- Date published:
7:00 am, August 19th, 2011 - 60 comments
Categories: jobs, john key, unemployment, welfare - Tags: denial, paula bennett
Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, and the cost of living, are shaping up to be the big election issues. Pretty inconvenient for the Nats, because their record on all of the above is terrible. Very very inconvenient for Paula Bennett, because it’s her patch. On Tuesday this piece on 3 News highlighted Bennett’s woes:
Bennett flustered by unemployment figures
The Government is receiving criticism for not doing enough to address youth unemployment, and Minister for Social development Paula Bennett appeared flustered today while defending welfare reform targeted at teenagers.
There are 58,000 people between 15 and 24 out of work, school or training – enough to fill the new Eden Park stadium. …
Ms Bennett also disputed how many young people don’t have a job, saying most 15, 16 and 17-year-olds are “in school in training and would like a part time job”. “Part time jobs have dried up for a number of reasons, but that doesn’t mean they’re not doing anything.”
However, it means exactly that: they form part of 58,000 young people aged between 15 and 24 who Statistics NZ today confirmed are not in any form of education, employment or training.
Nice to see a journalist firmly fact checking a squirming minister for a change – good work Rebecca Wright. Wright had more on the same topic last night:
Bennett, Key at odds on welfare
The gap between John Key and Paula Bennett appears to be widening on the Government’s approach to unemployment.
The Social Development Minister has continued to field questions over her conflicting positions on the Government’s new payment card scheme for teen beneficiaries.
Yesterday it emerged Ms Bennett had written to a constituent saying she didn’t support the payment card scheme, but today she won’t rule it out. …
“The best measure is actually those on an unemployment benefit”, Mr Key says – “about 16,000 in the 18-24 [age group]”.
However Ms Bennett prefers another measure, saying Government “prefers to focus on… young people who are not in education employment or training”. That number is 58,000 people aged between 15 and 24.
No government likes stories of high level splits to take root, so expect to see Bennett fall back in to Key’s line fairly smartish.
Mr Key says “for a variety of reasons” this group isn’t unemployed, but neither he nor Ms Bennett were able to say what the group of young people is doing.
So, while they’re clearly divided in their opinions and their stats, I guess its “comforting” to know that Bennett and Key are at least completely united in their state of denial.
Much ado about nothing. Bennett will fall in behind licking arse without hesitation, otherwise it’s back on the scarp heap without those aids she’s helped destroy.
In other news, the manager class believe workers are dispensible, exchangeable, free market dictates.
So obviously if the manager class does not believe workers are all that important then the society
would want workers to decide who inspects the mine safety. pretty basic 101 commonsense, if you
say you hate government and believe government should only concentrate on the private market by
deregulating the government out of the way, then it seems pretty obvious that these are not the
people you want looking after child abuse, poverty, jobs, or investments. So back to youth, how
pathethic that even after 2 and a half years this lazy stupid inane government decide that a youth
card will stop youth drinking who neither have the money to or legally could buy alcohol.
National aren’t not a political party they are debt addicted boozers who will do anything rather than
admit they have a problem.
Given the choice of a govt where the PM tells us what the stats are and all her ministers just nod and agree or the current situation – I know which I would rather have.
Yeah burt we all know you are perfectly happy with incompetence even if it is taking New Zealand backwards. Ever thought of being a minister of a National Government? You would fit right in.
Fucking hard case watching Key defend this and his frustration while Goff was quoting Bennett during Question Time.
From the sounds of it Bennett was arguing against the card and was so insensed that her soft
language was ignored, so in time honoured fashion dumped her remarks where the journalists
could fine them. Key obviously wasn’t stupid enough to not see that, so he let’s Bennett take
the flak. It should a serious crisis of leadership in the government that Key has a hissy fit
and walks out rather than support a senior minister, whose next? Who will Key break ranks to
avoid defending next? He would dare do that to one of his male collegues.
What does Key really know about being a politician and serving ALL the people?
I think Powers is doing Nationals dirty work before he exits.
National hate NZ because NZ keeps getting in the way of profit for foreigners.
How the hell this suckhole ever got to become an MP, let alone a gov’t minister, is beyond me. Actually being a suckhole probably explains it.
She reminded me of a pushy fat cow with painful bloated udders on the way to the dairying shed so Key can milk her for all shes worth….Bennett that is, not Wright.
I predict key olls bennett
Yup notice the areas the nat’s traditionally take to task with their ‘ideology over facts approach’ have some of the most unpalatable individuals in them, social development, industrial realtions, education, environment, ACC, maori, mining, corrections and of course good old finance.
Yeah in finance all they have to do is add to 1 with that because thats the most growth they’ve got and its taken them three years.
So let me see if I’ve got this right.
Is it the case that 15, 16 and 17 year olds who live with their parent(s) are unable to pick up the dole under normal circumstances? And that their parent(s)…assuming they are in enough paid employment….will get wff payments for those dependents?
So working out the numbers should be fairly simple, no?
Questions. How usual is it for a 15 year old to have left school? Isn’t the min leaving age 16?
Also, isn’t the min age for most types of work 16?
Going on my own assumptions to the questions I’ve asked (and I’ve asked them because I’m genuinely unsure of the answers), it would seem to me that Bennet’s figures are a bit inflated (though not by much) and Key’s are deflated (by quite a lot).
I can accept that some 16 and 17 year olds from reasonably well off families might not feel the need to seek work in the short term. Would that protect wff payments?
“Is it the case that 15, 16 and 17 year olds who live with their parent(s) are unable to pick up the dole under normal circumstances?” Yes.
” And that their parent(s)…assuming they are in enough paid employment….will get wff payments for those dependents?” Yes.
“So working out the numbers should be fairly simple, no?” Yes. However, Key is trying to tell us that the 17 year old on a foundation employment skills course trying to knock opff their NCEA and find a job isn’t “unemployed”. While I’d agree that a young person training to be a doctor or a builder could be taken out of those figures I DON’T think you vcan take unemployted kids on employment courses out of those figures. Espoecially as they’re most often one thoise courses because W&I have referred them there (…to get them off the dole stats?). Add to that that many young people “in training” have to support themselves somehow – so they ARE looking for work. Key doesn’t think that counts.
“How usual is it for a 15 year old to have left school? Isn’t the min leaving age 16?” There are no accurate figures for kids who’ve left school before 16. There ARE Exemptions. Usually to get an exemption the student must be going into further training or a job. There are a great many young people under 16 not at school and not in the system.
“Also, isn’t the min age for most types of work 16?” Depends, of course.
“Going on my own assumptions to the questions I’ve asked (and I’ve asked them because I’m genuinely unsure of the answers), it would seem to me that Bennet’s figures are a bit inflated (though not by much) and Key’s are deflated (by quite a lot).”
Benefitt’s aren’t inflated. They are the numbers not employed who want to be employed. Key is trying to say “they’re not doing nothing”. He’s right – msome are engaed. BUT they ARE looking for work. Work that he and his government seem to have no intention of encouraging.
I can accept that some 16 and 17 year olds from reasonably well off families might not feel the need to seek work in the short term. Would that protect wff payments?
So there is a slight difficulty in compiling the numbers because it may well be the case that to avoid the onerous situation of dealing with WINZ, there will be number of 16 and 17 year olds who are living with their parents who may be passing the wff payments to them to live off of while providing them some combination of food and board.
Whatever the various scenarios, JK’s figures are massively deflated. But I did want a bit of a handle on the possible intricacies. So thanks.
Except, don’t those figures include teens at high school, most of whom presumably are supported by their parents and not looking for employment?
“However Ms Bennett prefers another measure, saying Government “prefers to focus on… young people who are not in education employment or training”. That number is 58,000 people aged between 15 and 24.”
So if you subtract the 16 000 18 -24 year olds that JK prefers to count, then there are 42 000 15, 16 and 17 year olds who are not in eductation, employment or training.
Question. Would the wff payments cease if your 17 year old registered as unemployed? ‘Cause like he/she would essentially be claiming to be independent, right? But they wouldn’t get money. Sooo…. Are the parents of 42 000 children scamming wff?
And if they are, how many weeks of 42 000 wff payments would it take to surpass the yearly benefit fraud total?
Forget that. Found the answer. 42 000 people drop off the ‘unemployment register’. The parent(s) get wff as long as the dependent works less than 30 hours a week or is 18 and in secondary or tertiary education. And if they turn 18 on the 30th Dec wff payments are made for 1 day. Whereas if they turn 18 on the 1st Jan, wff payments are made for the next 364 days!
National is about to require all schools to send records to MSD on when each student leaves school. Not sure if that will be personal information or stats only.
I think I heard Key say on the news last night, that many of these kids are taking a gap year between school and uni, to work on their father’s farm… I imagine that a very small number of kids would actually being doing any such thing!
Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Any two people who are hard to tell apart.
The government can get away with making up their numbers and interpreting them in a variety of ways because they’re effectively the gatekeeper of the information. Stats NZ puts the real numbers out there, but the media never bother to actually follow them up and try to understand them themselves. So we get Key saying “achully they aren’t unemployed, they’re in training and the real number is x”, when the Stats NZ numbers clearly show what he is talking about is actually y. But the media never bother to fact-check him and confront him saying “you’re wrong”.
Labour are fairly half-hearted at following this up too, but whenever they do the media doesn’t cover it and the “punters out in punter-land” either don’t understand/care or because they think the sun shines out of Key’s bum and Labour are clearly partisan that they must be lying or putting a negative spin on Key’s perfectly correct figures.
It would help if StatsNZ’s data was better accessible. Their website is very user unfriendly.
Bennett and Key at odds? This sounds as if they are differing equals. Hardly. One is an ambitious, fluent, personable young woman eager to work to the requirements of her employers.
The other is the present political head of the country with high standing in the minds of many of the people and presently with maximum votes. He and the inner cabal of the Cabinet will direct her as to her announced policies.
She has had expensive grooming in neo liberal attitudes to welfare in the USA and if she ever had an individual thought about positive ways of working with welfare recipients to help them to individual self-support that would have been overriden. Such positive ways would both build their capabilities and confidence and lead to viable, continuing work which powers them to make their individual lives.
wait till every body has a payment card if they are employed or not!
you heard it here first.
Smart cards be damned !
Let’s skip right to implanted microchips or tattooed bar codes.
The mark of the beast, from Revelation?
And buried under this bickering and policy waffling everyone seems to have completely forgotten that one of the worst casualties of the 2008 election result was Labour’s committment to raising the education leaving age to 18.
Instead of all these half-arsed band-aid measures National is playing political footsie with, Helen Clark could see what was coming down the road.
In reality there are virtually no worthwhile jobs in the modern world that do not require some form of tertiary education. Gone are the days when a smart boy could make good leaving school at 15 and working his way up. These days if you are 18 and don’t have a piece of paper, or well on the way to one, you are almost certainly going to be on the bottom of the heap for the rest of your life. That’s a shocking waste and a burden on the whole of society
Our entire education system needs to be re-calibrated and supported to take account of this reality. Yes it will require some innovation and flexibility but it can be done. And critically the govt must take responsibility to ensure young people who are entering the working world MUST have those critical first opportunities that get them on the right path.
Up until the 1980’s we had large govt departments like NZR and MOW which acted as ’employers of last resort’ (not a perogative term but a very respectable economic idea) … but the neo-libs in their madness have dismantled that option.
Red Logix Well said. I thought of a young chap I knew. Home difficulties, good home and parents but things going awry. He was unsettled, felt uncomfortable with the change of faces each year at secondary school etc. Had a maths teacher who tried to spur him to more effort by stating you’re never going to amount to anything, you’ll be a loser if you keep on like this.
But there was a transition to work program and he decided to go on that and stick with it. Worked for a landscaper which suited him as he had experience with a hammer and shovel and liked outdoor life. He got some rough tongue but weathered that and proved he could follow instructions and stick with a job unsupervised. He then got into fishing training. Had to go to Polytech and do some paperwork – got most of his certificates. Managed the time at sea and the fishing culture. Got a job – returned to Polytech and passed the certificate previously failed, plus achieved higher levels. Now out of fishing but still in marine work.
He found his strengths, learned his trade, gained the confidence in himself to cope in the job and the world, and then to change tack and try a different career. A really nice fellow. And that’s what NZ should be seeing all the time in its young men and women if the government had intelligence used for practical, problem-solving policies. Instead we have boffins in education planning, many of them women imbued in the narrow, class-bound attitudes that consider aspiring to be a professional as the supreme goal and regarding physical work and trades as for the less able. Have you noticed how everyone wants to be a lawyer?
That’s a direct result of over-paying some professions while not paying other professions enough. 4 years training to become a carpenter, 4 years to become a lawyer and yet, for some strange reason, the lawyer gets paid more. And no, there really isn’t much difference to the job – if you listen to the carpenter you could save thousands of dollars as well – and not end up in court hiring the lawyer.
The difference is lawyers have played a historical part in drafting the laws in this country in such a way that you require their services whenever you do anything legal in nature. Thus they’ve legislated themselves a monopoly and so charge monopoly rates because you have no choice. Because of the sheer amount of legal work required by the system, any lawyer that put their rate significantly lower than their peers would have such huge demand they’d be swamped with work, so there’s no incentive to do that.
When I wanted to split from my de-facto partner, it became apparent that we could choose to just have a private agreement between us, but unless it was done legally and properly, at any point in the future either of us could bring legal proceedings against the other.
In the best case scenario if both you and your partner agree to separate completely amicably, you still need to get independent lawyers to draft an agreement for you each to sign to protect yourselves from future litigation. There is simply no way for two private individuals to make a legally binding agreement of settlement without lawyers involved.
lanthanide – Let’s be fair to lawyers. Some do pro bono work, and in practice time you can question about rates and decide how much time you need. And having no law is impossible for a functioning complex society. They are like dentists, expensive, but when you need a good one to get outcomes of true and permanent value to you, you have to pay the price.
My best mate is a lawyer… and after a lifetime of friendship I’ve come to learn that under that mean flinty exterior beats the heart of a… total basterd.
Well actually his best advice to me was to regard lawyers as a form of insurance policy. Most people enter into business or relationships with a happy rosy optimism about the future that is rarely born out in reality. It’s basic to a lawyer’s training to look for all the worst possible outcomes in any situation and form adequate strategies to mitigate the fallout ahead of time.
If you wait until the proverbial hits the centrifugal air redistributor…it’s usually an expensive and bitter making exercise. Lawyers love this kind of client because it keeps them in very latest model Beemers.
In other words a little planning with a good lawyer (and on the two occasions I’ve needed to I went for the most expensive because they were the best value) goes a long way.
We have “make your own will” kits that don’t cost too much money.
Why can’t we have “make your own legally binding separation agreement” kits that don’t cost too much money?
I don’t see any reason why that couldn’t be done, except the lawyers have created a legal system where if you can show someone didn’t have independent legal counsel when they entered into a contract it is therefore able to be challenged in court. But I don’t see why this necessarily needs to be the case.
DTB – Again well said. just digressing on the similarities of builders and lawyers. Lawyers can build a house of cards that when it collapses is as painful as a collapsed building might be. Then a builder having made a faulty physical structure straying from the honourable standards of his/her profession/guild can cause lengthy legal wrangles and appointments in another building possibly ending up in yet another one. Bleak House.sounds a good name for the whole tragedy.
“a smart boy could make good leaving school at 15” Two points – smart people don’t leave school at 15. All they can expect is a ‘job’ not a career and jobs don’t last, careers do. Secondly “a good living” is what the howling from the left is always about, fair enough I agree we need better paying jobs, but looking backward (as is your way) to a day when unskilled labouring jobs were plentiful, is hardly going to make an iota of difference to these jobs miraculously appearing in the current job market. These jobs do not exist, or if they do they are a very small proportion of the overall catchment. Most here won’t agree with me but this is what my Grandfather told me (he was a coal miner, who died at 60 from his 45 years of this work) stay in school, study, don’t make excuses, show people respect. Its not a guarantee, of course, but it wouldn’t hurt your chances.
All most graduates get these days is a $13/hr job at Burger King and the benefit of a $35,000 student loan.
This bull shit offshored economy is not creating jobs for labourers, neither for tradesmen, neither for graduates, neither for experienced managers.
Hope doesn’t pay the rent, buddy boy.
“smart people don’t leave school at 15”
I glad you had a wise grandfather and at least some semblance of a supportive family.
Some don’t have that. When you have 2 bad choices you take the one that will break an inevitable decline in well-being and sometimes that is leaving school. I did. And have 2 bits of official paper to say I’m not stupid. I know a few people who did not get on at school, left early, took up a trade, trained, and now have careers, not jobs, in industries where qualified staff are in demand – in Australia.
Blue – Making statements such as
means that you don’t believe that we have any control over the direction of society and economics at all. You just lie back and accept what is thrown at you. Also people here are not just talking about unskilled jobs like labouring. (Actually labouring requires fitness and determination and enough knowledge not to be caught in a collapsing trench.) You just accept that current policies are set in stone because the moneyed people have manipulated the system to suit themselves and that’s how it is.
Well we do need people who make things and know how to work the raw materials of our physical life. We would see more of this taking place in NZ if the twisted economics of influential academics appealing to the minds of the rich hadn’t brought in the free market idea based on an idea by Ricardo I think. It was an idea and appears to make common sense to the type of mind who could see it was good business to trade in slaves.
Key “They could be students having a year off.” Rebecca Wrights article in the above link (more on the same topic).
They could also be street kids or kids at home being emotionally, sexually or physically abused. Key is starting to paint a rosy picture whenever the ghastly stuff is put to him in the stats. On Q & A last Sunday he jumped to the group who were doing well at school when Guyon was talking about the ones not doing well.
“They could also be street kids or kids at home being emotionally, sexually or physically abused” Anything is possible if you preface a statement with “could…be”. Its equally, or more, likely they are not, never were, or never will be “street kids” or “at home being emotionally, sexually or physically abused”. I mean with your hysteria in mind, they “could be” anything that suits whatever point you were failing to make. Maybe they’re Tortoises?
It is the responsibility of the Key government to ease the plight of the group of children I worry about the most (street kids, emotionally, sexually and physically abused at home) and when Key needs to answer what he is going to do for them I want to hear an answer, not hear him rave about the children who are doing well.
It seems that Blue and Key have attitudes in common when it comes to the vulnerable children you point out i.e. those children don’t exist in their world.
Key and Blue need to get it that 16 – 17 year olds on the IYB have been seen/assessed by a psychologist (IYB requirement). Most people get it that a 16 – 17 year old is likely to be abused in some form at home or neglected in order to apply for the IYB.
red logix is right and Helen Clark did see it coming but the “little people” wanted to prove how smart they were by getting rid of her. wait till their kids get a smart card.
@ randal – Labour had nine years to see it coming whatever ‘it’ was. You can’t keep re-electing people who are living in the golden glow of past achievements, making a few changes but not tackling what should have been real issues that their enlightened, intelligent minds should have found inimical. (Isn’t that an interesting word, had to check it, means an unfavourable attitude. Annatolley – look how clever the old education system made pupils. Leave our kids alone!)
In the end Labour seemed to be concentrated on trying to keep the others out because they would be worse.
“You can’t keep re-electing people who…”
Yeah you can, all it takes is a majority.
I think this issue (for me) sums up pretty much all that is wrong with Labour and their focus – really, who cares if a government minister and the Pm said somethign a few months ago and now thier current position is out of sync slightly with that – really – does it matter – the general public just do not give a shit about this sort of nonsense.
yes it is important to the beltway and folk that have a direct interest in politics, but to the average punter – it just doesn’t matter.
It just reinforces the line that labour are always complaining about something and nitpicking.
What I think they should have done is come out with a really cool policy and said something along the lines of “we support the additional support given to these at risk and vulnerable youngsters. What we intend to do however is (insert policy here).
Trevv/Phil – lay off the bullshit and petty politics and instead sell a vision.
[lprent: FYI: You’ll find that you don’t go into auto-moderation if you reuse the same handle/e-mail. It also saves me from the effort from releasing it (eventually I give up on repeat offenders and auto-spam them instead). ]
The point, orac, is that you can’t trust anything they say, ever.
John Key promised he wouldn’t put GST up. They did. Bennet said she had no interest in special grocery cards, now it’s policy.
John Key said they will only sell 49% of SoE. The outcome of this promise is yet to be observed.
Get the point?
sell a vision. you need some magic mushrooms. they are free.
Magic mushrooms maybe not free under Labour but no GST, not like those Nasty Nats they dont even want you to have KFC man.
Bennett went to America for some education last year. Who with? What for?
To learn how to do the job she is unqualified for.
find a madhattter.
the national party is full of them.
I think they retail at a sharp discount to the market.
for a session of deep hypnosis and a brt implant.
or was that a blt eggplant?
Mad hatters National tea party
What do we expect from John Key? Does anybody remember the interview with Stephen Sackur on the BBC’s Hardtalk program? John Key is constantly choosing interpretations and figures that are far from the truth, and that suit him and National better than the actual data.
Paula Bennett does visibly get stressed out when confronted or bombarded with opposition questions during Parliament’s Question Time. So she sometimes muddles up figures or gets unstuck. Her honesty about the unemployment figures for youth being rather 58 k is a sign of this. She is not the brightest and despite her hypocrisy in many matters still sometimes sticks to the truth.
That is how this “conflict” between her and the PM happened.
But as she is also the PM’s poodle, she will very soon get in line again, because she knows that she only has her job because of Don Key having picked her.
Don’t bite the hand that feeds you may apply here.
She is in danger though to fail to deliver in critical moments like this week, so Don Key may at some time get sick of her and dump her. I have a feeling that if National gets back into goverment, then we may soon after suddenly have a very different Minister of Social Development.
Jum asked why Paula Bennett got a free trip to the USA last year. Well the answer of course is to receive instruction in how to screw over the undeserving losers, aka teh people of the benny. As the Leader has said, “If you can work, you must work.” The next step, Arbeit macht Frei. The Rebstock Regime. All part of Shonkey’s secret agenda, the work he has been sent back here to accomplish, the final smashing of the NZ state to allow the triumph of corporatist globalism. The race to the bottom which includes abolishing welfare.
Bennett herself is a nasty piece of work. Had any minister in NZ history disclosed personal information about citizens who challenged decisions by her department? A new low. There was Muldoon of course and the Moyle affair, but I think even the Nats abhor the late lily lover nowadays. Except for Shonkey of course, Muldoon is his hero.
See material below about the working holiday in the USA.
Paula Bennett has accepted a six-week leaders fellowship which will take her to the United States (NZPA)
Tue, 09 Mar 2010 10:37a.m.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has accepted a six-week leaders fellowship which will take her to the United States towards the end of the year.
The Eisenhower Fellowship for the Women’s Leadership Programme 2010 was awarded to 20 women around the world identified as outstanding leaders and Ms Bennett has chosen to study successful US examples of the social corporate responsibility model.
An individually tailored programme will grant her access to leading business people, high level politicians and successful community leaders.
Ms Bennett said she believed New Zealand had much to learn from the way the US harnessed the innovations and entrepreneurship of corporate leaders to work with communities and government to create gains for the social sector.
“I want to identify what works and bring those ideas home,” she said.
The fellowship nomination was supported by Prime Minister John Key, who was pleased with the placement.
Former Eisenhower fellow and chairwoman of the New Zealand nominating committee, Susan Baragwanath, won a placement in 1994 and said her experience inspired her decision to open a special school, He Huarahi Tamariki, in Wellington on her return.
The programme starts in October and Ms Bennett will be the 17th New Zealander since its inception in 1953 to be a part of it.