What a complete failure Paula Bennett is. If you could bear to sit through her interview on Q+A yesterday, you would have heard nothing but vacuous crap completely divorced from reality and her actual policies.
We learn now that not only do her policies unjustifiably breach human rights, they were opposed by Treasury because the cost to DPB families of the parent being forced into whatever part-time work they can get is not worth the pitiful monetary reward.
Thanks to the punitive rate that benefits are abated at, a person can earn as little as a dollar an hour if they move into part-time work while on a benefit. Even if you’re an ordinary person on a benefit and working on minimum wage, every dollar you earn over $80 a week gets 12.5% tax plus 70% abatement, a 82.5% effective tax rate, which means you walk away with $2.20 an hour. For $2.20 an hour, Bennett is going to make solo mums leave their kids alone during school holidays.
Add to that the concerns of the Ministry of Health. They say her sickness benefit policy will cause 49,000 more GP visits a year for little appreciable reason. Her overly prescriptive and stupid approach will see the health system clogged with GP visits that simply restate what is already known about the beneficiaries health.
The utter drivel that came out of Bennett’s mouth when confronted with Treasury’s and Healths’ criticism of her policy was mind-numbing. Just a bunch of empty motherhood and apple-pie nonsense. It’s clear that the complexities of administering a $20 billion a year system and understanding the consequences of her polices are simply beyond her and, worse, she is incapable of even being concerned by her own limitations.
Meanwhile, benefit numbers continue to rise.There are 67,000 more working age people on benefits than when Paula Bennett became minister.