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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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  • MPI still dragging the chain over causes of food bug
    The Ministry of Primary Industries’ release of Environmental Science and Research’s initial reports regarding the sources of a nasty stomach bug will be little comfort to the 127 people affected by it, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “This...
    Labour | 16-10
  • Treasury officials should try working without food
    The Green Party is challenging Treasury officials to work for a week without eating properly, in light of their advice to Government that a food in schools programme is not needed."Treasury's advice was that providing food for children in schools...
    Greens | 15-10
  • Councils need to better protect our drinking water
    Environment Canterbury (ECan) is proposing several variations to its regional land and water plan that will allow for increased nutrient and other pollution from irrigation and intensive agriculture on the Canterbury Plains. Commissioners are hearing submissions on Variation 1 to...
    Greens | 15-10
  • National needs to commit to making NZ workers safe
    The National Government must do more to help make New Zealand workplaces a safer place to work in, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Data released by Statistics New Zealand today showed that workers in the fishing and...
    Greens | 15-10
  • Key commits to deployment before consultation or analysis
    John Key’s offer to consult Opposition parties on whether to deploy New Zealand forces against ISIS looks increasingly like a PR exercise only, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson, Phil Goff. “The presence of New Zealand’s Chief of Defence Force at a...
    Labour | 15-10
  • National must end ideological opposition to raising income
    If John Key is serious about tackling child poverty he must approach it with an open mind, and overcome his ideological block to raising incomes as a solution, the Green Party said today.Papers released to Radio New Zealand today show...
    Greens | 14-10
  • Pentagon links climate change and terrorism
    Yesterday the Pentagon launched a plan to deal with a threat that “poses immediate risks to national security”; one that “will affect the Department of Defense’s ability to defend the nation”. It wasn’t referring to Ebola or ISIS. It was...
    Greens | 14-10
  • Four Nominees for Labour’s Leadership
    As at 5pm today four valid nominations had been received for the position of Labour Leader, as follows: Andrew Little(nominated by Poto Williams and Iain Lees-Galloway) Nanaia Mahuta(nominated by Louisa Wall and Su’a William Sio) David Parker(nominated by Damien O’Connor...
    Labour | 14-10
  • Green Party calls for consultation over terrorism law changes
    The Green Party has today written to the Prime Minister asking him to engage in wider consultation prior to changing any laws as a result of the recently announced terrorism law reviews, said the Green Party today. In a letter...
    Greens | 14-10
  • MPI must name product and supermarket chain
    The Ministry of Primary Industries must name the product responsible for severe gastroenteritis affecting people around the country, and the supermarket chain distributing it, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The Ministry seems to be more concerned about protecting...
    Labour | 13-10
  • John Key dishonest about reasons for wanting to change terrorism law
    John Key is misleading the public to push through terrorism law changes under urgency, the Green Party said today. On Sunday, John Key stated that it is not illegal for someone to fight overseas for a terrorist group, such as...
    Greens | 12-10
  • Law changes shaping up to be worse than first thought
    The Prime Minister needs to be up front about exactly what changes he is planning to make to the Employment Relations  Amendment Bill, Labour's spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.Interviewed on Q&A yesterday John Key said he did not...
    Labour | 12-10
  • Rapists, not Tinder, the threat to women
    Blame for rape and sexual assault should only ever be laid at the door of the perpetrator, not dating services or the actions of women themselves, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “Tinder is not the problem and women...
    Labour | 09-10
  • Safer Journeys For People Who Cycle
    You have a rare opportunity to tell the people who are making the decisions on cycling how to make it better. The Cycling Safety Panel is seeking feedback on their draft recommendations for improving the safety of cycling in New...
    Greens | 08-10
  • Subsidising more pollution will undermine water clean-up plan at Te Waihora...
    In 2010, NIWA found Canterbury’s Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere had the worst nutrient status of 140 lakes around New Zealand that it measured. In 2011, the National Government committed to spending $15 million across the country through the Fresh Start for...
    Greens | 08-10
  • Adding value not herbicides
    The HT swedes, and other brassicas, might seem like a good idea to farmers struggling against weeds but like the GE road, is this the path we want our agriculture to be treading? The Federated Farmers President, Dr William Rolleston...
    Greens | 07-10
  • ‘Blame the Planner’ bizarre approach to child poverty
    The National Government is stooping to a bizarre new low in blaming "planning processes" for poverty and inequality, after spending six years doing nothing about either the housing market or child poverty, the Green Party said today. Finance Minister Bill...
    Greens | 07-10
  • Media Advisory
    MANA Leader, Hone Harawira will not be available to speak with media today regarding his release “Recount Just One Step To restoring Credibility”. He is however available for media comment tomorrow, Tuesday the 8th of October, all media arrangements are...
    Mana | 07-10
  • RECOUNT JUST ONE STEP TO RESTORING CREDIBILITY
    “I have applied for a judicial recount of the votes in the Tai Tokerau election because it is one step in trying to restore credibility to the electoral process in the north, and, I suspect, in all other Maori electorates...
    Mana | 07-10
  • MANA SEEKS TAI TOKERAU RECOUNT
    The MANA Movement is supporting Leader Hone Harawira’s application for a judicial re-count in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate for the 2014 general election. President Lisa McNab says there are a number of serious issues of concern regarding the ability...
    Mana | 07-10
  • MANA to fight mass privatisation of state housing
    Announcements over the past 12 hours from the Minister responsible for Housing New Zealand, Bill English, and Minister for Social Housing, Paula Bennett, make clear the government’s intention for the mass privatisation of state housing. This comes during the middle...
    Mana | 07-10
  • Journalists have right to protect sources
    Legal authorities must respect the right of journalist Nicky Hager to protect the source of his material for his Dirty Politics book under Section 68 of the Evidence Act, Acting Labour Leader David Parker says. “It is crucial in an...
    Labour | 06-10
  • It shouldn’t take the Army to house the homeless
    National’s move to speed up its state house sell-off shows it is bankrupt of new ideas, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “National has been in office for six years, yet the housing crisis has got worse every month and...
    Labour | 06-10
  • Government must lift social housing supply, not shuffle the deck chairs
    National's decision to shift the state provision of housing to third parties is a smokescreen for the Government decreasing the provision of affordable housing, the Green Party said today."What National should be doing is increasing the supply of both social...
    Greens | 06-10
  • Election 2014 – the final count
    While we have to wait for the final booth level counts we can now see how well we did in the specials and look at electorate level data. First off special votes (and disallowed/recounted votes etc). There was a change...
    Greens | 06-10
  • We need more houses, not Ministers
    The Government’s decision to have three housing Ministers will create a dog’s breakfast of the portfolio and doesn’t bode well for fixing the country’s housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New Zealanders need more houses, not more Ministers....
    Labour | 05-10
  • MANA’S CHALLENGE TO THE 51st PARLIAMENT
    Ten years ago I led 50,000 Maori on the historic FORESHORE AND SEABED MARCH from Te Rerenga Wairua to the very steps of this parliament, in a march against the greatest land grab in the history of this country –...
    Mana | 03-10
  • Is this really necessary?
    No one denies chief executives should be well paid for their skills and experience, but it is the efforts of all employees which contribute to company profits, Labour’s Acting Leader David Parker says. “Salaries paid to chief executives come at...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Lyttelton Port workers also deserve pay rises
    Hard slog by Lyttelton Port workers contributed to strong financial growth for the company and they deserve to be rewarded for their work as much as its chief executive, says Labour’s Acting Leader David Parker. “Lyttelton Port chief executive Peter...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Māori Party must seek guarantees on Māori seats
    Labour is calling on the Māori Party to ensure protection of the Māori seats is part of its coalition deal with National which is being considering this weekend, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “For the third consecutive term,...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Donaghys job losses another blow to Dunedin
    The loss of 30 jobs from Donaghys rope and twine factory is yet another blow to the people and economy of Dunedin, says Dunedin South Labour MP Clare Curran. “Donaghys was founded in 1876; the company has survived two world...
    Labour | 02-10
  • 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
  • More Latté Than Lager: Reflections on Grant Robertson’s Campaign Launch.
    BIKERS? SERIOUSLY! Had Grant Robertson’s campaign launch been organised by Phil Goff? Was this a pitch for the votes of what few Waitakere Men remain in the Labour Party? Was I even at the right place? Well, yes, I was....
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • About Curwen Ares Rolinson
    Curwen Ares Rolinson – Curwen Ares Rolinson is a firebrand young nationalist presently engaged in acts of political resistance deep behind enemy lines amidst the leafy boughs of Epsom. He is affiliated with the New Zealand First Party; although his...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kelly Ellis
    Kelly Ellis.Kelly Ellis – As a child, Kelly Ellis didn’t so much fall into the cracks, but willfully wriggled her way into them. Ejected from Onslow College – a big job in the 70s – Kelly worked in car factories,...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kate Davis
    Kate Davis.Kate Davis – Having completed her BA in English and Politics, Kate is now starting her MA. Kate works as a volunteer advocate at Auckland Action Against Poverty and previously worked for the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. Kate writes...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Parker does a Shearer – oh for a Labour Leader who can challenge msm fals...
    Sigh. It seems David Parker has done a Shearer… Like a cult and too red – Parker on LabourLabour leadership contender David Parker says Labour borders on feeling like “a cult” and must look at its branding – including its...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • A brief word on the hundreds of millions NZ is spending on the secret intel...
    The enormity of the mass surveillance state NZ Government’s have built carries a huge price tag… Kiwis pay $103m ‘membership fee’ for spyingThe $103 million taxpayer funding of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies is effectively a membership fee for joining the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Where. Is. Jason. Ede?
    Where. Is. Jason. Ede?...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Labour’s Din of Inequity
    Watching Labour’s leadership candidates on Q+A on Sunday, I noticed the ongoing use of terms like “opportunity” and “aspiration”, and “party of the workers”. What do these mean? We glean much from Labour, and from the media about Labour, but not...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • “Blue-Greenwash” fails the test when it comes to endangered dolphins
    National’s pre-election promises saw some wins for the environment – perhaps as the party sought to appease its “Blue-Green” voters and broaden its popular appeal. Some of the ecological gains were a long time in the making, overdue even– such...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Reasons not to be cheerful, Part #272b
    Why don’t you get back into bed? The next few years — the rest of this century — are not going to be pretty. There is an obvious disconnect between any remaining political ambition to fix climate change and the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • OIA protocols and official advice ignored to hide Child Poverty
    It might not seem so now, but child poverty was a major election issue. What a pity we did not have the full debate. In that debate it would have been very helpful to have seen the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 20-10
  • Previewing the 4 candidates for Leader of the Labour Party
    The extraordinary outbursts by Shearer last week highlights just how toxic that Caucus is. Shearer was on every major media platform as the ABC attack dog tearing into Cunliffe in the hope of diminishing Cunliffe’s support of Little by tearing...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – the sudden explosion of ‘left’ blogs
    Time to Teach or more people will suffer from P.A.I.D. Political And Intellectual Dysmorphia.I was on the Twitter and a guy followed me so of course I did the polite thing and followed him back. He wrote a blog so...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Ego vs Eco
    Ego vs Eco...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • We can’t let the Roastbuster case slip away
    Those of us (like me) left with hope that the police would aggressively follow through on the large amount of evidence on offer to them (let’s not forget they forgot they even had some at one point) in the Roastbusters...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Food, shelter and medicine instead of bombs and bullets
    The on-going conflict across the Middle East – due in large part to the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq – has created another humanitarian crisis of biblical proportion. The essentials of life are desperately needed in Iraq and Syria...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • The politics of electorate accommodations
    National’s electorate accommodations with ACT and United Future were a big factor in it winning re-election. Interestingly, there is another electorate accommodation scenario whereby the centre-left could have come out on top, even with the same distribution of party votes....
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Why you should join the TPPA Action on 8 November
    On 8 November 2014, thousands of Kiwis will take part in the International Day of Action to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The rally cry for us is TPPA – Corporate Trap, Kiwis Fight Back. Why should you join...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • GUEST BLOG – Patrick O’Dea: no new coal mines
    Green Party and Mana Party policy is “NO NEW COAL MINES!” Auckland Coal Action is trying to put this policy into action on the ground. ACA after a hard fought two year campaign waged alongside local residents and Iwi, in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Comparing Police action – Hager raid vs Roast Buster case
    This satire had the NZ Police contact TDB and threaten us with 6months in prison for using their logo.   The plight of Nicky Hager and the draconian Police actions against him has generated over  $53 000 in donations so...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • Malala Yousafzai, White Saviour Complexes and Local Resistance
    Last week, Malala Yousafzai was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Since her exposure to the worldwide spotlight, her spirit, wisdom and strength have touched the hearts of people everywhere. However, there have been cynics who have argued that...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • Jason Ede is back – but no media can interview him?
    Well, well, well. Jason Ede, the main figure connected to John Key’s office and the Dirty Politics black ops is back with a company with deep ties to the National Party. One thing you can say about the right –...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Leadership Transitions In Other Parties: A ...
    As cannot have escaped anyone’s attention by now, the country is presently in the grips of an election and campaign that will help determine the fate of the nation for years to come. It’s gripping stuff – with clear divides...
    The Daily Blog | 17-10
  • SkyCity worker says she faces losing her house
    SkyCity worker Carolyn Alpine told the company annual shareholder’s meeting today that she faced the prospect of losing her house because the company had cut her shifts from two a week to one without consultation. The solo mother, has worked...
    The Daily Blog | 17-10
  • Greg O’Connor’s latest push to arm cops & 5 reasons not to
    I was wondering at what point within a 3rd term of National that Police Cheerleader Greg O’Connor would start trying to demand cops be armed. O’Connor must have thought to himself, ‘if bloody Key can get us and the GCSB vast new...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • You can’t have crisis without ISIS
    So the new scary bogeyman ISIS might have chemical weapons that the US secretly found in Iraq, but America didn’t want to expose this find because the WMDs were actually built and made by the US and Europe, the two powers...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • NZ WINS UN SPIN THE BOTTLE! Privately sucking up to America for a decade me...
    Oh, we are loved! Little old NZ, the 53rd state of America after Israel and Australia, gets to sit at the adults table for the special dinner party that is the UN Security Council. How delightful, a decade of privately...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • MEDIA BLOG – Myles Thomas – A World Without Advertising
    Non-commercial broadcasting and media. It’s a solution for all manner of problems ailing our tender nation… voter engagement, unaccountable governance, apathy, stupefaction, public education, science in schools, arts appreciation, cultural cringe… But no-one could’ve guessed that non-commercial media might solve...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • March against war – 2pm Saturday 25th October
    March against war – 2pm Saturday 25th October...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • Whack a mole as US govt foreign policy
    Whack-A-Mole was a popular arcade game from my youth.  It consisted of a waist high cabinet with holes in the top. Plastic moles seemingly randomly pop out of these holes. The purpose of the game was to hit as many...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • In Paean of Debt
    This week is ‘Money Week’. It’s an opportunity to promote to the middle classes, and anyone else who will listen, the virtues of wise ‘investment’. The aims are to promote the mystical (and indeed mythical) virtues of saving for the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • The last 48 hours – Poverty denial, war denial and unapologetic abuse of ...
    The bewildering speed of events that simply end in Key shrugging and proclaiming he doesn’t really give a shit is coming think and fast as the Government suddenly appreciate the full spectrum dominance they now enjoy. Here is Radio NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Mana 2.0 Rebooted
    Internationally the news is that Evo Morales of Bolivia won big with Left Wing policies But what are the chances that the Left will make a resurgence in this country? As the internecine struggles between the Left and the Right...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Blomfield IPCA letter – Has Dirty Politics leaked into the NZ Police ...
    It’s difficult to know what to make of the IPCA letter to Matthew Blomfield over Slater’s continued insistence that the hard drive taken from Matthew wasn’t stolen.  Slater has selectively cherry picked the Police referring back to his claim that Blomfeild perjured...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • ​Media release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union – Auckland move for K...
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is questioning a KiwiRail proposal to progressively relocate its Zero Harm personnel from Wellington to Auckland. “The purpose of the Zero Harm team is to drive KiwiRail’s performance in health and safety.  Rail is a...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Amnesty International – Friend request from an IS militant
    There’s always that one person, that one Facebook friend, usually a musician or event promoter, who, when you so foolishly accept their friend request, will completely inundate your news feed with copious event invitations and promotions. The person who, despite...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • NZ should follow the UK and recognize the Palestinian state
    Over the past two weeks, the United Kingdom and Sweden have made headlines through their decisions to recognize the state of Palestine. They are hardly the first nations to do so. Indeed, 134 countries have, in various ways, given formal...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Discordant Chimes of Freedom: Why Labour has yet to be forgiven.
    WHY DOES THE ELECTORATE routinely punish Labour and the Greens for their alleged “political correctness” but not National? It just doesn’t seem fair. Consider, for example, the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 – the so-called “anti-smacking legislation” –...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Hosking or Henry – Which right wing crypto fascist clown do you want to w...
    So Mediaworks are finally going to make some actual money from their eye watering contract with Paul Henry by launching a new multi-platform Breakfast show over TV, Radio and internet. This is great news for Campbell Live who have dodged...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Families need more money to reduce child poverty
    Prime Minister John Key is mistaken to rule out extending the In Work Tax Credit to all poor children (The Nation 11th Oct) and Child Poverty Action Group challenges government advisors to come up with a more cost effective way...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – Don’t shit on my dream
    Once were dreamers. A large man, walks down the road and, even from 200 yards there’s light showing between his big arms and bigger body. It’s as if he’s put tennis balls under his arms. Two parking wardens walk out...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Labour and ‘special interests’
    The media narrative of Labour is that it is unpopular because it’s controlled by ‘special interests’. This ‘special interests’ garbage is code for gays, Maoris, wimin and unionists. We should show that argument the contempt it deserves. The next Labour...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Ru...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Tahi) . National’s housing development project: ‘Gateway’ to confusion . Perhaps nothing better illustrates National’s lack of a coherent housing programme than the ‘circus’ that is...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Here’s what WINZ are patronisingly saying to people on welfare when they ...
    Yesterday, a case manager from WINZ called to tell me that I needed to “imagine what I would do if I did not have welfare”. I replied “Well, I guess if I couldn’t live at home, I would be homeless.”...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • David Shearer’s ‘no feminist chicks’ mentality highlights all that is...
    Mr Nasty pays a visit Shearer’s extraordinary outburst last night on NZs favourite redneck TV, The Paul Henry Show, is a reminder of all that is wrong within the Labour Caucus right now… He said the current calls for a female or...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Greenpeace 1 – Shell 0
    Greenpeace 1 – Shell 0...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – A Tale Of Two Cities
    Sunday was surreal. I went for a drive and ended up in a different country. It wasn’t intentional but those days of too many literally intertextual references seldom are. There is no doubt that the Sunday drive this week had...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Comprehensive plan needed to end child poverty
    Child Poverty Action Group says it is vital the newly re-elected National government takes a planned and comprehensive approach to reducing child poverty in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Metiria Gets Feed the Kids
    Yesterday the Speaker of the House advised that he had accepted my request to transfer my Feed the Kids (Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment) Bill to Metiria Turei of the Green Party....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • DIA undercover investigation leads to jailing
    An undercover Internal Affairs investigation has led to a Hastings man being jailed for three and half years....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Call on Minister McCully to pursue the case of Balibo Five
    Media Information: Call on Minister McCully to pursue the case of journalist Gary Cunningham and the Balibo Five...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Australia and NZ actions on press freedoms alarming
    Global support for investigative journalism in Australia and New Zealand is a welcome response to law changes and a police raid, says the Pacific Freedom Forum...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Call for release of French journalists in West Papua
    West Papua Action Auckland, the EPMU Print and Media Council and the NZ Media Freedom Network call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to speak out in support of the two French TV journalists whose trial has just begun in...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Court of Appeal: Dotcom v 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
    A The appeal is dismissed. B The 20 August 2014 order of the High Court dealing with confidentiality and the 29 August 2014 order of this Court dealing with confidentiality are set aside. C The confidentiality orders set out in...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Glassons Blasted For Glamourising Animal Cruelty
    Clothing brand Glassons have found themselves embroiled in another controversy after launching a new advert featuring a girl riding a bull. Animal advocacy organisation SAFE have asked them to remove the ad immediately as it glamourises animal cruelty....
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Smuggling honey into New Zealand isn’t sweet
    Smuggling honey into New Zealand isn’t sweet Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group applauds the tough line taken by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Border Staff at Auckland Airport. In deporting the couple found trying to smuggle bee products...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Taxpayers’ Union Responds to Joyce on Corporate Welfare
    Responding to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce’s defence of corporate welfare , Jim Rose, the author of Monopoly Money , a Taxpayers Union report on corporate welfare since 2008, says:...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Speech from the Throne brings welcome focus on children
    Today’s speech from the Throne confirms the Government’s focus on children, youth and their families in the areas of health, education, youth employment, poverty alleviation and Whānau Ora; now the challenge is to ensure every child in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • John’s Job Fairs no fix for unemployment and poverty
    “John Key has clearly been looking to the US for his latest bright idea on dealing with employment issues,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty coordinator Sue Bradford. “Job fairs where the desperately unemployed queue in their corporate best to compete...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Speech From the Throne Foreshadows More Corporate Welfare
    Responding to the Governor General’s Speech from the Throne, which outlined that the Government’s intentions for the next Parliamentary term would include further Business Growth Agenda initiatives, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Green MP to speak at panel on Rainbow Mental Health
    Hamilton, New Zealand: Recently re-elected Green Party MP Jan Logie will be a guest speaker at a panel on the mental health of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trangender, Takataapui and Intersex people taking place on November 1st as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Evidence Supports GE Moratorium
    Federated Farmers spokesman Graham Smith's call for a 'rethink' on release of GeneticallyEngineered organisms is misguided, and instead it is time for a formal moratorium on GMOs in the environment.(1)...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Chatham Rise mining could have impact on whales and dolphins
    Wellington, 21 October 2014--Mining phosphate on the Chatham Rise, off the east coast of New Zealand’s south island, could potentially have many impacts on marine mammals like whales and dolphins, the Environmental Protection Agency was told today....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Council endorses Nanaia Mahuta as the next Labour leader
    Te Kaunihera Māori, the Māori Council of the New Zealand Labour Party, have passed a resolution to endorse the Hon Nanaia Mahuta as the next leader of the Labour Party...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Kaumatua to organise petition to end Maori seats
    Ngapuhi kaumatua David Rankin has announced that he will be organising a nationwide petition to seek support from Maori voters to end the Maori seats. “These seats are patronising”, he says. “They imply we need a special status, and that...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Announcing a New Voice for The Left
    Josh Forman is pleased to announce the creation of a new force on the Left of politics in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Public services held back by poor workplace culture
    A new report by Victoria University’s Centre for Labour, Employment and Work shows that public servants are working significant unpaid overtime to ensure the public services New Zealanders value are able to continue....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • iPredict New Zealand Weekly Economic & Political Update
    Andrew Little’s probability of being the next leader of the Labour Party has reached 70% and Jacinda Ardern is favourite to become his deputy, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Prison Drug Treatment Unit marks a milestone
    Christchurch Men’s Prison’s Drug Treatment Unit (DTU) celebrated the completion of its 50th six month Drug and Alcohol Programme today, with the graduation of a further twelve offenders....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Security Council seat a chance for NZ to empower women
    The UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand (UN Women NCANZ) welcomes New Zealand winning a seat on the United Nations Security Council and is calling on New Zealand to use its position to proactively promote effective implementation of the...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Waipareira and ACC sign Partnership
    Waipareira and The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Whanau Centre, Henderson – marking a special day for the West Auckland Urban Maori organisation....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Humanitarian aid desperately needed in Iraq and Syria
    Global Peace and Justice Auckland is calling on the government to provide humanitarian funding for non-aligned NGOs (non-governmental organisations) in the Middle East rather than give any support whatever for the US-led military campaign in the area....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Court Judicial Decision: Dotcom v The USA: 17 October 2014
    The United States of America is seeking the extradition of Messrs Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and Van Der Kolk. The matter has been before the Courts on numerous occasions, and no further recitation of the facts is needed....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Marshall Island poet speaks at UN climate summit
    “The fossil fuel industry is the biggest threat to our very existence as Pacific Islanders. We stand to lose our homes, our communities and our culture. But we are fighting back. This coming Friday thirty Pacific Climate Warriors, joined by...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Many tourist car accidents preventable
    Simple steps could dramatically reduce the number of accidents involving tourists, says the car review website dogandlemon.com ....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • RainbowYOUTH: 25 Years, 25 More
    In 1989, a group of young people in Auckland got together to form a support group for LGBTIQ youth. They called it Auckland Lesbian And Gay Youth (ALGY). After 25 years, several location changes, a name change, a brand reboot...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Outdated Oath shows need for Kiwi Head of State
    MPs are sworn in today and New Zealand Republic has written to MPs asking them to talk about why 121 New Zealanders elected by the people of New Zealand and standing in the New Zealand Parliament swear allegiance to another...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Council shouldn’t revenue grab from windfall valuations
    Auckland Council should state clearly they will not try and capture revenue as a result of the latest valuations and needs reminding that the City’s skyrocketing property values doesn’t change the level or cost of Council’s services, says...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • EPMU endorses Andrew Little for Labour leadership
    The National Executive of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union unanimously endorsed Andrew Little for the role of Labour leader, at a meeting held yesterday. “I have been speaking to our workplace delegates at forums across the country over...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • World Food Day promotes Agroecology not GE technology
    The UN has stated that agroecology is a major solution to feeding the world and caring for the earth....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Labour Names Review Team
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Contenders for Labour leadership debate for first time
    The contenders for the leadership of the Labour Party debated for the first time on TV One’s Q+A programme today....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • UN Ambassador Jim McLay on TV One’s Q+A programme
    New Zealand's United Nations Ambassador Jim McLay on TV One’s Q+A programme....
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • The Nation: RSA President BJ Clark & Ian Taylor, New NZ Flag
    Lisa Owen interviews RSA President BJ Clark and tech innovator Ian Taylor about changing the NZ flag...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • The Nation: RSA President BJ Clark & Ian Taylor, New NZ Flag
    Lisa Owen interviews RSA President BJ Clark and tech innovator Ian Taylor about changing the NZ flag...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • Lisa Owen interviews Foreign Minister Murray McCully
    Murray McCully says New Zealanders can expect a 5-10 year engagement against Islamic State if we join military action in Iraq and the government will take that “very carefully into account”...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • Lisa Owen interviews Julia Gillard
    Julia Gillard says there is “sufficient evidence” to fight Islamic State and does not think it will increase the risk of a domestic attack...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • NZ businesses to make child abuse a priority conversation
    Many leading New Zealand businesses have partnered with national child advocacy organisation Child Matters to participate in the fourth annual ‘Buddy Day’ - New Zealand’s only child abuse prevention awareness day....
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • Tribunal decision significant for SMEs
    The Human Rights Review Tribunal decided this week in favour of an employee’s right not to work on Saturdays for religious reasons. The decision may still be appealed but the Director of the Office of Human Rights Proceedings, Robert Kee,...
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • On The Nation this weekend
    This weekend on The Nation… New Zealand has been elected to the United Nations Security Council, but what happens next? Lisa Owen interviews Foreign Minister Murray McCully from New York about our goals for reform, what America wants from us...
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • 1000+ supported by Te Arawa Whanau Ora
    Over 1000 individual whānau members are leading happier, healthier, more successful lives as a result of eight passionate and committed Māori organisations working at the coalface to help whānau find success....
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • Nomination for Board Members Now Open
    CRF’s objective is to create opportunities for people from refugee backgrounds to lead fulfilling lives and contribute to every area of New Zealand society. It is an organisation that undertakes advocacy work using the strengths-based approach,...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Anglican Family Care Otago staff to take industrial action
    Social workers, family workers and support staff working for Anglican Family Care in Dunedin and South Otago will take industrial action after their employer refused a pay increase that would keep up with the rising cost of living....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Use UN Security Council role to overcome inaction and injust
    Amnesty International welcomes New Zealand winning a seat on the UN Security Council and is calling on New Zealand to use the role to ensure the body lives up to its role of safeguarding global peace and security....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Grisham’s ‘child porn’ comments ignorant
    World-renowned author John Grisham has come under fire by advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation, for comments it says trivialises the global child sex abuse trade....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Latest leak of TPPA intellectual property text confirms risk
    On the eve of the latest (non)round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) yet another version of the intellectual property has found its way to Wikileaks ....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • New Zealand awarded UN Security Council seat
    International aid agency Oxfam New Zealand welcomes New Zealand’s election to the United Nations Security Council, saying it gives an extraordinary opportunity to make a lasting contribution to international peace and security and improve the lives...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
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