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“Work” and the false economy of Bennett’s welfare reforms

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, September 26th, 2012 - 99 comments
Categories: benefits, capitalism, employment, paula bennett, unemployment, welfare - Tags:

Bennett’s reforms aim to cut the costs of government spending on welfare. But what this means is that more of the necessary caring and service work in NZ will be unpaid, or underpaid. It doesn’t mean people will necessarily work harder or longer. It’s a mistaken belief of the bennie-bashers that beneficiaries who are not in paid employment, don’t do work that makes a significant contribution to society and the economy.

Under capitalism, “work” has come to take on a primary meaning of paid work. This tends to mask how much positive energy people put into unpaid or underpaid activities that are of value to society. (Henceforth, in order to avoid confusion I will use the term “wurk”, to refer to both paid and unpaid “work”). Paula Bennett’s latest welfare reform bill the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work focus) Amendment Bill, and a lot of the opposition to it, put a strong focus on paid work.

In the comments under my post on the second reading of Bennett’s latest welfare reform bill, there was an important discussion on the way both government and opposition parties put their main focus on work, getting beneficiaries back into work, and “work-readiness”. (Special mention to Dave Brownnz, Xtasy, Bill, and weka for their valuable contributions on the issue of “work”).

Mainstream economists and many right wingers tend to particularly hail the noble cause of “work” that increases the profits of private enterprises. They don’t acknowledge that some of these enterprises can be damaging to the health of citizens, society and ultimately the economy (e.g. think of some aspects of the fast food industry, the alcohol industry, an undue focus on RONS and the gambling industry).

In contrast, there is also a fair amount of academic, government/state and international research that has focused on the definitions of “work”, comparisons between paid and unpaid activities, and the relative contributions each makes to the economy. The government’s own online encyclopaedia charts the history of unpaid work in NZ. It outlines changes in women’s domestic work and other necessary daily activities like DIY, that are necessary to keep the country, its economy and its paid work force operating effectively.

It’s difficult to be fully totally accurate in classifying and thus measuring paid and unpaid wurk. Statistics NZ has a 2001 article reporting on the relative time spent on, cost and benefit of paid and unpaid work in NZ.

It claims that New Zealanders spend more time on unpaid than paid work; women do more unpaid work than men; in a year New Zealanders do over 4.2 billion hours of unpaid work, equivalent to over 2 million jobs; in 1999 the value of unpaid work was $40 billion, equivalent to 39% of GDP.

And a 2011 OECD comparison of 28 countries shows that internationally people spent one tenth to one fifth of their time on unpaid work.

Here the statistics gathered between 1998 and 2009 show that, on average, this is how New Zealanders spend their time: 16% (of their time on) unpaid work; 19% paid work or study; 48% personal care; 17% leisure. However, it is not easy to clearly differentiate “unpaid work” from leisure activities. For many people, especially women, domestic wurk is something they do in their leisure time.

Bennett’s welfare reforms will be a false economy. They will provide more ways of controlling those on low incomes, resulting in an increase in unpaid and low paid servitude, for the benefit of the state and private enterprises.


99 comments on ““Work” and the false economy of Bennett’s welfare reforms”

  1. TightyRighty 1

    “It’s a mistaken belief of the bennie-bashers that beneficiaries who are not in paid employment, don’t do work that makes a significant contribution to society and the economy.”

    So those who remove themselves from the “wurk”-force voluntarily can expect the state, and therefore the working public who are forcibly taxed, to support them? Nice safety net we have here.

    I don’t moan about the unpaid “wurk” I did between 1999-2009, nor the unpaid “wurk” i have done since. I don’t expect the state to reimburse me either, stop taxing me so much would be nice. But hey, gotta pay for the massive majority of welfare recipients who do such sterling “wurk” happily and voluntarily. like standing in the winz queue.

    So the 16% of NZ’ers time spent doing unpaid work, how much of that is done by those also in paid employment? “wurk” as it is more colloquially known.

    • muzza 1.1

      So those who remove themselves from the “wurk”-force voluntarily can expect the state, and therefore the working public who are forcibly taxed, to support them? Nice safety net we have here.

      You might find yourself needing that safety net one day, and as a tax payer of this country frankly I am comfortable with the numbers of those who might “decide” to use the stystem, becasuse the relative costs are SFA.

      What I am NOT comfortable with is a government who sponsors corporate welfare, borrows from abroad at interest without an audit trail, continually legislates profits and jobs abroad, bails out its rich mates, and removes our so called demoracy a piece at a time..

      All the while little minds like you can only see the very small picture!

      • TightyRighty 1.1.1

        So you don’t like government. Whoopie. We all have our problems with it, no matter who is in charge. What is our second largest government expense? think about that before going on about little minds and talking about little problems.

        • muzza 1.1.1.1

          Why are you talking about government expenses, like it needs to be relevant, its NOT!

          NZ as a sovereign nation should have no problem funding its people requirements, job creation, R&D, infrastructure programmes, health care, energy, food & water etc, education and so the list goes on…

          Get the blinkers off mate!

          You are stuck with your little mind, asking narrow minded questions!

          EDIT: I don’t like CORRUPT government – FIFY

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1

            +1

            We can afford to do anything we want if we have the resources here in NZ which, as a matter of fact, we do have.

        • Dr Terry 1.1.1.2

          TightyRighty – you are confessing that EVEN YOU have problems with the Government? You had better tighten up a little more!

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      So those who remove themselves from the “wurk”-force voluntarily can expect the state, and therefore the working public who are forcibly taxed, to support them? Nice safety net we have here.

      Typical of you to have it completely reversed: its the unpaid work in this society which subsidises for free the capitalist money system.

      Not the other way around. Duh.

    • karol 1.3

      Tighty, yes that 16% is according to the OECD definition of unpaid work. The definition is somewhat problematic, with respect to the differentiation between unpaid work and leisure. here is how they define it, from the document linked in my post.

      The boundary between unpaid work and leisure is determined by the so-called “third-person” criterion. If a third person could hypothetically be paid to do the activity, it is considered to be work. Cooking, cleaning, child care, laundry, walking the dog and gardening are therefore all examples of unpaid work. On the other hand, someone else cannot be paid to watch a movie, play tennis, or silently read book on another’s behalf as the benefits of the activity would accrue to the doer (the third person), and not to the hirer (Ironmonger, 1996). These activities are therefore considered as leisure.

      But consider that some people are paid to play tennis, read books, and watch movies: the latter 2 done by reviewers, teachers etc. As someone who has spent most of their life adult life teaching, I have often noted that reading and viewing I’ve done in my “leisure” time ends up having been useful in my teaching work.

      And also note that the Stat NZ study of 2001 concluded that NZers spend more time doing unpaid than paid work. And yes, of course, people in paid work also do unpaid wurk.

      But when the government axes workers in necessary public services, as the current government is doing, there is an increase in people doing unpaid but necessary wurk. And often it is the people working the least paid hours, and on relatively low incomes, who do more of the necessary wurk.

    • RedLogix 1.4

      Simple question TR.

      If your wages were to drop, would you choose to work more or less?

      Be careful how you answer this question because the neo-classical economic theory insists that you would work less.

      • TightyRighty 1.4.1

        Too simple a question RL. Basic theory, ceterus paribus, would agree with your last statement. any other variable would change the equation beyond recognition.

        • RedLogix 1.4.1.1

          No it’s perfectly fundamental. The orthodox theory depends on the idea that the labour supply curve is forward sloping, ie the more people are paid then the more they will work.

          • TightyRighty 1.4.1.1.1

            Labour supply curve is actually backward bending after a point to the right the point of intersection with the labour demand curve. Simpy put, no matter how much you pay someone there comes a point where that person stops working more, and even starts to work less. Basic theory and very fundamental.

            • RedLogix 1.4.1.1.1.1

              So this means that there will be a different labour supply curve for every point along the labour demand curve … with multiple possible equilibrium points. None of which can be said to be any more ‘fundamental’ than any other.

              In other words the standard theory simply tells us nothing.

              • TightyRighty

                so you are saying that because two lines exist and could cross each other anywhere, theoretically, the standard theory is wrong? It would be wrong if you chose to ignore the other line in the equation, the “demand” line. But it’s perfectly true because you can supply your labour at any price you choose, yet you need another party to pay your price. Thus, markets. Pretty simple really.

                • RedLogix

                  Thus, markets. Pretty simple really.

                  Well no. A ‘market price’ is theoretically where the supply and demand curves meet yet the supply curve is not forward sloping and could meet at many points. And because worker incomes also determine commodity demand and in turn labour demand …it is not an independent variable either. There is no obvious or apparent equilibrium.

                  In other words standard ‘supply and demand’ theory is a very unsuitable tool when applied to labour.

                  In the real world wage rates are not set by any mythical ‘market’ … they are mostly determined by relative political power.

                  • TightyRighty

                    Supply and demand is an incredibly suitable tool when talking about labour, as it’s a good like any other. It can be traded, there is supply of and demand for it. It fits all the criteria of a good. Your spin that real world wage rates somehow don’t reflect the relative supply and demand and therefore price of labour as it is is complete bullshit. Prices don’t rise when their is a glut of supply. Prices rise when there are shortages. No matter how much you want it to be right, you can’t be as you fail to grasp this basic concept.

                    Simple question RL. If I offer you a good that everyone can get for free for $1, would you pay me that $1 in exchange for the good?

                    • mike e

                      The real world doesn’t work like that .
                      Maybe at a company level but internationally no, every country that we trade with is tilting the field in their direction.
                      ie Fisher &Paykel!
                      They were given 15 years of heavy subsidies by the thai govt.
                      What did they get from NZ a high Dollar Zero subsidies!

                    • RedLogix

                      If I offer you a good that everyone can get for free for $1, would you pay me that $1 in exchange for the good?

                      There are no such goods because no-one would produce a ‘good’ for free. Every real good has a marginal cost to produce. So the question is not meaningful in reality.

                      Of course from an employer’s perspective getting labour for free would be nice. That way they could easily achieve maximum profit and there would be zero unemployment because there would be unlimited demand for this ‘free’ labour.

                      errmm … except there would be also zero demand for all the goods and services produced because none of the workers would have an income. Ooops where is the equilibrium here?. Of course a ‘floor’ to the market such as the minimum wage and a social wage for the unemployed prevents this case from arising in practise.

                      Prices don’t rise when their is a glut of supply. Prices rise when there are shortages.

                      But when individual workers are paid more they are just as likely to work fewer hours, or not increase them. A point you just made yourself. There are only 24hrs in a day and roughly 2000hrs in a year and no amount of ‘incentive’ will get workers to exceed this about any significant amount.

                      In this case a shortage of workers might lead to rising wages, to fewer hours being worked, an increase in demand for goods and services …and thus to an even worse effective shortage of workers. In this case the rise in wage price is declared as ‘dangerous inflation’ and the RB bangs up interest rates to suppress demand.

                      Total real wages are not so much determined by some non-existent market mechanism; they are set at low end by the minimum and social wage price, and at the other end by the RB acting to constrain inflation. These are political mechanisms, not market ones.

                      And of course the distribution of income among workers is a whole different story which again reflects more upon relative political power than anything else.

                    • TightyRighty

                      comprehension and economics. Not things you would put on your CV are they RL?

                      [End of conversation....RL]

                • mike e

                  Its to simplistic Tighty almighty!
                  Tag team trolle of the day.
                  So where are all the jobs then!
                  Bene basher has said they are going to reduce the numbers on benefits!
                  So far we have nearly 100,000 more on benefits after 4 years of Nactionals economic mismanagement!
                  So whats changed to make any difference in job creation fact the situation has got worse!
                  TA crawl bag under your bridge to no where!
                  We need a dollar stabilised at around 63cents to the US dollar! then employment would increase!
                  Once those manufacturing jobs have gone they don’t come back we are being sold down the drain by the Rights adherence to fundamentalist economic theory!
                  Economic Terrorists!
                  The same idiots who brought us the GFC PONZI schemes!
                  Shonkey is our binladen Brought direct to you by Merrill Lynch the worlds most corrupt toxic investment Bank!
                  And as for spongers TA BofA paid $29 dollars a share 3 times the market share value which was paid by the US tax payer so old Shonkey sponger extrodinaire!

            • Foreign Waka 1.4.1.1.1.2

              Basic theory – ceteris paribis (all things being equal)- applied to labour looks to me so that in a very mechanical way a persons performance is measured to optimise return for a third party. The difference between slavery and today’s system is that the ancient Romans dictum of “bread and games” has been added to keep the masses quiet. Of cause there are a small group of privileged individuals who’s social job is to keep the rest in line. Naturally, “social peace” is best guarantied when the equilibrium of wealth distribution is just about perfect. We all know that this is like balancing a raw egg on a spoon and has so far eluded this government. No amount of pulling the rug under the hungry will make the problem of uneven wealth distribution go away. In fact things will go right back to the Dickensian era. Now the question that needs to be posed is: who is benefiting from this?

              • Colonial Viper

                We all know that this is like balancing a raw egg on a spoon and has so far eluded this government.

                Has eluded many governments in a row.

        • Mike 1.4.1.2

          If it’s a simple question then your answer should be simple should it not?

  2. ianmac 2

    At the beginning of the English Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century, the idea of the Work Ethic was developed by Church Leaders many of whom were also factory owners. By preaching the God expectation that it was your Christian Duty to work 14 hours a day even if you were only 10 years old, strangely enough the profits from factory work blossomed.
    And in the 21st Century? “Work harder, be more productive, for lower pay and get rid of those pesky Unions!”

    • TightyRighty 2.1

      Sorry? I don’t work harder for less money, if you do, you’re an idiot. pretty simple really. Sounds like you’ve been “wurking” again. Humans react to incentives. quoting “19th century formula of work ethic” as if it somehow trumps millennia of human instinct?

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        TR does not understand human motivation at all, nor 100 years of psychological study into why people do what they do. A sense of self fulfillment, societal recognition, altruism, etc. All things that neolibs like TR pretend are invisible.

        And the latest evidence – people’s overall work performance declines the more that money becomes the primary motivator. The more creative or intellectual the job, the worse the affect.

        • TightyRighty 2.1.1.1

          Humans react to incentives. because someone sat down 100 years and pondered human motivation means that their theory trumps millenia of human evolution. sounds dangerously like creationism to me.

          The latest evidence is correct about monetary rewards and you talk about about a sense of self-fulfillment, societal recognition, altruism. But you talk about them as if they are independent of working. Do you have a job? have you noticed how society, all societies, since forever have given the highest regard to those who show altruism while seeking self-fulfillment through the rewards of being successful at work? or do think we should just bow down to those with their hand out permanently?

          Do you work at all CV?

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1

            I work hard at keeping my partner happy and her parents work hard to look after me well. Surely you approve?

            • TightyRighty 2.1.1.1.1.1

              I don’t care at all as long as you don’t sponge off the government. I was only interested as you seem to know so much about working people.

              I do find it humorous though that you admit to being little more than a joke. What do you say when your at a social function and someone asks you what you do? i’d be screaming with laughter if you told me that face to face.

              • muzza

                What do you say when your at a social function and someone asks you what you do? i’d be screaming with laughter if you told me that face to face.

                And there it is…The real core of is issue. EGO!!!

                • TightyRighty

                  Ego: “I” “self”

                  What is your point?

                • Mike

                  Yep, I had to laugh. When someone asks me that at a social function I instantly know they’re an insecure bore, to be avoided. But before getting rid of them I always ask “why are you asking? does that somehow influence your opinion of me?” TR has shown himself for what he is, someone who is ego driven and is worried about his social status amongst his peers in terms of how “important” he/she and they perceive their occupation to be. In short, a twat..

                  • Dr Terry

                    A healthy ego is OK. But “egotism” is another thing, Right Tighty?

                  • TightyRighty

                    I ask because I genuinely want to know. I’m guessing CV would lie about it in a social situation anyway so it makes little difference. Cue the white knights though, ignoring the substance of the argument and focusing on the values of the actually productive person in the tete-a-tete at the social funciton.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I’m guessing CV would lie about it in a social situation anyway so it makes little difference.

                      Ahhhh the sociopath making predictions about others sins.

            • BM 2.1.1.1.1.2

              Hilarious, it that why you spend so much time running down wealthy people.
              Is this in some vain hope that it may save you from the guillotine?

              Sorry to say it won’t.
              As the hoards gather outside and you hide in your benefactors house you say
              “Don’t cut my head off!!, I’m one of you, look at my posts on the standard”

              Unfortunately for you CV, the blood lust is up and your days are numbered, so embrace the position your in, eat caviar and chocolate off the back of the working class, thumb your nose at the lower classes and enjoy it until the end comes.

              • Colonial Viper

                :cool: quite a narrative!

                Hilarious, it that why you spend so much time running down parasitic subgroups of wealthy people

                Added for clarity

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.2

            Humans react to incentives.

            Most of which are non financial, i.e. environmental/social/intrinsic in nature. Open your eyes to what it means to be a human being.

            • muzza 2.1.1.1.2.1

              TR appears to suffer from the classical signs of brainwashing..

              Human being = Slave consumer, unable to see beyond this mantra, and can’t begin to understand the mind trap he is caught in!

              No thought at all, or vision put into what this world could, or should be, and too stuck in the diabtribe to understand that views such as his are part of the problem, and will eventually land on his door-step!

            • TightyRighty 2.1.1.1.2.2

              most of which actually relate to ones position in society which comes from the quantifiable value one inputs.

              This is one big self-justification exercise for you isn’t it? you would be a psychiatrists wet dream. You spend all day on the internet justifying yourself as you know society doesn’t as you sponge off your partner and her folks. Do you get out and do the hard yards for the left parties that you support so fervently online?

              • mike e

                Tighty Almighty!
                So what is the incentive for you to blog away with your Chicago BS all day!
                Psychiatrists wet dream an Emotionally aloof Narcissist such as yourself!
                Are you wasting company time doing this sponging of the hard labour of other investors and workers!

                • TightyRighty

                  Multi-tasking having been confined to the showroom while covering staff on holiday. You provide 70% of your companies invoicing? I can’t believe you would attack me, a working tax payer because of my beliefs about how my tax dollars are spent, while defending a lazy carnt who lies around the house all day bludging off family wealth who happens to agree with you? Your radar is WAY off.

                  • McFlock

                    It’s the quality of the argument, not the source, that gathers support.
                           
                    For example, your reference to tax dollars as “my” tax dollars is idiotic. They’re “our” tax dollars. Basic errors in fact like that mean that your comments are merely the delusional relics of an obsolete economic cult, unencumbered by any relationship to reality.

          • muzza 2.1.1.1.3

            The latest evidence is correct about monetary rewards and you talk about about a sense of self-fulfillment, societal recognition, altruism. But you talk about them as if they are independent of working.

            Where is this evidence, because you are talking absolute gob-shite

            Do you have a job? have you noticed how society, all societies, since forever have given the highest regard to those who show altruism while seeking self-fulfillment through the rewards of being successful at work? or do think we should just bow down to those with their hand out permanently?

            All societies…really! Successful at work…what does that actually mean?

            Your comments are juvenille garbage!

            • TightyRighty 2.1.1.1.3.1

              “The latest evidence is correct about monetary rewards and you talk about about a sense of self-fulfillment, societal recognition, altruism. But you talk about them as if they are independent of working.

              Where is this evidence, because you are talking absolute gob-shite”

              are you talking to CV or me? he introduced the “evidence” line. I caught what he was on about in the paper the other so decided not to question it. Try reading a whole thread retard.

              All. Societies. You couldn’t even name one that doesn’t to prove me wrong. But go find some obscure tribe that doesn’t work and has everything provided for them. You won’t have to go far given your moniker and general demeanour and intelligence. Your whole suburb probably thinks it’s a special case and “deserves” the welfare it gets.

        • ianmac 2.1.1.2

          Research also shows that the pay rise has a glowing effect of only a few days. The real incentive is Job Satisfaction and Job Recognition. Job Recognition is nothing to do with rewards and a lot to do with the boss or colleagues noticing good work.
          (We noticed that when we said thankyou to checkout assistants their faces lit up. This was in countries where it was simply not done to acknowledge such lowly workers.)

        • framu 2.1.1.3

          he also doesnt get that at a certain point you most definately work more for less $ – its called having bills to pay and dependants with needs that must be met

      • RedLogix 2.1.2

        I don’t work harder for less money, if you do, you’re an idiot.

        If your hourly rate dropped then yes you would in order to maintain your income.

        • TightyRighty 2.1.2.1

          again, to simplistic. All other things being held constant sure, but it would actually incentivise you to look elsewhere. or given the generosity of our welfare system. stop work all together and stick the hand out.

          • RedLogix 2.1.2.1.1

            If there is a positive relationship between wage rates and hours worked, then as the wage rate dropped, so would the number of hours worked … and crucially incomes, the product of the wage rate and hours worked, would drop even faster. So according to economists a fall in the wage rate should mean that workers will substantially reduce their incomes and devote more time to ‘leisure’.

            In reality the only leisure activity you can devote more time to with less money is sleeping. Some workers might have access to capital or skills to create their own employment, but these will always be a minority. In reality the choice for most workers (in the absence of a generous social safety net) is either working or starvation. Rather than smoothly choosing between work and leisure most people face a choice between work and starvation.

            This means that labour supply and demand is not a commodity, nor does it’s supply and demand behave as ‘market’. The fundamental neo-classical tenets that have been used to suggest it does are completely false and irrelevant.

            • TightyRighty 2.1.2.1.1.1

              So you’ve gone and thrown the simple question out the window? problem is you threw the baby along with the bath water RL. You’ve gone and applied the wrong market theory to this problem.

              There is a labour market, it does operate differently from other markets and can distinguished easily by the shape of it’s supply curve. Should of kept it simple , you had me on the ropes until you forgot ceterus paribus was the only thing keeping the thrust of your argument correct.

              The choice is not work or starvation for most workers. It’s for all workers. The welfare net throws the distortion in. As it once stood it worked very well. Now though, being an optional career choice, it provides a price floor for the market. Which creates deadweight loss and has the effect on everybody of pushing prices up. Good work on letting me point that out to you. Thanks

              • RedLogix

                You’ve gone and applied the wrong market theory to this problem.

                errmm … I was merely applying exactly the same theory you were using yourself, namely “I don’t work harder for less money”.

                Then when I showed you were wrong you moved the goal-posts.

                • TightyRighty

                  You jumped from telling me that all the variables couldn’t change to they could. IF someone offers me less money than what I currently am on to do the same job, I don’t work more, I move jobs. I’m not a slave. If any variable can change it’s the work. You seem to be labouring under the illusion that there is a monopsony for labour? that’s the only way your argument makes any sense?

                  • RedLogix

                    IF someone offers me less money than what I currently am on to do the same job, I don’t work more, I move jobs.

                    True for you as an individual. But it cannot be true for the aggregate of the whole labour ‘market’ … can it?

                    • TightyRighty

                      Ah yes it can. The mobility of labour is a pretty essential part of not being a slave. Funny how your union mates act against the free movement of labour. Slavers in the making.

                    • RedLogix

                      So logically the only barrier between a mobile labour force and higher incomes is that we should all move to higher paying jobs? Now while that may well be possible for individuals .. it cannot be possible for the entire labour force all at once. In this case it’s totally obvious how you simply cannot aggregate from the behaviour of one individual to an entire market.

                      Unless of course labour organised itself into a single trade union (the monopsony you mentioned earlier) and then logically the price of labour would indeed rise for each individual worker employed. But I somehow don’t think that is what you are arguing for.

                    • TightyRighty

                      Pretty much. the only barrier is the individual. if all the individuals have problems, then the market has a problem. If only half the market has a problem, then the other half are held back when you aggregate it. What you are advocating pretty much shows what a right fucking burden the current social welfare system is on the productive of this country. Thanks for making my point for me.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    You’re an idiot Tighty. The point of an economy is to support society, Not the other way around.

                    Further, the workforce mobility of an individual is highly limited. You close down an auto plant, it will take those workers years to retrain in IT, and many will never ever be able to accomplish the transition.

                    You are throwing people away.

                    Social security is an essential structure required to protect the population from capitalist predators.

              • Draco T Bastard

                The choice is not work or starvation for most workers. It’s for all workers. The welfare net throws the distortion in. As it once stood it worked very well.

                History tells us differently.

                The worst thing about poverty in the 19th century was the callous attitude of many people. Many of them believed in ‘self-help’. That is they thought everyone should be self-reliant and not look to other people for help. They also believed that anyone could become successful through sheer hard work and thrift. Logically that meant that if you were poor it was your fault. Many people in the 19th century (not all) felt that the poor were to blame for their poverty.

                At the end of the 19th century more than 25% of the population was living at or below subsistence level. Surveys indicated that around 10% were very poor and could not afford even basic necessities such as enough nourishing food. Between 15% and 20% had just enough money to live on (provided they did not lose their job or have to take time off work through illness).

                For most people in the past where you think the labour market worked it really was a choice of work or starve. NACT are trying to bring this back so that a few people can boost their own wealth.

                The dead weight loss is profit.

          • Mike 2.1.2.1.2

            Please explain, what is overly generous about $195 per week unemployment benefit?

            You crack me up when you keep saying “too simplistic”. How can a question possibly be “too” simple. It just requires a simple answer. If your hourly rate dropped then yes you would work harder whether you liked it or not because you would have to work longer hours to collect the same pay.

            simple aye…

            • TightyRighty 2.1.2.1.2.1

              I agree with the argument when just using basic theory. It doesn’t hold true in the real world. That’s why I’m pointing out that the simplistic argument is correct but doesn’t allow for real world situations by being to simple.

              Starting to think the the only things simple round here are the premise and you

              • Colonial Viper

                You’re the one who thinks that human behaviour largely boils down to just money. No, that’s just you and about 10% of the population.

                • TightyRighty

                  Being exceptionally good at HR CV, I know that there is a mix of factors that are involved in people motivation. Rewards, both intrinsic and extrinsic, fuel our motivation. But have a good old crack at a tory who likes money and works bloody hard for it. I’ve dated wealth, could’ve married. Would’ve kept working. Hold my head up high when I am the pub and all that.

                  Got your allowance today?

              • mike e

                Tight arse almighty!
                The latest research shows supporters of Conservative economics and policy!
                Don’t think much have a low level of intellect and look for simplistic ideas to complicated ideas you are a shining example!
                They used MRI scans to uncover the way people think.
                Left thinkers were more interested in community and cooperation and future consequences while right wingers were into selfishness and short sightedness1

                • TightyRighty

                  Do you even stop for a second to tread the tripe you write? Even basic proof reading would help make your comments slightly intelligible. Seriously, this post gave me cancer just reading it.

                  National Standards just might have helped you. how is it down in the LONG tail?

                  • Tiger Mountain

                    Jeez talk about “fear and loathing”, have a rest TR, pip pip, the drinks trolley will be along soon surely. Get slaughtered and leave us poor lefties to it.

  3. r0b 3

    Welcome aboard Karol – great post!

  4. Uturn 4

    Looking at work in the sense of “positive energy” will recreate the same mess we have now. Wurk is still measured by the dominant culture as being profitable within the existing system, effectively reinforcing that system.

    People measure their personal worth by what they do and their connection to each other through economic ties or the dollar value of the work if they were paid to do it. This creates a hierarchy and hierarchies invite all the abuses of power that the Left theoretically oppose. If there is a top, then there is a bottom. If we say, “You can’t treat me badly, I look after your children/parents/fix your house/do your books for nothing”, we are not doing “positive” wurk, we are using wurk as a way to reinforce our own worth, protect ourselves and maintain our position within a corrupted system; a system we perpetuate despite our “positive effect” and with our votes every few years. No one can appease a system that divorces humanity from itself.

    At best, it’s Bourgeois socialism, at worst Fascism and underlying all of it is fear of our neighbours. It is not until people stop rating each other in terms of profit, cultural or emotional benefits that a new arrangements can begin to form. No policy or politican can do that for us.

    • karol 4.1

      Uturn, you make some good points and provide much food for thought.

      Looking at work in the sense of “positive energy” will recreate the same mess we have now. Wurk is still measured by the dominant culture as being profitable within the existing system, effectively reinforcing that system.

      This fits with ex National MP, Marilyn Waring, being one of the international leaders in refocusing economics on “unpaid work”.

      http://www.aut.ac.nz/institute-of-public-policy/ipp-staff/marilyn-waring

      She has highlighted some important weaknesses in current economic orthodoxy. But she does still look to put a monetary value on “unpaid work”, and bring it into the mainstream of capitalist economics.

      The OECD report I linked in my post, also aims for such a result. And I notice in their definition of “unpaid work” vs “leisure” (as I commented @9.43am above). They tend to focus on egs of unpaid work that are stuff that people need to do for everyday survival and maintenance, or that can be measured in terms of monetary value in the short term: Cooking, cleaning, child care, laundry, walking the dog and gardening

      For leisure activities they give examples of watch a movie, play tennis, or silently read book

      But that book could be something like The Spirit level, or John A Lee’s Children of the Poor, which could be part of later discussions that contribute to long term changes in social policy, for the betterment of society. Playing tennis, or being able to talk with others in the community about watching Coro, could be an important element in developing community solidarity.

      Of course, the latter is doing something, albeit in a different economic context, that the wealthy and business elite refer to as economically productive networking (as in golf games and “business lunches”, which they can write off as business expenses).

      • RedLogix 4.1.1

        Not to mention that most vital ‘unpaid work’ of all … having the children who are the next generation of workers and consumers for the system. This is the ultimate subsidy to the capitalist system.

        Besides, without children everything ‘economic’ becomes utterly pointless.

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1

          Plenty of people out there right now who seem to think that hoarding piles of assets for themselves is the point. Even at a painful cost to NZ’s children they keep doing it.

      • Jokerman 4.1.2

        Excellent, articulate posts karol :)

  5. Dr Terry 5

    I notice that nobody appears to connect “work” to “sense of vocation”. What Bennett is threatening is that people must accept demeaning work, like it or not. Any job will do. Employment brings reward both financially and through personal fulfillment (or vocation), attaining certain goals. There is nothing worse than to be forced into degrading work which fosters resentment and loss of self-esteem (hence mentally related distress, often “depression”). As with most things in a democracy, work must be associated with an element of choice in line with personal aims.

    • Jokerman 5.1

      i must be forgiven Doc.
      ironically, btw, guess where i am going to begin Sunday, prayer and worship services (and some gardening i imagine) nothing like a little “new blood” aye? (becomes quite upsetting witnessing ‘the blind leading the blind’)
      anyway, when i took the latest Taonga out of me bag, a John Stott Memorial Fund brochure fell out on the floor…..like little bread crumbs left by Him.

      Once upon a time, in a cloud far far away, i had to find “things” to fill the day; now He finds me.:)

    • karol 5.2

      Agree on the divisive attitude to work as forced labour compared with vocation, Dr terry. Hence the image with my post of the non-choice (as promoted by Bennett for the low paid and beneficiaries) of wage-slavery or starvation.

  6. aerobubble 6

    Its called slavery. When the state expects everyone to work for pitiful remunerations.

    One sad fact about the activity economy compelled into existence by the emergence
    of cheap oil in the 80s, is the idea that growth comes about by throwing money at
    science, and does away with the ideals of a free society where real growth isn’t
    chosen by the market (or government) but by free individuals often living as far
    from demands of taxation, income necessity, surrounded in a society of equally
    time rich people. i.e. the activity society is transforming into the compulsion society.

  7. xtasy 7

    Karol:

    “Bennett’s welfare reforms will be a false economy. They will provide more ways of controlling those on low incomes, resulting in an increase in unpaid and low paid servitude, for the benefit of the state and private enterprises.”

    First of all thanks for mentioning me for some “contributions” re the debate on welfare, work-readiness and whatever else I may have thrown a few bits in.

    As for my selected quotation from your piece at the top: International experience has shown that such “fiddling” with welfare systems will not save much or anything at all. What the measures proposed by Bennett and her NatACT masters (she is just a useful mouthpiece and “front” servant) will result in is, that beneficiaries having less entitlement, due to stricter criteria, reduced benefit components, or in the worst case due to having their benefit cut (as “sanctions”), will be forced to find other means to make up for the loss in income.

    This will lead to crime, prostitution, secret odd jobs done by those on benefits that may be able to do something (“job seekers”), drug trading and so forth. All this will have consequential follow up costs of different types. Crime will create costs due to police and justice system work, prostitutes on benefits will compete with already working prostitutes (lowering rates, putting others out of “business”), drug dealing will take money out of consumption of other goods, in some cases keep cops, courts and lawyers busy, and doing odd jobs will affect tradesmen, lawnmowers, other workers, losing “business”. Also will taxes not be paid on odd jobs.

    So all that it will result in is, some more work in other areas, a shift of “work” and income between different groups affected differently, no real savings being made in the end, and a government thus likely going to react by making yet further cuts.

    The biggest losers will be those too sick and disabled to do anything, who may not be able to survive properly (see the Sam Kahu case), and thus some may see no hope anymore, thus taking their lives.

    Paid work is needed, and I am warming for the idea of Gareth Morgan and some others, favouring a basic community income or wage for all, which will be topped up for those in extra need (due to sickness, disability, child raising and so). So a lot of voluntary work already done by those officially not working for pay, will be rewarded that way, and further work can and will still be done, to grow the economy, which needs the right types of investment, not more punitive cuts to incomes of the poorest and not more re-distribution of wealth from the bottom to the top.

    • karol 7.1

      xtasy, yes, I deed omit to mention anything about the impact on crime and the implications for the disabled. I agree with the points you make on these angles.

      On disabilities – there’s a worrying trend on this in the UK, with disability-bashing being a growth sport, according to articles I’ve read – an extension of benny-bashing.

      The idea of a universal wage/income is a one I like too. It will cut the admin, and ensure everyone has enough to survive.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    This to not quite fir in this thread but I’ll put it in here anyway:

    My father commented once that all the work I do, means the government is getting my services very cheaply. The current government policies, however, make me feel incredibly guilty; that I have been unable to turn my contribution to society into something that can support me financially. I feel guilty because I know that I have enough intellect and function to get paid work, but employers look at the way I walk and talk, then freak. They need to see me at the LAC board table; they need to see me having meetings with the Regional Manager; they need to see the ideas that are generated by the Auckland LAC; they need to see me in the other advocacy roles that take up my time.

  9. xtasy 9

    Bennett has little time for such more positive ideas as shared in this thread. She rather wishes to pursue the same kind of ideological, misguided approach as Dr David Bratt, the mentor of Regional Health Advisors, Regional Disability Advisors and Health and Disability Coordinators – working under him at WINZ and MSD, to “train” and “guide” “designated doctors”, GPs in general, and thus “robustly” and “resulutely” deal to these “work shy” “benefit addicts”:

    http://www.gpcme.co.nz/pdf/GP%20CME/Friday/C1%201515%20Bratt-Hawker.pdf

    http://www.gpcme.co.nz/pdf/GP CME/Friday/C1 1515 Bratt-Hawker.pdf

    Work in open employment is the “best medicine” from his point of view, no matter what. He is supported by Dr Beaumont, who also advised ACC, and who sits on the Social Welfare Reform Panel.

    But thankfully some are onto it now, what has been going on for far too long:

    http://fyi.org.nz/request/list_of_designated_doctors_for_b?unfold=1

    http://fyi.org.nz/user/acclaim_otago

    http://www.acclaimotago.org/

  10. Anna 10

    I’d just like to know why I can get a child-care subsidy to use the services of a corporately owned child-care centre like ABC for Kids (totally owned by Australia) but can’t spend that same money to pay or part-pay a wage to a real person, for example a retired Grandmother or a Stay-at-home Mum… I’d much rather have the later… Just saying

  11. Angel 11

    In case anybody’s interested, I’ve uploaded my photos from the Henderson demo and march onto Demotix. You can see them here:
    http://www.demotix.com/news/1501576/national-day-action-against-welfare-reforms-auckland

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    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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