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Centre for Inaccurate Studies

Written By: - Date published: 9:35 am, April 2nd, 2009 - 35 comments
Categories: welfare - Tags: ,

The CIS released a report [PDF link] today entitled Ending No. 8 Wire Welfare: Why New Zealand is Lagging Behind. Its author is Luke Malpass. Predictably, from the right-wing think tank, the paper is an ideologically driven argument for a more punitive welfare system. As is so often the case, it’s premised on the tired old assertion that New Zealand’s recent approach of supporting people from welfare to work hasn’t been effective. The paper claims:

New Zealand has in fact stuck itself out on a limb in order to be all carrot and no stick… [J]udging by the reduction of numbers on the [Unemployment Benefit] over the past decade, one could easily say that this approach has broadly worked… However, unemployment numbers only tell part of the story. [The sharp decrease in those on the main UB (dole)] has, however, been counterbalanced by an increase in those on the [Invalid’s Benefit] and [Sickness Benefit].

Ah, no it hasn’t Luke. Take a look at that red line – total number of people on benefits. It has fallen almost precipitously over the last few years.

If this is the kind of policy “analysis” the CIS is doing it’s no wonder they struggle to get traction for their extreme right wing ideas.


35 comments on “Centre for Inaccurate Studies”

  1. MikeE 1

    Right Wing think tank my ass, when I went over there, one of the key speakers was the president of the Australian Labour Party (and leading Aboriginal Activist) Warren Mundine.

    I’d hardly call him a bastion of the vast right wing conspiracy.

    Oh, and his answer for aborigional poverty, private property rights.

    • Pascal's bookie 1.1

      Mike, your last line kind of ruins the act.

      • MikeE 1.1.1

        You suggesting that Aboriginal people should not be allowed to own the property they live on?

        The property that they have historically occupied for centruries. The property where even the police stations are legally speaking, squatting on due to aboriginal title laws over there?

        That was what Warren was suggesting…

        Or would you prefer the status quo, where aboriginees are not able to own their traditional lands, and they are instead held in a sort of “trust” by their state. Which means they cannot build on them, or do anything with them, instead beign forced to live many families to one house, in a state of constant dependance on government.

        What warren wants is aboriginal independance. Hardly a “right wing” idea I’d think.

        • Pascal's bookie

          You suggesting that Aboriginal people should not be allowed to own the property they live on?


          Are you suggesting that if his answer was to tell the settler government to fuck right off and allow the aboriginal peoples to have a sovereign state of their own, with whatever system of property rights they decided they wanted, that the CIS would still have him around to speak?

          Because that’s more to the point of whether or not the CIS is rightwing.

          • MikeE

            Would you suggest that appropriate?

            Would yousuggest the same thing appropriate in NZ?

          • Pascal's bookie

            Do you?

            If I did do you think the CIS would give me an invite to speak?

  2. Stephen 2

    That is a nice graph. Have seen it here plenty of times, but is there an updated version coming out soon?

    • all_your_base 2.1

      Yeah, we’ll do an updated one at some stage soon. Wanted to get up a quick reply.

  3. Bill 3

    Began scanning through that report and, well there was just too much in the way of tosh crying out to be ripped to pieces.

    So, I’ll just say this. Jobs and work are two entirely different concepts and confounding the two is at best lazy but more likely an insidious example of society coming to accept a particular and grossly disingenuous perception of our actions.

    All human meaning and worth boiled, extracted, reduced and finally squashed into an economic concept.

    To which my only response is: See Home Economus? See my arse.

  4. Stephen 4

    Oh, and his answer for aborigional poverty, private property rights.

    Don’t you think that’s why CIS invited him? To espouse right wing ideas?

    • MikeE 4.1

      Is allowing Aboriginees to own their trible lands “right wing” now…

      Is it right wing to allow the same thing for Maori?

      • Quoth the Raven 4.1.1

        I agree with MikeE it’s not right wing. Right wing would giving vast sums of money to a small elite like here in New Zealand with our settlements.

  5. Bill 5

    Began scanning through that report and, well there was just too much in the way of tosh crying out to be ripped to pieces.

    So, I’ll just say this. Jobs and work are two entirely different concepts and confounding the two is at best lazy but more likely an insidious example of society coming to accept a particular and grossly disingenuous perception of our actions.

    All human meaning and worth boiled, extracted, reduced and finally squashed into an economic concept.

    To which my only response is: See Home Economus? See my arse.

    (First attempt to comment disappeared into the ether. Apologies if this comes up double)

  6. Pixie 6

    Yes, he’s right, unemployment numbers do only tell part of the story, as do all discrete and selectively noted numbers. The real story is in trends, and in this context, the trend is firmly downwards: the number of people on benefits has dropped. Simple.

  7. BLiP 7

    This is the same Luke Malpass who reckons :

    . . SNIP . . . As in all things, it is easier to lay the blame at someone (or something) else’s doorstep than to acknowledge personal failure. The promotion of learned helplessness by more people becoming more reliant on state-provided payments and services is at the root of people’s unwillingness or inability to make healthy choices, not capitalism and underhanded marketers selling hamburgers and chocolate bars. . . SNIP . . .

    The logic goes: ill health is all about choice and that’s why its important choice be removed and people forced into work – its for their own good, you see.

    There’s not much about the incoming depression when there will simply not be enough work to go around. I guess the unemployed and solo parents will be required to report to foreign-owned multinational corporation gulags for their daily, heaping, helping of nutritious work. Yum yum.

    Whole thing looks like the thin end of the wedge for privatising both health and social welfare. Dangerous nonsense that needs to be monitored closely. The SIS could do worse than putting this outfit on the watch list.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Wonder if Luke Malpass realises that that logic applies to the assertion that we need rich people as well. From my understanding capitalism requires dependence (read as poverty) and socialism (well, communism/anarchism) doesn’t.

  8. ak 8

    Sheesh. These geeks are almost beyond parody. At a time when the direct results of their core belief system are exploding in our faces and sending the entire world down the sewer, the CIStern uses its blood-money to flush out yet another beneficiary-bashing compilation of cherry-picked data and faeces-sprinkled neolib propaganda.

    Forget it boys. You can hire another legion of these “clever” Hitler-youthesque goons to churn out this crap till the cows come home, but your sorry portrait is currently smeared large and stinking on the world’s walls.

    Take a break: build some walls around your plastic mansions and leave it to the lefties to clean up your mess. Stick to what you know and enjoy. Ferraris and masturbation springs to mind.

  9. Stephen 9

    The SIS could do worse than putting this outfit on the watch list.

    That comes close to the kiwiblogger who called for Labour and the Greens to be arrested before they flee the country with all our money.

    • George Darroch 9.1

      But the Greens are watched by the SIS. That suggestion isn’t even parody.

  10. vidiot 10

    So with the exception of the unemployment benefit numbers, are any of the numbers on the other 3 benefits (DPB, Sickness, Invalids) down from what they were in 1990 ?

    And side note: Graph Title is Benefit Numbers 1999 – 2007, but the dataset in it is 1990 – 2007.

    The Dec 08 figure of 105,000 on the UB will add a spike to that chart, total beenfit numbers would be back up to mid-90’s levels.

    Also seems that late 90’s there was exceptional growth in both the invalids & sickness benefits – perhaps that’s a market we can target for future growth ?

    /snip “Figures from the Ministry of Social Development show the number of working age people on a main benefit rose six percent last year.

    The numbers receiving the Invalid’s Benefit rose 4.3 percent from 80,082 to 83,501 and the number on the Domestic Purposes Benefit jumped 2.2 percent and is now back over 100,000.”

  11. gobsmacked 11

    It brings to mind Voltaire’s line on the Holy Roman Empire.

    Not a centre. Not independent. Doesn’t study.

    • MikeE 11.1

      Obviously someone who hasn’t been there then, having been there, they are independent, their funding is kept at arms length from the topics, and are viewed favoribly by both the left and right in Australia. That said the left in NZ tends to despise them for some reason.

      And they do study, as evidenced by the research put out, and their massive library on the topics that they covered.

      Then again, what would I know, I’ve only visited the CIS a few years ago, in person, whereas you’re just posting on a blog. Obviously you are more informed on the issue.

      • Pascal's bookie 11.1.1

        Do they use peer review?

      • Ag 11.1.2


        It’s another silly right wing think tank because conservatives can’t compete in open, peer-reviewed debate, and instead of realizing they fail because they are wrong, they blame it on a left wing conspiracy.

  12. insider 12

    The way I read this, the focus on the fall in the total number of beneficiaries obscures some concerning up ward trends in some categories, so don’t get complacent.

    Seems a reasonable message to me as unemployment can be heavily influenced by global factors beyond a government’s control, whereas other beneficiary numbers may be positively influenced by govt policy, eg childcare support could reduce DPB payments as could enforcement of obligations on non custodial parents, training could help invalid payments.

  13. Stephen 13

    Talking to anyone in particular MikeE?

    That said the left in NZ tends to despise them for some reason.

    Probably something to do with it being stuffed full of classical liberals, as many interweb sources would imply.

  14. Stephen 14


    Growing numbers of obese and elderly people would seem to be an important factor in rising numbers of the other categories. At a guess.

  15. tommy onions 15

    Anyone on the Left who views the CIS favourably is either a nincompoop or is not really on the Left.

    Members of the CIS and its little Kiwi think bucket are right wing ideologues who provide ‘intellectual’ justifications for the operation of unfettered capital. Unabashed by the dismal failure of their Hayekian creed they claim that the unparalleled mess that the ‘free market’ has got the world in was either because the market wasn’t free enough – OR – because the market was TOO FREE.

    I love the latter. Greedheads in the big banks bemoaning the lack of regulation -. ‘well you didn’t tell me I couldn’t create trillions of dollars worth of toxic debt!”:

    Further proof, as if it was needed, of the fact that you do not need intelligence to make money – in fact true intelligence, like integrity, may well be an impediment to making money.

    The CIS and all like it are the modern secular equivalent of the religious ideologues who conjured up and perpetuated the idea of the divine right of kings – to exploit and oppress.

  16. Jum 16

    Indeed it is an old chestnut – the numbers on to sickness nowhere near the numbers coming off the unemployment. All been said before. No doubt this is a new attack strategy on the vulnerable. Next step DPBs. Ho Hum.

    Now for how independent CIS really is:

    I was watching Breakfast and guess who popped up – Gerry Brownley, following neatly on from Jenni McManus (Independent Newspaper Editor) on the Financial report before Breakfast, both playing the same violin, Jenni McManus saying all our electricity ills started 9 years ago, Jerry Brownley that it was the fault of the previous Labour Government.

    That’s bad enough, cunningly setting up an orchestrated spin coup by one extreme right activist and a government minister.

    But in 2004, the CIS’s guest list of 25 gathered for breakfast and discussion on ‘The case for a flat tax’ and ‘MMP the right decision?’ at Diane Foreman’s home, included guest speaker Richard Epstein, NZ BR guest writer, Ruth Richardson, Roger Kerr, Rodney Hide, John Banks, Business Rotundtable Chair Rob McLeod, Jenny Gibbs, right-wing donor Michael Friedlander, National minister Don Brash and guess who – Jenni McManus. That meeting was all about getting Don Brash into Government as leader of the National Party and Prime Minister in 2005.

    Righties on this thread, don’t pretend Cis is anything but an extreme rightwing think tank, dedicated to overthrowing any sense of fairness in workers’ rights.

    PS John Banks as a super mayor over Auckland would indeed be championed by NAct. Super funding will be flowing freely in his direction for this.

    Speaking of forked tongue NAct supporter journalcysts, read the Captcha:

    ‘Ralston The’

  17. Strathen 17

    Did anyone actually read the whole report?

    ‘the paper is an ideologically driven argument for a more punitive welfare system.’

    Err… No, not ideologically driven. The paper compares NZ to international best practice, from countries of either left or right ideology. It appears that we as a country are lagging behind the rest of the world in what works to get people in to work (along with Ireland and the UK).

    The paper talks about the benefits to the individual if they work (bottom of p.4 and top of p.5). It then goes on to discuss how other countries have achieved this.

    The quote in the original post has been hacked out of context from the report to support the author’s ideological view. Read in context, with the figures, it makes a bit more sense. (See pages 8 & 9 of the report)

    ‘Take a look at that red line – total number of people on benefits. It has fallen almost precipitously over the last few years.’ This is also covered on p.7-8, ‘International Lessons’. The author doesn’t dismiss this entirely, but compares it to other countries throughout the report and what happened to them. It appears all countries total numbers of welfare dropped during this same time period, lending weight (proving?) this was affected by global conditions rather than a left or right government.

    I think the point is, whilst we have experienced a drop in welfare, it is not as significant as other countries around the world over the last 30 years, irrespective of their countries ideologies. Perhaps we should follow some of their best practice.

    The report even predicted all_your_base’s response: ‘We are among the few countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland who do not attach meaningful reciprocal obligations to the receipt of benefits. Even the very generous and often held as virtuous Nordic welfare models have very strict and inflexible reciprocal obligations that would horrify many New Zealanders.’

    • Ag 17.1

      Drops in welfare rolls aren’t automatically desirable. Anyone that thinks they are does not understand why we have welfare.

  18. Jum 18

    Now let me see – the dpb is given to a solo parent to raise child(ren), Strathen is suggesting that the solo parent, usually the woman, has to be obligated to the state. Why can’t the other parent, usually the man, be obligated to the state. Better still, why can’t they both be obligated to the state. These breakups are never just about one person; the fault is 50:50.

    A millionaire I know ties up all assets into a loss accounting situation and pays just $50 per week for the state to be financially responsible for his children. Yet the ex wife gets all the agro from WINZ, from NZers, etc. Why?

    From that it also follows that if a business engineers an employee into losing their job through redundancy or fire at will bill, then both the business and the employee are obligated to the state. Again, the fault is 50:50.

  19. ripp0 20

    oops, html stuffup!

  20. Santi 21

    The study is valid. NZ has too many bludgers and people sucking off the state teat doing bugger all.

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