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Bennett disappointed by witch-hunt results

Written By: - Date published: 11:23 am, December 22nd, 2009 - 23 comments
Categories: poverty, unemployment, welfare - Tags:

Earlier this year, Paula Bennett released the personal details of two women who get the DPB who had opposed her cancelling of a grant designed to get people off the benefit. As far as I’m aware, the Privacy Commissioner still hasn’t published her opinion on Bennett’s bully tactics but it looks like Bennett has got the message that she can’t use her privileges as minister to bully vulnerable people who dare to oppose her.

Today, details of the recipients of the largest benefit payments have been released and Bennett said that could only happen “as long as people’s privacy was protected”. So, a small victory for human rights there. Although Bennett still needs to apologise to the first two women and, in a decent government, she would have lose her portfolio.

Anyway, on the details of the largest benefit payments. Typically, actual information was released only to journalists, who then gave a selected account of them so we don’t have a good overview of the payments. We know that the majority of the largest payments go to people who are raising other people’s children – like two grandfathers who are raising 8 and 10 children apiece on just $1574 and $1702 a week respectively. That works out at about $20 after-tax a day to raise a kid. That’s doing it tough. These people are hardly bludgers. If not for them, the kids would be separated from their familyand be in more expensive state care.

Bennett managed to find one family who do seem to be exploiting the system. In the interests of giving people a fair and balanced view of the benefit system, Colin Espiner spends his entire article on these people. The fact is that there are a very small number of people who are almost irredeemably trouble and this family looks to fit the bill. That Espiner and Bennett could only find this one family among all the beneficiaries who genuinely look like bludgers speaks volumes.

I wonder how much Bennett had her ministry spend on this witch-hunt of the highest paid beneficiaries. I wonder how much she will spend on continuing special monitoring of these few families, the majority of whom are clearly in real need and not abusing the system. I bet the expense outweighs any savings.

Meanwhile, unemployment continues to climb (despite the small seasonal drop in dole numbers in October and November) and the number of sickness beneficiaries has exploded under Bennett’s watch. Creating work opportunities for these tens of thousands of people who desperately want to work should be Bennett’s priority, not witch-hunts intended to get her positive headlines.

23 comments on “Bennett disappointed by witch-hunt results ”

  1. ieuan 1

    Isn’t one person (or family) abusing the system one too many?

    Or is there an ‘acceptable’ number of people abusing the welfare system?

    • rave 1.1

      Yes that’s why Bill had to come clean on his housing expenses.

    • Bright Red 1.2

      sure. stop that family. but don’t pretend that bludging is wide-spread.

      I would prefer to see the minister getting Kiwis who want to work off the dole, rather than spending her time on beat-ups.

      • IrishBill 1.2.1

        If cutting off the occasional welfare-abuser requires legislation that makes it harder for the honest majority then I’d suggest the abuse must be tolerated (although in this case I reckon the fraud squad working with the drug squad would probably do the trick).

        • Bright Red

          sadly, if they really are beyond hope, giving them $50,000 a year to keep themselves to themselves is probably the cheapest option. cheaper than making them destitute and dealign with the resulting crime and cost of imprisonment.

        • Draco T Bastard

          It’s a cost/benefit ratio. It costs far more to find all the people abusing the system than to keep those people on the system both in costs of hiring the people to find them and, as BR says, in the rise in crime. The right seem to forget this.

  2. Monty 2

    I am sick of funding these parasites in society. If they want to live off the hard labours of the average New zealander then they need to be accountable to them. I have no sympathy for their bludging being made public and I fully support Paula Bennett bringing this issue out into the open so there can be a public debate.

    • Bright Red 2.1

      one family out of how many tens of thousands?

      have a little perspective is all I ask.

      • IrishBill 2.1.1

        I agree with Monty. The fact Hanover has been able to rip off its investors like this clearly shows we need to crack down on the finance sector hard. Even to the point of nationalising it if we have to. And like Monty I will fully applaud the government that does so.

        • Bradbury

          And of course the easy retort to that is pointing out that Hanover investors chose to invest in Hanover Finance. I didn’t choose to be taxed and have some of that tax take apportioned to career dole bludgers.

          • BLiP

            And how many on the dole queue “chose” that lifestyle. Fool.

            • Bradbury

              At least as many in the small sample outlined in today’s news.

              Thats as many as those of your idealogy would use as an example to push for an argument from the other side.

              Thats arguing on the internet for you..

              • Pascal's bookie

                “Thats as many as those of your idealogy would use as an example to push for an argument from the other side.”


      • rainman 2.1.2

        And yet they have been creaming it since 1984, it seems. How is it that successive National and Labour governments have failed to fix this? I would hope that fixing this (effectively) would be within the competencies of the people we elect to run the place.

        Every case like this that is left to fester helps create the (incorrect) perspective that the welfare system is out of control and needs to be “reformed”.

  3. tc 3

    One of the softest targets amongst plenty of competition in NACT…..yet like others seems to get off lightly from both media (no surprises there) and others.

    I hope 2010 sees some one on one targetting by shadow porfolio holders along the lines that Shane Jones has done to the maori div of the national party recently.

    As we’ve seen so far NACT are fragile with intelligent/focused/persistent inquiry without resorting to the old stiff arm tactics, plenty of this is required to stick in the short attention span world we live in.

  4. Andrei 4

    There is little doubt in my mind these people are creaming the system.

    There is also little doubt in my mind that this particular case has been selectively leaked to drum up outrage in order to whack beneficiaries in general.

    There is also no doubt in my mind that there are many other rorts where the taxpayers money is funneled to the undeserving which goes virtually unquestioned because it goes to people who are in the “in crowd”.

    There are lots of quangos and grants for important research eg the last Prime Ministers Husband who received a cool $600,000 for a research on “The changing patterns of Co-Habitation” in New Zealand a few years ago.

    Whether or not he has delivered I don’t know but I do know that whatever the taxpayer gets for it will be diddly.

    And don’t even get me started on Bill English with his rorts.

    All in all New Zealand has a huge number of parasite classes – the ones we wack like beneficiaries and the ones we tip our hats to like good peasants.

    But there a few people left who can be bothered to get up a 5am in the morning to milk the cows to support us all. But apparently they a wrecking the planet so I guess they wont be around much longer. God only know what happens after they are gone.

  5. BLiP 5

    Where do you get the idea that Basher Bennett has “got the message”?

    Just three days before Christmas she sets out to pillory the weakest and most vulnerable in society. The beneficiaries identified have followed the entitlement regime and none have had the temerity to express their democratic right to criticise the government, yet the chilling message “Basher Is Watching” has been sent. The same woman who made use the of the Training Incentive Allowance then, at the fist opportunity, pulled up the ladder to stop those following her example, now feeds a tasty morsel to the talkback taliban and a malice flavoured reminder to those on a benefit that there’s more bashing to come in the new year. Its National Ltd®’s Christmas Card to the underclass.

    Happy holidays to you too, Paula.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    Late last week Herr English flagged he was looking at non-state options for the parasite beneficiary problem. This week Frau Bennett announces the outcome of her investigation into the Reichstag fire, with the perpetrators clearly members of the same trouble making clique.

    In February, der leader Key will attend a rally of the party faithful, where he will flesh out his final solution for these untermenshen.

    • Chess Player 6.1

      lprent where are you?

      I understood you didn’t allow hate speech such as Klark, Hellengrad, etc but the rule doesn’t apply to everyone equally I see.

      Maybe a double Standard?

      [lprent: Been doing other things this morning. ]

  7. lenore 7

    there is very little news about the number of reasonably well off people who manage to put enough of their assets into trusts etc so that their children can claim student allowances. There are many people out there who are legally manipulating the system that never get focused on, yet it is so easy to knock the poor because they have little address and can’t fight back.

  8. prism 8

    FPS Welfare bludging is a type of fraud and theft, which is widely practised by plenty of others in the private sphere along with embezzlement. You have not lost personally any more from welfare fraud than any others you sanctimonious moaners.

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