetarism world wide, in showy extravagant elitists who think the party cannot end and will force feed us all into civilization collapse if needs be. Taxes were once very high, they didn’t get there by accident, government raised taxes on the rich, all we need to kill off this rump of stupidity, the boomer dumbarses, is government to again raise taxes on the richest and reintroduce the invisible hand of capitalism. Because currently our mess is due to a bureaucratic right wing corruption of our economy and parliament.

      • weka 1.3.2

        Actually many beneficiaries can and do work. What you mean is that they are precluded from certain kinds of paid work that has a high value in our society. Things like raising children, caring for other family members, voluntary work, invisible work are all valued much less esp when done by beneficiaries.


        It’s also common for some beneficiaries to work under the table. Wake up NZ, that’s how people are able to survive on a benefit (the benefit itself is intentionally set to below what one can live on).

        • QoT 1.3.2.1

          Things like raising children, caring for other family members, voluntary work, invisible work are all valued much less esp when done by beneficiaries.

          +1

          All these things actually contribute to a “healthier”, “more productive”, “safer” society (scare quotes because all those things are value judgements). But who gives a crap if it ain’t included in GDP?

          Coincidentally, much of that work is predominantly done by women. Pay no attention to the patriarchy behind the curtain.

        • felix 1.3.2.2

          Yeah good point weka, that was some lazy wording on my part.

        • aerobubble 1.3.2.3

          In order to drive up wages at the bottom of the wage scale, its necessary to remove people from the working population with subsidies, creating scarcity and impelling those removed from the working population to take on debt by getting retrained, or worse, forced into
          the hands of loan sharks.

          Its a industry, from the case managers in WINZ getting bonuses for given grants to kiwis to pay the airfare to Oz, to the hopeless retarded educational loans that indenture free individuals independence inquiry. The whole drive of the last thirty years has been to create a distance alienated apathetic indebted work slave class, for the few winners to pour scorn and derision on from their media pulpits.

          Oh, for another sermon from Laws, or a distorted debate by Moro staging the panel with right wingnuts schooled in the ways of turd blossums. Pouring more money into every fracture of the economy has not lead to any worthwhile longer gain, just one almighty fund for a few global elites to play like naked emperors with.

    • bad12 1.4

      Seriously??? for doing nothing??? i was always of the impression that we paid beneficiaries so as to have them NOT burn down the House of Parliament whilst hanging from the nearest lamp-post the majority of it’s inhabitants befor starting upon ransacking and burning the rest of the town,

      Forgive my ignorance….

    • KJT 1.5

      Stop talking about bankers, ports of Auckland managers, finance company directors, asset strippers and politicians like that KK. You may upset them.

    • xtasy 1.6

      King Kong: Thank you for your “contribution” and expressed bizarre “sympathy”.

      Yeah, get those sick and disabled off their arse, get them slaving it out for meeting their living costs, get them working, even if it is assembling ball point pens at $ 1 an hour (similar to prison labour), you are really “enlightened”, are you not?

      I do not consider you to be a “fellow citizen”, rather a “jerkish citizen” playing on the ignorance of most, which is exactly what this government has been doing for too long.

      Bring in the gas chambers, will likely be the next “final solution”, right?

      YOU and your ilk make me SICK, and that is why I do not like many people here, as they fall for the brainwashing, the prejudice and lies, and they are even contributing to the total injustices, cheering on arseholes like Michael Laws.

      NZ is NOT a HUMANE society anymore, that is my observation. It is due to the mean spiritness of so many people now, who rather run down their neighbour and back-stab each other at work, rather than learn and work for real solutions. It is the age of PRIMITIVISM in this country. You are PART of it!

      • aerobubble 1.6.1

        I think everyone should have access to work, the problem is cost, WINZ cannot afford the transition to work. But there predicament is due to legislating the work place, including the
        huge cost of compliance, paying taxes, work place safety, but also forcing people to work
        for long hours (which suits employers) but means less people are employed overall (job
        sharing is pressing human rights issue when active employment opportunities contact due
        to the introduction of computers to many work areas). So there’s this perfect storm
        coming, where few people are needed by the economy, legislation making it harder
        and costlier to share jobs and the taxes on employers (compliance, health safety), means
        that anyone who isn’t normal, has any barriers too employment, will be ignored by govt.
        And this explains why governing parties leading media lackeys love to have a good beanie
        bashing about the bludgers. Their powerless, their alleged delinquency is widely held
        amongst society (so we are told and reminded), and its government’s pulling all the economic
        and legal levers to create the under class.

    • xtasy 1.7

      DO NOT FORGET, dear “monkey”, as that is what I perceive a King Kong to be, the vast majority of “beneficiaries” have also worked most of their lives, and they paid taxes, exactly for the emergency that they may one day not be able to work anymore.

      You are a Minister fancying masturbater, as it appears. When you see her face, you fall in love and indulge in bizarre loyalties and “love acts”, which I find despicable.

  2. vto 2

    .
    Who in the House is for Bankers?
    Who in the House is for Chorus?
    Who in the House is for the NZX?
    Who in the House is for loans to Mediworks?
    Who in the House is for central government soviet-era planning?
    Who in the House is for holiday highways to the beaches?
    Who in the House is for investors in finance companies?

    as far as i can tell each of those groups is perfectly capable of looking after themselves yet this government still gives them money and other advantage for nothing. And on a scale far greater than beneficiaries.

    king kong you’re as thick as shit and an asshole.

    • David 2.1

      The answer, quite simply, is that yes Jacinda Ardern really is in the house for people receiving benefit support. I think the evidence for that, in hansard etc etc, is conclusive, and that as I say below, people casting doubts on that really do need to have their motives questioned. Either that, or they are simply not paying attention.

  3. AsleepWhileWalking 3

    I would say the Greens have the strongest voice, not Mana because as you say they are marginalised nutters.

    • karol 3.1

      Good point about the Greens having the strongest voice, AWW.  But also, you have slightly misquoted me.  

      The word “nutters” is not one I usually use these days, and I certainly wouldn’t use it to describe Mana – marginalised they may be, but they make a lot of very good points, and also act according to their words.

      • marty mars 3.1.1

        True Karol, Mana are not just talking about it they actually do it which is why I am a member. I look around at the inequities and injustice perpetuated by the system and parties that support it and I’m not prepared to support those parties. Meanwhile the enemies of equality will continue their disinformation campaign against the Mana Movement – yawn – who cares about them, they will destroy everything just so they can die with more money than someone else – if we let them.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 3.1.2

        Sorry, nutters is my word. At least they are passionate and haven’t sold out.

      • xtasy 3.1.3

        I can only agree with Mana on some core policies, like bringing in a “Hone Heke Tax”, increasing public housing and addressing poverty by some forms of job-creation and also offering food at schools.

        I saw the Insight documentary on TV3 not long ago, and it showed that in Sweden it is STANDARD practice, to offer school kids a real, wholesome MEAL for lunch (cooked, with veges, meat and other ingredients), while in NZ voluntary organisations, some in cooperation with Fonterra and others, only are able to offer very BASIC food to kids. I saw toast and jam as being “breakfast” they offer at many schools. Now that is NOT very nutritious.

        A country, living largely on agricultural and horticultural exports, offering the best quality of their products to overseas consumers, offering second rate at home, that has a moral issue when 20 to 25 per cent of the kids in it suffer from poverty and likely also malnutrition.

        How disgusting, to have NZ go around presenting itself 100 per cent pure, green and as a “cultural capital” due to some “Hobbit” movie, at the same time neglecting so many in poverty.

        Also I live near the middle class and upper class suburbs of Epsom and Remuera, plus Newmarket here in Auckland. Since the Nats got in power I have detected a huge increase of large, petrol guzzling SUVs on the roads near here, driven by middle class tax cut beneficiaries, ignoring the poverty in South Auckland, in Glen Innes and so forth.

        Take a bus ride from Meadowbank down to G.I., dear folk, and the contrast cannot be starker, where wealthy suburbanites pampered by National live on top of the hills, and below the considered “riff raff” of beneficiaries and working poor they could not care less about.

        Every year I see this country becoming more of a failed state like in some South American nations. It is a condemnation what goes on here. Be bloody ashamed, NatACT and your supporters!

  4. infused 4

    You will probably find this is WINZ workers exploiting this. They get bonuses for getting people off the benefit.

    This was going on 10 years ago, wouldn’t be surprised it’s still happening. They will deny it however.

    • McFlock 4.1

      in the same way they deny they have specific quotas.
              
      The system is insidious – there is no set expectation to deny or kick people off benefits, but middle managers seem to have an incentive to implement their own unauthorised practises.
             
      It’s a crying shame that the most helpful I found WINZ back in the day was when I no longer abjectly needed them. 

      • infused 4.1.1

        Yeah. I know they do, because they got a special unit in to look at people who had been on the dole for a long period of time (I was on there 2 years). In the end, he told me exactly how it worked.

  5. Richard 5

    I think Ardern’s angle about National paying beneficiaries to leave, rather than creating jobs, is the best one. any other line would bring scores of troll-like King Kong responses, and Labour ends up on the back foot.

  6. Mary 6

    It was interesting that even Metiria this morning on Morning Report was scathing about the TTWG Programme being used to assist people go to Australia. She’s obviously accepted the MSM spin on things that was always an inevitable consequence of Ardern going down this cul-de-sac. Ardern’s clearly scored an own-goal here, but the real question this has raised is who the hell is advising Labour MPs? And the Greens for that matter?

    What Ardern’s done is that she’s tried talking about a whole bunch of essentially unrelated issues in the same breath: (1) the lawfulness of getting the grant to relocate to Australia; (2) whether or not there must be real job at the other end; and rolled this into (3) the issue of people leaving for Australia because there’s no work here. She’s confused the different categories of costs, some which require actual employment to be secured like relocation costs, with others that don’t, like travel to a job interview. On top of this she’s failed to acknowledge that the amount of $1500 is a maximum cap, not the amount of each grant – she’s done all of this with no real knowledge of the detail, including how the TTWG Programme works, its relationship with operational policy – and has just used just snippets of information which when looked at in isolation invariably leads to the wrong conclusions. The result is it’s quickly become something the government can make hay with. Just watch Bennett tighten up the criteria and score ‘tough on beneficiary’ points in the process.

    The correct analysis of the fact the TTWG Programme is being used to assist people to go to Australia is that it highlights the government’s lack of action of jobs in this country – full-stop. Such use is in fact clearly within the scope and purpose of the TTWG Programme, which is about assisting people into employment. Ironically, calling for the axing of the practice (which would require the Minister to alter the Programme because at the moment there’s nothing to stop such a grant being made, provided there’s clear proof there’s a real job 100% secured at the place the person relocates to) is calling for less employment and greater continuation of ongoing benefit payments. Looked at another way, will restricting the grant for relocation costs to within New Zealand increase the numbers of jobs and reduce the number of ongoing benefit payments? Of course not.

    If Jacinda or Metiria want to talk about these issues they need to get their heads around the detail and address each of the points properly. Failing to do this just ends up being one more fantastic dog-whistle, which of course may be their intention, but I sense in this particular instance it wasn’t.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 6.1

      Personally I don’t see the issue with sending beneficiaries to Australia, apart from them being no longer covered by social security if they go on to lose the job they moved for. Good on the ex-b’s…. at least the pay is better which might make up for the really shitty weather over there.

      I think our government should also consider paying for our citizens to fly overseas for dental care. Really should work out to be far more cost effective and far more exciting than your average dental treatment.

      • weka 6.1.1

        Highly transient populations are counter to good community.
         
        There is also the issue of how many people are coming to NZ and being given temporary work visas. Something is not right.

    • karol 6.2

      *sigh*  Ardern’s questions in the House today did seem to be a bit of a  train-wreck, with the PM jumping in with a supplementary hitting at Labour’s record.

      It did also not refer at all to the lack of jobs in NZ, and did not support beneficiaries in any positive way.

      It became an issue of the extent to which WINZ had given transition to work payments for people to take up jobs in Aussie.  No-one seems to know the  full answer.  Surely Ardern would know that before heading down that line of questioning?

      Bennett’s answers also clarified for me something I was trying to get at last night.  From my time teaching social policy a couple of decades ago in the UK, I knew that UK government policies include the legislation and government directives that are issued from time-to-time.  I thought that Bennett saying she has made it clear to staff that the payment shouldn’t be issued for Aussie, and a statement on WINZ website was an indication such a directive existed.

      However, it seems not, because today Bennett said she will draw up such a directive about tightening up on the payment, and will present it to the House.  So it looks like beneficiaries will be the losers. 

      • Mary 6.2.1

        Yes, she will have to alter the Minister’s Programme. There are a number of these, for example the Minister’s Special Needs Grant Programme etc. Here’s the list of them here. Go down to “Welfare Programmes”.

        http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/manuals-and-procedures/legislation/index.htm#legbmk_Welfare_programmes

        They’re “approved” by the minister under section 124(1)(d) of the Social Security Act, so the actual programmes contain the precise words that must be followed, as if they were legislation. The principal Act simply allows the Minister to create the programmes, which must then be followed accordingly. This is different to, for example, ministerial directives, which the minister can issue under section 5(2) of the Act, but which simply allow the minister to pretty much give guidance on how particular parts of the principal legislation should be applied, but they can’t direct or instruct the ministry to ignore or step outside of the principal legislation.

        The policy you referred to last night was just that, policy only, and has absolutely no legal force at all. It’s a policy only that says “normally” a person shouldn’t receive the grant to relocate to Australia, which may or may not be unlawful in itself, I don’t know. It doesn’t exactly say that a grant cannot be issued if the person has secured employment outside of New Zealand, but then again the TTWP doesn’t restrict the assistance for jobs secured in New Zealand only.

        One thing’s for sure, though, and that is that all this is now academic because Jacinda has manged to force the minister to put an end to helping certain beneficiaries from moving into real jobs. As I mentioned before, everyone’s jumped all over this without understanding what it’s really about and it’s all ended with a micro solution to help address what’s a macro issue that in fact can do not a jot to fix that macro problem, and in fact makes things worse for everyone – more beneficiaries get to miss on on a job and stay on benefits and the government gets to shell out more than what it’d otherwise have to. Thanks Jacinda.

    • Johan 6.3

      Fantastic send them overseas if no one in NZ is able to hand them a job on a platter, after all to be given a job is one’s birth right. I have seen so man new immigrants from China and India in the past 15 years, who have the initiative and entrepreneurial drive to make a living from self manufactured jobs. It appears that we need more people with courage and skill to set-up small businesses and eventually be able to hire more people.

      • karol 6.3.1

        The Chinese and Indian people who come to NZ, tend to be ones from families that can afford the money required for changing countries and moving such a distance.  They tend to be reasonably well-educated and have the resources and know-how to set themselves up in business.  

        The ones who remain in those countries tend to be from low income backgrounds & most end up working in sweatshops to produce cheap products for countries like NZ.

        • Olwyn 6.3.1.1

          I have also seen Indian and Chinese immigrants in the dole office, as well as solo mums who have invented jobs for themselves. I do not know the numbers in either case so I do not jump to conclusions. By and large though, you do need either some personal resources or someone who can lend you a little money to create a job for yourself.

          The fact is, people are obliged to work, but no one is obliged to give them jobs. One of the cruellest things in the world is to give people obligations that they can’t possibly fulfil, but Jacinda is probably not allowed to mention the cruelty of it; just that something or other “does not work” or is ‘a burden on the tax payer,” or similar.

          This is because some of the people to whom Labour wants to appeal, though not necessarily represent (which is another question altogether), hate beneficiaries. Just as people have in the past hated the Irish, the black, the gay, etc. The hatred of these groups was in part overcome by outrage at injustice and appeals to people’s better nature. The Labour leadership team, however, does not seem to have imaginations that extend so far.

          • Colonial Viper 6.3.1.1.1

            Just heard them taking the piss out of the beneficiaries/flights to Australia thing on radio.

            The announcers wanted to know whether its just flights, or do beneficiaries get a full “flights and accommodation” package, can you choose the hotel you stay at eg the Novotel, and are return tickets included.

            Life as a beneficiary must be really great.

            • I hate vipers 6.3.1.1.1.1

              Maybe your mate Cunliffe can help, oh hang-on he got sacked and is now sulkng on the back benches. Too bad, haha. Shearer showed, what your bitch doesn’t have, balls! What a fucktard.

          • xtasy 6.3.1.1.2

            I do not want to sound “racist”, but I have met some, and heard of Chinese and Indian work visa holders and prospective permanent residents going to great lengths to find ways to bend the rules, and to “create” jobs, or be the recipients of “created” jobs or businesses, that were never really meant to last!

            A fair few of them “passed” the hurdles and got PR in the end, some of whom ended up in ordinary jobs, others on the benefit.

            This has also been abused by both major parties to gain votes, namely to “assist” certain migrants and their relatives to get into the country, and to “work” here, which happens in some cases, but in others it could and would never work.

            Phil Goff has a fair few answers to give there, same as some Nat MPs. It applies to various migrant groups by the way.

            That is NOT how a country and society should be run, I feel.

        • Johan 6.3.1.2

          I don’t necessarily agree Karol that these people are monetarily and educationally better off. These people often borrow money from others, (NZ’s have the same option), to set themselves up in a small business and then work very long hours to meet some sort of success. I venture to say that many NZ’s seeking work are unwilling to make these sacrifices.

          • Colonial Viper 6.3.1.2.1

            You’re dreaming and playing to stereotypes mate.

            And what about the 98% of people who aren’t cut out to be entrepreneurial, or who don’t want to make their children work behind the counter of their shop for free?

            These people often borrow money from others, (NZ’s have the same option)

            Please specify who you can borrow money from to start up a new business, especially if you don’t already own property, and at what usurous interest rates.

            • Johan 6.3.1.2.1.1

              CV you must be dreaming yourself, did you pluck that 98% figure out of the air, or is it just your kind of B.S. to facilitate a discussion? If you were hardup, would you consider taking up eg a lawnmowing business? Just one idea, simple straight forward and with very little cash outlay. Entrepreneurial skills are being taught and developed at certain schools, these skills, I like to add should be taught to the younger children (primary and intermediate schools) to help them think creatively.

              • Colonial Viper

                So you’re arguing that these Chinese and Indian immgrants are picking up lawn mowing businesses? I mean all you need is a car, a few hundred dollars worth of equipment, and then you can go compete against all the established lawn mowing franchises out there yeah?

                Any other brain dead suggestions? Ones which will pay decently, perhaps?

                So who is lending money to start new businesses with?

                • Colonial Viper

                  By the way, how many lawns do you have to mow a week to make $800 a week, net?

                  • karol

                    By the way, how many lawns do you have to mow a week to make $800 a week, net?

                    Ask the Nats.

                    In the debate just finished in the house on protection of young workers private members Bill (and voted down), it was one of the jobs mentioned that people under 16 years do as independent contractors.  And they were talking about children as young as 10 years.

                    Under 16 yr olds as contractors is something Nats celebrate as a good thing, in spite of the lack of employment protections. They claimed it was an example of NZ entrepreneurial spirit, and young people exercising their democratic rights and rights to individual choice: the right to choose to be an independent contractor, for which they are regarded as having their own business.

      • millsy 6.3.2

        Well personally I think a job should be a person’s birth right. That was the whole point of full employment back in the days. As I said before, the system of having people slog their guts out knocking on doors and sending their CV out only to be rejected over and over and over is not working and is just demoralising so many people.

        Not everyone wants to own their own business, some people like the SECURITY of being an employee. That was the whole point of the ‘Hobbit hating’. All the actors wanted was ACC, sick leave and holiday pay. Peter Jackson could have quite easiliy afforded it.

        You sound awfully lot like an ACT supporter. You oppose job creation scheme, public health and education, welfare, state housing restrictions on air pollution and so on and so forth.

    • David 6.4

      To be fair, you really do have to see Jacinda’s remarks in the context of her wider commentary, which as far as I can see has been relentlessly and conspicuously on the side of those on benefits. She never fails in my experience to leave you feeling that people receiving benefits are just that: human beings interacting with a social safety net, who deserve respect and dignity.

      I think anyone suggesting otherwise needs to be questioned: is this a part of an agenda to paint all of Labour as right wing benebashers? Is it basic unwillingness to accept that Labour might in fact be the party of real social progress, a party wherein good smart and committed people like Jacinda can in fact find a place to work from, support, and a real possibility of delivering good social policy when they are the majority party in a coalition government? It is denial that Labour could possibly really be in the side of the poor, and have plausible plans for dealing eg with child poverty? If not, sorry, I really dont understand.

      • Colonial Viper 6.4.1

        Does the wider commentary, which from Jacinda is quite well tuned to social justice, nevertheless excuse tactical political ineptness.

        Because she’s help make a non-issue into another excuse to beat beneficiaries up with.

        • karol 6.4.1.1

          Agree on the tactical ineptness, CV.  I don’t know about commitment as I don’t know Ardern.

          In today’s question time, Ardern just seemed to be flying a kite without having done the background work: eg submitting a  written question for the relevant information.

          In contrast, Goff and Julie Anne Genter showed how to do use question time, having done the ground work before hand and having the documentary evidence on the relevant issue. 

          • Colonial Viper 6.4.1.1.1

            yes both Goff and Genter were highly impressive. I’ve always thought Goff very capable.

            In some ways Genter shone more brightly though when you consider that she is an MP with only one years experience! (How was Shearer doing after just one year in Parliament?)

            • Joe Bloggs 6.4.1.1.1.1

              Surely you jest.

              Goff’s inept allegations against Kiely can hardly be described as capable… reckless and ill-advised maybe, but not capable.

        • Mary 6.4.1.2

          Well, Bennett’s already said she’s going to put an end to the grant being used to help relocate people into secured employment if that employment isn’t in New Zealand. Is this what Jacinda wanted? Fewer people moving from benefits into real jobs? Problem is she’s arguing for micro changes to address a macro problem. Pretty naive. Hope she’s happy.

      • Olwyn 6.4.2

        I do not doubt that Jacinda is concerned about poverty, and I suggested that she might be constrained by party policy – I know she is not heartless. Shearer and co, while showing approval of the group that give lunches to school, and also of the living wage campaign, have not squarely and unequivocally offered plans for addressing poverty, and Shearer still stands on his roof-painter story, which expresses a shared and unexplored prejudice against “undeserving” beneficiaries.

        It is true also that I am looking at things through a jaundiced eye – I am angry with the party for so determinedly pursuing what is essentially a centre-right course when the poor need parliamentary representation more than ever. And as some have pointed out, the media have picked up on the “free plane ride” aspect.

        • Mary 6.4.2.1

          TV3 has just done the same thing, including saying that each grant is $1500 which is just rubbish. At least Ardern and Bennett are both finally acknowledging that the issue is only about relocating to secured jobs. Radio NZ has still reporting incorrectly that the practice is not allowed, but as expected Bennett has announced she’s going to end it all by altering the Ministerial Programme. Again, well done, Jacinda for be responsible for stopping people from moving from receipt of a benefit into employment. Great stuff.

          • xtasy 6.4.2.1.1

            Mary, in hindsight, I agree to your comments last night, she is NOT FIT for the job, simply not just inexperienced, but a bit of an over-ambitious IDIOT!

            • Mary 6.4.2.1.1.1

              Yes. It was good to see your comments last night have sparked this post by Karol today. We need to keep sticking it to Labour until they come clean on their welfare policy. Until they do I don’t trust them at all. The signs are all there for more of the same if they become government.

  7. just saying 7

    citations needed

  8. Arkonaut 8

    Jacinda’s question in the House today backfired when Bennett revealed that only 6 people on benefits have gone to Australia to seek work in the last year, but 16 people went there in 2007 when Labour set the scheme up.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      And that is simply more evidence of bad and incomplete staff work on the Labour side.

      • Arkonaut 8.1.1

        You cannot blame the staff for this cv, she directed the questions and she got owned by Paula Benefit. Jacinda is just a lightweight. Promoted well past her talents. What has she ever actually achieved? She was given everything by the labour party, every fricking opportunity handed to her on a plate and she’s done nothing with it.

  9. I e-mailed Jacinda about a concern i had with the policies of winz about various health
    issues and to her credit she e-mailed me back quickly and was helpful with regard to
    a situation, in all i had 3 e-mails on the subject from her.
    Jacinda is a new politician and is still learning the ropes,she will grow into the job
    well, i feel.
    Jacinda’s revelation about winz paying airfares to aussie for jobseekers had unintened consequences, it’s all about the learning process.

  10. Skinny 10

    Oh for crying out loud ‘what were they thinking’ actually why weren’t they thinking? So Bennett was able to sling mud back in Labour’s face. So what really happening here is MP’s self interest comes 1st, I noticed the posturing since the AC. Yes the New Year front bench reshuffle. The insecure incumbents desperate to hold off the wannabe’s. That’s what’s going on of course it is.

    • xtasy 10.1

      Yes, I noticed this “posturing” in pretended “confidence” by many caucus members also!

      I asked myself the same question as you.

      Was it not the base that raised their voices? So what has the caucus done to be more “confident”???

      Zilch, I must say!

      All fall behind the new head ram, who rammed one contender down the ranks, like a wild animal, not using common sense and brains. It seems to be all about “alpha males” there!?

  11. xtasy 11

    Thank you Karol, after reading through comments on Open Mike and also some other posts on other threads, and also re-reading Ardern’s press release, as well as following the media coverage to date, I have come to the same conclusion as MARY and apparently also YOU now!

    Ardern has kicked herself a HUGE own goal.

    It was discussed between one of the few still great NZ journalists on Checkpoint of RNZ’s National Program tonight, with Ardern.

    She was challenged with the fact, that it was a “back to work grant” that was introduced by a previous Labour led government, AND it was used in a fair number of cases already in 2007 under a Labour led government.

    Ardern tried to distract, accepted that mistakes were made, but supposedly not noticed, and tried to lay most blame on Bennett. I understand her reason and intention to attack Bennett, and for that it is “fair enough”.

    But Labour has a chequered history on welfare. I stated repeatedly the fact, that it was under a Labour led government, that a parallel kind of system was introduced withing MSD and WINZ in 2007, where new “advisory positions” were created, to have Principal Health Advisor and a Principal Disability Advisor oversee a range of Regional Health Advisors and Regional Disability Advisors in Regional MSD offices, and “advise” on health and disability related issues to case managers and other staff.

    It appears, from my information and observation, that this system, largely run by the PHA Dr David Bratt, was increasingly abused, to try and influence the WINZ selected “designated doctors” and even more generally GPs altogether, to tow a very tough line when assessing sick and disabled applying for, or being reviewed for entitlement to sickness and invalid’s benefits.

    Some appalling decisions have surfaced over the years, not dissimilar to ACC cases.

    I also learned through documents and other sources, that Dr Bratt and the former Senior Advisor Dr Rankin (both MSD staff), TRAINING of designated doctors took place from 2008 on. That is like having the prosecution be allowed to “train” a judge in a supposedly “independent” hearing.

    This has all been established under a Labour led government, and it was well received and happily taken over by this National led government, to tighten up on entitlements for sickness and invalid’s benefits under the Future Focus policies.

    New, now heard reforms go substantially further and will create a ruthless system similar to the UK.

    Now Ardern has NOT said ANYTHING re all this, she is always distracting, or trying so, with “media savvy” comments and little else, not addressing real concerns.

    I see her as now TOTALLY UNFIT for her role as SPOKESPERSON for SOCIAL SECURITY in LABOUR!

    She must go, like many others, she lets sick, disabled, children and mothers caring for them while unemployed down.

    This recent media story about flights to Australia, paid for by THE TAXPAYER is working along the same rotten lines as disqualified LABOUR leader Shearer!

    I want to see a real shake up in NZ politics and see a total need for a new and independent left party now!

    Labour does not care for unemployed, sick, disabled, sole parents and children in welfare. It is all just total lip service, and I am SICK of it!

  12. prism 12

    Jacinda Ardern’s choice of words about beneficiaries being given one-way tickets and help to get to Australia implied they were being got rid of, even being dumped there. She isn’t the brightest about the true situation for most beneficiaries, belonging to the David Shearer boot camp club I think.

    Her comments would just confirm the nasty idea that Oz politicians have about most NZs which is one of the big reasons they cut all our entitlements as tax paying citizens working there. Why we haven’t done the same here in NZ I don’t know.

    • xtasy 12.1

      Because NZ is DESPERATE for migrants and replacing the loss to Australia, so they do not want to scare away prospective migrants with tightening up on entitlements for new migrants. It is just proof of how desperate and hopeless the situation is for NZ.

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