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Benefit numbers continue to climb

Written By: - Date published: 6:30 am, January 20th, 2011 - 43 comments
Categories: benefits, jobs - Tags: , , ,

Remember back when Labour was in power and the Right had this myth that dole numbers had only dropped because Labour had moved people to other benefits? It wasn’t true but that didn’t stop John Key saying it during one of the 2008 debates as he promised to get more people into work. Now, 2 years later, 83,879 more Kiwis are on benefits.

National promised us they would get people back into work. Paula Bennett went on a six week paid holiday to the US supposedly to learn and come up with ideas to help her in her portfolio. They’ve wheeled out the same old beneficiary bashing as always. But it hasn’t worked. The jobs aren’t there and dole numbers have risen by 43,713 or 114% since Key and Bennett came to power.

The cost is serious – an extra $2.3 billion will be spent on benefits this year compared to 2008. Then there’s the lost tax revenue.An unemployed person on the dole pays $4,700 a year less tax than a person on the median full-time wage (which is $39,000). So, that’s $200 million lost tax revenue.

$2.5 billion is a big bill for allowing extra unemployment. And it doesn’t count the costs of poverty, crime, lost tax from people who lost their jobs but don’t get the dole etc.

Now, our National masters are supposed to be great businesspeople.  And what would a sensible businessperson do when facing a $2.5 billion cost? Well, surely they would be willing to spend up to that same amount to avoid the cost. They would be willing to invest billions in job creation – the Green New Deal, for example.

Of course, that’s not how National operates. They say that government should be run like a business but they won’t spend money to save a larger cost. Instead, the Nats want to use benefit cuts and aggressive new eligibility tests to punish the people who lost their jobs through not fault of their own and who desperately want to get back into work.

If only unemployed Kiwi workers had a government that backed them.

43 comments on “Benefit numbers continue to climb ”

  1. Wyndham 1

    “If only unemployed Kiwi workers had someone to back them.”

    Is that not the job of the Labour Party?

    • just saying 1.1

      Only if they are middle class (or higher).

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.1

        Thats why when Labour proposes a programme in Parliament its done!

        Perhaps the reason why The Government is doing nothing. Absurdity seems to be eaten at breakfast

    • Marty G 1.2

      Well, it should be the job of the government regardless.

      I’ve edited the sentence for you.

  2. big bruv 2

    The rise in benefit numbers can be reversed within a month.

    Slash benefits to half their current rate.

    Problem solved.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1

      Yes and that worked for Ruth Richardson ?. The numbers grew even higher

      • big bruv 2.1.1

        Sure did, and look at the way the economy took off as a result of her (and Sir Rogers) good work.

        The only sad thing about the Richardson and Douglas era’s is that Labour (under Clark) wasted the rewards.

        • Bunji 2.1.1.1

          The economy took off as a result? You must have lived through a different 90s to me. I could’ve sworn we fell massively behind the OECD average GDP that decade. With 9 years of government deficits and consistently >6% unemployment (hence Bill English’s claim that Labour’s promise to get unemployment below 6% was a hoax).

          Now the economy did pretty well under Clark & Cullen (with large wage & GDP growth, 9 years of surpluses and unemployment down near 3%), although we did fail to make up all that ground lost under National.

        • mickysavage 2.1.1.2

          Big bruv you are kidding …

          Look at the graph on Tane’s original post linked to above. Then explain how things got better when it is clear that unemployment and beneficiary numbers increased markedly.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1.1.2.1

            A look at the real economic growth during the Roger Douglas- Ruth Richardson years shows nearly 10 years of stagnation. ( there was a short period when Caygill was Finance minster).
            This ‘afterwards theory’ doesnt stack up. The easy availability of bank credit was responsible for the ‘taking off’.
            Conversely we will have the same stagnation under Key-English until easy credit reappears.
            Tax cuts hasnt worked either.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Tax cuts never work. In fact, tax cuts always result in a decline in growth. Not that I think growth is a good idea – a stable economy with people being paid adequately is a far better idea as it’s sustainable.

        • Policy Parrot 2.1.1.3

          The economy was crippled by their agendas.
          Any growth over the last 25 years has been in spite of the Rogernome/Ruthenasia reforms.

          Take a look at wage growth for example over this time.

        • Vicky32 2.1.1.4

          Did you learn that by interviewing your head, Big Bruv? Honestly, it is to laugh…
          Deb

    • jcuknz 2.2

      “Slash benefits to half their current rate…… Problem solved.”
      Sure it solves one problem and would create many more with crime, medical and so on.
      True the country seemed to take off with the few getting greater riches and the poor getting less so that we have become a grossly unequal society. Increase the range and the average rises but that is just figures, not the toll in human happiness and welfare, no wonder our alcohol consumption is going up. It appeared to be an example to the world from the experimental farm that is New Zealand but it is a false message. With the freedoms from financial restraint getting us further and further into the mire. Consumer society going mad. I don’t know what the answer is but cutting benefits is not the solution.
      Maybe on an individual basis the answer is to reduce our indebtedness to credit cards and finance companies and to only spend what we actually have in real money, hoping that the retail industry will survive on the lower turn-over, the essential part of it anyway.

    • Colonial Viper 2.3

      The rise in benefit numbers can be reversed within a month.

      Slash benefits to half their current rate.

      Yeah, and we know that if you take the benefit away completely, our UB numbers will be zero – unemployment successfully eliminated from NZ society!

      Hand me a Tui someone.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    Can anyone tell me why they bother to engage with doltish trolls like of big bruv? He is so predictable he could be a bot, or alternatively a shared account between Don Nicholson and Matthew Hooten.

    Can’t you just ban him for the serious crime of being an idiot on the internet?

    [lprent: We don’t ban for people being idiots or having views that we disagree with. We do ban them for being badly behaved idiots. Doing such things as trying to swamp the dialogue, deliberately starting flamewars, trying to divert the dialogue away from the post, stupid pointless abuse, relying on meaningless slogans or dogwhistles or unsubstantiated assertions etc etc. And of course there are the various self-martyrdom offenses like not reading moderations on their comments.

    It is deliberately pretty fuzzy because that encourages people to be careful of the bounds (ie we’re not interested in lawyering) and is a judgement call by the moderators. They only really have to answer to the other moderators, privately and in the background. But basically the people that do the work set the rules pretty much on the basis of what is good for the site.

    But BB generally keeps within the policy on behavior (but has had a few bans in past). He drives me nuts periodically but not so much as a moderator. You can see it when I leave some of my more acerbic comments in reply. ]

    • jcuknz 3.1

      A call for censorship by somebody not prepared to answer but just yell names? No answer is likely to change their opinion but censorship is the tool of the petty in many cases. Provided comment is in reasonable language censorship is a poor solution. It is what you find on the disgustingly run sites like Red Alert and True Blue NZ, Crusader Rabbit. But I agree that the people who pay for/run a site have the final word to do what they wish to do. .

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        No answer is likely to change their opinion but censorship is the tool of the petty in many cases.

        When you are trying to have a productive discussion you do everyone a favour by kicking the slogan swearing lout out.

        Free speech is a protection to enable serious and perhaps controversial or daring points to be made, not to protect the making of white noise and bullshit.

      • Sanctuary 3.1.2

        jcuknz – are your sure? I’ve moderated a lot of message boards in my time, and It goes right through the whole gambit of “teh webz must always be freeeeeeeeeee!!!!” to strict censorship. To my mind, the internet is not a monolith where one rule must apply to all message boards.

        I would consider a site like the Standard to be more like the newspaper it is names after, the comments sections to be more like the “letters to the editor” than perhaps the message boards on a music site or somesuch. And like any newspaper, I consider it entirely appropriate for a site like this to have an editor for what gets published, with certain individuals (traditionally a slightly mad compulsive-obsessive retiree who writes daily about flouride in the water supply) being filtered out…

        But as you say, it isn’t yours or my call.

  4. BLiP 4

    Of course they are great business people – they are using public funds to establish a vast pool of hungry workers willing to work for next to nothing and eat shit sandwiches from crap employers. Loss of tax income . . . pfft – close a few hospitals, sell a few defence force bases and school paygrounds and, hey presto, money in the bank.

    • kriswgtn 4.1

      And stop their (MP’s) pay increases and perks and everything else they get

      Anti Spam word=Grown

      yeah their wages and salaries have grown all right-PIGS

  5. burt 5

    OMG – Labour managed NZ into recession before the rest of the world even knew we had a global crisis and the lovers of big govt and retrospectively validated PMs now blame National. Guess thats what you expect from supporters of a PM who never admitted her own mistakes and always blamed others for her failings.

    • Bright Red 5.1

      3 years ago, (3!) New Zealand was experiencing its first negative quarter in the recession along with:
      Canada,
      Denmark,
      Estonia,
      Ireland,
      Norway,
      Slovakia
      Sweden,
      the US,

      All the others followed a quarter behind.

      NZ did not enter recession before the rest of the world. And Labour did not create the credit crisis, the drought, and the oil price shock.

      And it’s your mates in charge now. It’s their duty to respond in the here and now. Playing factually incorrect blame games doesn’t absolve them of that duty.

    • BLiP 5.2

      Tell me, Burt, when English said in December 2008:

      ‘I want to stress that New Zealand starts from a reasonable position in dealing with the uncertainty of our economic outlook. In New Zealand we have room to respond. This is the rainy day that Government has been saving up for,”

      . . . was Blinglish lying then or are you lying now?

      • burt 5.2.1

        For sure, he was telling porkies when he said that. He has contradicted that statement several times and for some reason you people who love it when Labour use parliament to keep their leader out of court forget that he has made numerous statements that contradict that one.

        • BLiP 5.2.1.1

          Good to see you acknowledge the mendacity of the National Ltd™ Minister of Finance. The evidence is overwhelming, after all. . Now, about your statement:

          “Labour managed NZ into recession before the rest of the world . . .

          . . . DOX or GTFO.

        • The Economic Illiteracy Support Group 5.2.1.2

          So, exploring this novel hypothesis of yours, burt, let’s assume that Labour got us into a recession. Why do you then think that National has been such a complete and utter failure at getting us back to pre-2007 growth levels … aside from their incompetent economic management, of course?

          • tsmithfield 5.2.1.2.1

            TEISG “Why do you then think that National has been such a complete and utter failure at getting us back to pre-2007 growth levels … aside from their incompetent economic management, of course?”

            Ummm… Exactly how many countries in the world are back at pre-2007 growth levels? Perhaps you could name a few. Perhaps the reason that NZ is not at pre-2007 growth levels is something to do with the great recession?

            • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.2.1.1

              I’ll name you two: China, Singapore.

              The China case is even more remarkable as theirs was an export led manufacturing boom – but they are weathering the demand crash from western countries very well, thanks to government intervention and spending.

              • clandestino

                And lax labour laws, wages, rights.
                And low margins, subsidies, NTBs, currency pegs/devaluations.
                And environmental suicide, pollution, mass poisonings.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.3

      I see burt is rewriting reality again.

      • Colonial Viper 5.3.1

        You have to know what reality is to be able to rewrite it. As it stands his is just a work of fiction.

  6. Afewknowthetruth 6

    As usual ‘nobody’ notices the elephant in the room.

    Without energy nothing happens. During the supposedly good period in the 1990s oil was under $20 a barrel; it is now close to $100 a barrel.

    We are now living in a post peak oil world, which means wordwide there can be no economic growth, though some nations (notably China and India) may achieve some growth in the short term at the expense of others.

    Mainstream economists are incapable of dealing with declining energy supply and a deteriorating environment, since energy and the environment are not factors in their equations.

    Therefore, do not be surprised to see a full-system implosion at some stage over the coming decade; probably sooner rather than later.

  7. M 7

    The New Green Deal if implemented would be admirable but will be met head-on with that bête-noir PO; however, it is far more productive than this do-nothing government. Dumb arse Bennett is lame trailing after Key like a love sick puppy but the buck stops with S & W and he’s obviously proud of his inaction and looks increasingly gormless as he hides out from the media that he’s courted so assiduously.

    Re unemployment and poverty there’s a documentary series commencing on TV One tonight at 9.30 called ‘How the Other Half Live’ and the blurb is: UK documentary series that aims to show what it means to grow up in poverty in 21st-century Britain.

    Note to self – make popcorn at 9.20.

    • Puddleglum 7.1

      Thanks M. Almost makes me want to have a TV.

      It was an unfortunate time to elect John ‘Claytons’ Key – the PM you have when you don’t have a PM.

      Peak oil, recession, relatively high unemployment, climate change – not a time to have someone ‘leading’ who is not a ‘game-changer’. As Colin James puts it:

      But (a tiny few aside) traders don’t change the game; they play it. Key has talked “step-change” but has stuck to “what works”. That implies small steps.

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    On track for one million unemployed youth in the UK

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jan/19/youth-unemployment-heads-towards-1-million

    This is going to lead to horrendous social problems over the next 20 years as a generation of purposeless listless youth with no share in economic society grow up and move out into their communities.

    The Right Wing government in the UK is doing just as well as ours, their youth unemployment rate is also 20%.

    • Brett 8.1

      Labor totally fucked England.
      If there was any justice, both Blair,Brown would be string up with piano wire from the nearest lamp post.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        Labour UK followed a pretty much neocon economic line as well. Nevertheless they saved the NHS, and brought many services back to the communities which needed them.

        If Labour were in Govt now there would still be cutbacks. What the Tories and Liar Dems are doing however is cutting too much muscle, too fast and too deeply.

        All the while giving the bankers permission to give themselves unlimited bonuses and reducing their tax burden. Usual right wing stuff this.

  9. seeker 9

    @ Brett ” Labor totally fucked England.”

    Nope -Thatcher did, followed by her disciples for another horrible 7 years. After18 years of ignoring the existence of “society” , even though,”in reality” we were still there, but under conservative governance our fabric had changed. Whoever took over in 1997 was facing a worn down,almost broken in spirit, wasteland of despair after cut, upon cut, upon cut.- all because they could.The Britain I knew and loved had changed.There was no constructive,creative or compassionate thinking to Thatcher’s approach – just rape and pillage and plunder /privatisation .(She came from up north, her ancestors were probably Vikings of the worst kind..) Community spirit went out of the window along with society. Amorality hit the country and it is still suffering. It was such a relief to finally have a change of government as some were really concerned that unless we got proportional representation , a dictatorship could occur! Unfortunately Labour did not bring this in. I have no idea why.

    I see this same ,what I consider to be, amoral ideology alive and kicking in NZ with NAct. – it so saddens me. Twenty three years of my life spent living under selfish, blind, manipulative people. Fortunately I was able to experience Helen Clark”s government which restored my faith in the better qualities of humanity– intelligent thinking used for the greater good, creativity, compassion and caring- all qualities one would think that all human beings would require in a government and for their children – but no! Reading posts from people like BB and Burt makes me realise that ignorance and short sightednes is always going to be around- must go and reach for my indigestion tabs again. At least I had (an all too short ) 9 years of decent, quality leadership under Helen. We only have one life and neo liberal ideology is such a life sapper, such a waste of time and (young) lives. May the egocentric scales fall from NAct eyes one day.

    • rosy 9.1

      Agree completely
      ‘We only have one life and neo liberal ideology is such a life sapper, such a waste of time and (young) lives. May the egocentric scales fall from NAct eyes one day’

      I keep hoping jonkey will have a ‘road to Damascus’ moment and realise that he would have had a pretty rubbish life as a child if it were not for the benefits of the welfare state (health, housing, education etc), and probably would not be where he is today if these were denied to him. And for this reason, they should not be denied to young New Zealanders today. It beggars belief that he cannot see this and use his popularity support access to the health, education & housing services that he used so well.

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