Another benefit beat-up

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, January 20th, 2010 - 24 comments
Categories: national/act government, spin, unemployment, welfare - Tags:

The Key Government’s anti-beneficiary campaign continues. The latest is a beat-up on long-term beneficiaries. Apparently, 9 people have been on the dole for longer than 20 years, 14 for 15-20 years, and 181 for 10-15 years.

‘Bludgers!’ we’re meant to cry ‘Bludgers!’

But let’s actually think with our brains rather than our jerking knees.

This is just 204 people out of 60,000 now on the dole (up from 17,000, thanks to National’s do nothing approach to unemployment).

Of course, any rorting of taxpayer money is wrong – just ask Bill English. So if any of these people are not entitled to the dole, they shouldn’t be getting it. But these people are obviously well-known to WINZ and they already routinely check that people getting the dole meet its requirements, as MSD Chief Executive Peter Hughes says “in all cases these people have been under close review and our staff have taken steps to assist these clients into employment”.

That means these people must be genuinely trying to get work. They find it difficult for a number of reasons. They’re older, mostly on the verge of retirement. They live in rural areas where there are few job opportunities. And often the long-term unemployed can have social interaction issues that make getting a job difficult.

But they are not bludgers. They want to work and often have been working. The fact is that some, probably most, of the long-term dole recipients have been in part-time work for a lot of that period. The longest recipient was actually getting as little as $4 a week for a lot of the time because he was working part-time as a bus driver.

I predict all of this will be missed as the Right indulges in another round of beneficiary bashing, which is all part of a softening-up campaign to get us ready for benefit cuts.

24 comments on “Another benefit beat-up”

  1. Peter Johns 1

    bring on the benefit cuts, we need them.
    What part of worldwide recession don’t you get?
    Obama’s stimulus worked a treat though, 10% un-employment. And it has to be paid back sometime, at least we have not been saddled with the high debts.

    • Bright Red 1.1

      “What part of worldwide recession don’t you get?”

      So, tens of thousands of New Zealand famileis lose their work incomes because of a global recession and your answer is to cut the benefit safety net?

      How about we rescind those tax cuts for the rich instead?

      Nah, you would rather make struggling families even worse off.

      • bobo 1.1.1

        Bill English said a few times that those who lost their job during the recession weren’t real jobs anyway… Labour never attacked English much on those offensive statements late last year I thought.

        And if Goff cant make any headway this year with a likely GST increase and Land tax (which is worse than any capital gains tax) he never will which used to be considered political suicide not so long ago for any party to introduce.

  2. big bruv 2

    Ok…on the dole for 20 years but they are “not bludgers”.

    “I predict all of this will be missed as the Right indulges in another round of beneficiary bashing, which is all part of a softening-up campaign to get us ready for benefit cuts.”

    One can only hope this is the case, it is high time that we got tough on benefit bludgers.

    • Bright Red 2.1

      you’re like a parody of yourself, big bruv

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      It’s not the beneficiaries fault that there’s no job for them. They want to work and are trying hard to get a job. The fault lies with the failed socio-economic system that we labour under that channels all the wealth to the very few.

      • sweetd 2.2.1

        Yes, it is the bene’s fault there is no job.

        Show me evidence they want to work? If the did, they would soon have a job.

        The rest of you post is just nonsense.

        • Descendant Of Smith 2.2.1.1

          Did these numbers drop over the last 5 or 6 years as more work became available, aren’t quite a few of them working part-time as in the example given earlier?

          There may be individuals who don’t want to work or are comfortable with their lifestyle but if we-re going to generalise in the first instance then the generalised data clearly shows these people do go to work when it’s there.

    • roger nome 2.3

      it’s my guess that most of these people should actually be on the sickness or invalid’s benefit, and they really struggle to function in society due to a serious mental illness. this is exactly the case for an acquaintance of mine anyhow. people like bruv would have all people with serious mental illness thrown to the dogs in proper Nazi fashion, so no use taking him seriously as part of current-day NZ political discourse.

      • sweetd 2.3.1

        Then, you would think after being on the dole for 20 odd years, and after countless meetings with peeps from WINS, someone might twig they had a mental illness affecting their ability to seek work? nah, I call bullshit and suggest they are just too lazy to get work. Failing that, they could always enroll in some post graduate study eh Roger?

  3. Good to see that the Crosby Textor dog whistle is working loud and clear!

    What is wrong with starving their children and forcing them to steal to survive?

  4. Descendant Of Smith 4

    Had to troll through the MSD factsheets to get this info:

    http://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/statistics/benefit/index.html

    As at September 2009:

    0.3% of people on unemployment benefit have received this for 10 years or more

    Looking at a few regions shows:

    Northland 4%
    Auckland 1.4%
    Waikato 0% Maybe Hamilton not’s so bad a place to live after all
    Bay Of Plenty 0.3%
    East Coast 0.2%
    Central 0.2%
    Taranaki, King Country, Wanganui 1.1%
    Wellington 0.4%
    Nelson Malborough 0.4%
    Canterbury 0%
    Southern 0.6%

    Northland, Taranaki, King Country and Wanganui clearly push the numbers up.

    No doubt if you had a look at individual towns you’d see places like Reefton or Marton or Wairoa with higher percentages than more urban areas like Wanganui or New Plymouth.

    Some help for businesses to set up in rural communities would seem to be a more useful way of improving these figures but you do wonder why when there are lots of recently unemployed. that you would want WINZ staff to spend time here when there are lots of recently unemployed wanting help.

    • sweetd 4.1

      How about the people move to where there are jobs available. If you are going to take the tax payers money for 10 years or more, you have lost the right argue about where you live.

      • Descendant Of Smith 4.1.1

        No doubt many do as evidenced by the reducing population in rural areas – ain’t urbansiation great?

        But tell me you’re laid off at 50, have a freehold home in small rural area and can manage on a benefit as your costs are minimal – rates, insurance, maintenance.. You could sell your house for $120,000 and move to the city but you can’t buy a house that costs $350,000 plus even if your bank would give you a mortgage. You have to spend quite a bit to move, your skills are rural ones anyway and you can probably pick up a bit of work here and there if you can’t get permanent work. You apply for jobs continually for 3 or 4 years but you’re too old for most employers and there’s heaps of others competing..

        If you move to the city there is no guarantee of work, costs are higher, you would need much more state assistance to pay the high rent than the state pays you now and you would be leaving behind all the friends you have grown up with.Your retirement would cost the state more because you would need more help with the rent.

        Of course you might get a job but it probably will be low paid give your skill set and you certainly won’t be any better off in your retirement.

        It seems quite clear to me why some people would choose to stay.

        Would you do this?

        • sweetd 4.1.1.1

          DOS

          Interesting picture you paint. Is this the case with these current 20 year veteran bene’s we are talking about? I suspect these 20 year bene’s would not have anywhere near the assets as you describe, (actually probably close to zero assets), and the skills required to earn those assets. Further more, I suspect the skills and abilities from someone who has a long work history would gain employment long before the 20 year bene’s.

          I think contrasting the case you describe and the 20 year bene’s are like chalk and cheese.

          • Descendant Of Smith 4.1.1.1.1

            Actually I grew up in a rural area and this exactly describes quite a few of the people remaining there. Others have got depressed and moved on to sickness or Invalids Benefit – long term unemployment is not fun, the older spouse has moved on to NZS and the wife has been included or the husband has died and the wife moved to widows.

            In many cases it was easier for the people renting to move because they had not bought a house and paid the mortgage off.

            I think you probably underestimate the number of people in small towns who valued homeownership. As places like railways and hospitals and milk and cheese factories and freezing works closed down these people were faced with very difficult choices.

            This is an apt description of many of those people.

            More data would be useful clearly – we know it’s 0.3% of the unemployment benefit population but I can’t find anywhere that gives an age distribution, actual numbers, whether they have other income. I certainly know two people who would be in these stats who are working part-time and have done quite a bit of that 10 years.

  5. infused 5

    There is no reason to sit on a benefit for 20 years. Go work at MC D’s. Move towns, jesus.

  6. vto 6

    Ha ha this is funny. I know a few people on the benefit in a wee rural town. They are long term beneficiaries. There is plenty of work, and they can work. Which they choose to do (under the table) if they need extra dosh for booze, new year, etc. When they dont need the extra dosh they simply do not work. The people providing the work now have to wait until these few beneficiaries decide whether they can be bothered to work or not before the work can be attended to.

    It is a bloody joke. There are huge numbers of bludgers on the dole. I seen it wiv mine own eyes.

    • Descendant Of Smith 6.1

      Not disputing at all that there are individuals bludging. Some of them are even very well off with money tucked up in trusts or tradesman nearing retirement age can do plenty of little under the table jobs as you allude to.

      No doubt as a concerned citizen you’ve dobbed in those you know are working under the table or does your concern about this only extend to bitching about it – all talk and no action.

      The point of my earlier post is that once you move from generalisations to individual circumstances you may find there are reasonable aspects to particular peoples circumstances or things are not quite as they seem from the data. We are talking about people here not as the language changed to in the 80’s human resources. They are not cattle to be herded.

      Looking after elderly parents would be another reason people don’t move. Of course they could go into a rest home and cost the state more than the benefit being paid.

      The lack of compassion many of you show is quite beyond me. But then you only see stats and not people.

      Absolutely deal with fraud and help people improve themselves – and expect them to take some responsibility. But try and apply a little compassion and common sense along with it.

  7. roger nome 7

    yeah – go nuts over it rabid rightists – it might amount to 0.0001% of total government spending. Then it might mostly be people with severe depression and/or schizophrenia. either way you guys look pathetic – and you’re just indulging in internet displacement activities, because you hate your lives so much.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Displacement_%28psychology%29

    • vto 7.1

      roger nome you are an easy-to-rouse turd sometimes aren’t you. Always the abuse. Always the personal attack.

      If you hadn’t noticed it was a looney leftie that raised the subject and invited comment. Why does it annoy you that comment is then forthcoming?

      “Then it might mostly be people with severe depression and/or schizophrenia.” ha ha what a stupid comment. Face reality. Do you know what reality is? Do you get out and about at all? Or just hide inside your little cave making dumb comments with no substance.

      Or how about giving us one of your examples of a dole bludger that you know? Do you know any?

      • roger nome 7.1.1

        yeah – dude’s got aspurgers. you take him to a party, and he just sits there by himself not saying anything. been on the benefit since 1984, and i don’t think he’s had a partner since then either. he really should be on the sickness benefit, but he’s scared of the trauma of having to deal with winz (he suffers from some fairly severe social anxiety).

        If you lived in the real world you’d probably know a few people like this. but you don’t. you just piss away your miserable life bitching about imagined enemies on the internet. feel sorry for you actually.

  8. Tim 8

    Am I the only one that is confused with the blatant hypocrisy. If you rip off the system by using trusts to claim working for families, don’t pay tax on investment property and generally rework your affairs to exploit the ‘loopholes’ that were outlined in the Tax Working Group’s report, government is going to actually change the system so that you can have all of these benefits, essentially saying because you have no social conscious and don’t believe that you should pay what everyone else does we will reward you with tax cuts.

    But then…if you are not bludging through reorganising your income (probably because you can’t afford it) and you do it because you are on the dole and probably have nothing then the government is determined to publically shame you and try and stir up resentment towards you.

    So…reward the rich for being socially unconscionable and persecute and punch the poor for the same thing???

    Does anyone else see the irony????

  9. deemac 9

    right on Tim – socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor (as Joe Biden says).
    Also, if I were an employer, would I be interested in employing someone who hadn’t worked for many years? Probably not – they are effectively unemployable.

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