Comfortable with bullying

Written By: - Date published: 10:55 am, July 30th, 2009 - 94 comments
Categories: john key, national/act government - Tags: , ,

John Key is “comfortable” with his Minister Paul Bennett releasing private information (in breach of the Cabinet Manual, Privacy Commission guidelines, and the Privacy Act). This was a move designed solely to harass and bully two individuals that Bennett wanted to silence. How could that Nice Mr Key be comfortable with such a gross abuse of power? A quick trip down memory lane soon makes it clear.

Key was “comfortable” applying political pressure himself to attack a reporter. Up to and possibly including trying to get that reporter sacked. Up to and including the point where other reporters at The Herald felt moved to write a letter of complaint to their management about it.

There were other occasions where National tried to bully a journalist, or angered them to the point where they struck back. Trying those tactics on The Standard didn’t get them very far! Key was also “comfortable” trying to use the legal tool of an injunction in repeated (failed) attempts to silence the 50,000 Kiwis represented by the EPMU. He attacked a group of young Mt Albert protesters, labelling them “cold and desperate”. He was perfectly “comfortable” with his cynical, premeditated and repeated attack on Labour MPs, the ludicrous claim that they as individuals practically condone child abuse: “Members on this side of the House care about abused kids, but members on that side do not.” In all of this Key is taking his lead, of course, from his handlers, the Crosby/Textor bullies, who go to extraordinary lengths to bully and silence their critics.

Yep, JK is a pretty comfortable kinda guy. He’s personally comfortable with bullying, the use of political or legal pressure to silence his critics, and any kind of outrageous allegation that pops into his head. It should come as no surprise then that he is comfortable with Bennett’s transgressions.
— r0b

94 comments on “Comfortable with bullying”

  1. Swimmer 1

    I think it’s disgraceful – Shame on Bennet for doing it and Key for condoning it.

  2. Tim Ellis 2

    It seems that Helen Clark was “comfortable” with her Ministers bullying citizens by releasing personal information about them to the media to spin stories, too since at least three press galleries have confirmed it was a common occurrence under Labour.

    I don’t have a view on whether it is appropriate for ministers to release personal information to spin stories, but I note r0b you weren’t nearly so outraged when Labour did it.

    • Maynard J 2.1

      In all fairness, Tim, in those cases it was unlikely that we would know that was the case. The reporters in the press gallery also said Labour might suggest to a reporter where to look, or what questons they might want to ask, in order to get the reporters on a track that they wish. There is no indication that they violated their powers first to get personal information without due cause, and then directly and publicly gave that information out without consent.

      I am afraid that without further evidence, there is no way you can compare Labour to National on this.

      Make no mistake, Tim, if a Labour MP got evidence in such a dubious fashion, and released it in such a disgraceful manner, even if done in a more ‘political’ fashion, I would not be ‘comfortable’. Did not happen though, so nothing to be unconfortable about.

      “I don’t have a view on whether it is appropriate for ministers to release personal information to spin stories”

      Channeling Key here are you? *rolls eyes* maybe you should come back when you do.

      • Tim Ellis 2.1.1

        Maynard J, so far three senior reporters have said that it happened under Labour frequently. Mr Garner for example said the difference here was that Ms Bennett didn’t release the information in a “sneaky” way.

        I am not saying whether it is right, but it does put Labour’s claims of outrage in a hypocritical light.

        The more I think about this specific case, the more I think Ms Bennett should have allowed journalists to do their job and investigate. There is more than enough public information about Ms Fuller and her historic entitlements without the minister dumping them on the media.

        • snoozer 2.1.1.1

          Who cares whether Labour did it or not? doesn’t make it right. I am opposed to Bennett’s actions and would be opposed to anyone else doing it, and you can’t fob off my criticism by trying to lump me in with Labour.

          • Tim Ellis 2.1.1.1.1

            That is a reasoned response snoozer. So I suppose you concede that Labour have little credibility in hamming up this issue, since they did it as well?

            It seems the only person in parliament with credibility in advancing this cause is Mrs Bradford.

            • The Voice of Reason 2.1.1.1.1.1

              That’s Ms Bradford to you, Tim.

              While I’m at it, why do you use the title anyway? Mr Mallard, Mr Key etc? It sounds a wee bit pompous when Trevor or John would do adequately. Not having a go, just curious. And of course, I do like ‘Mr Floppy’, so you have my full support and encouragement to use that one.

            • felix 2.1.1.1.1.2

              He thinks it makes him appear unbiased and fair. “See, he does it for everyone – he must be taking a balanced view.”

              It appeals to the same slightly retarded part of the brain as that which thinks “But he’s so polite, there’s no way he’s trolling.”

            • Pascal's bookie 2.1.1.1.1.3

              “It’s got saffron on it, it can’t be a shit sandwidge.”

            • Tim Ellis 2.1.1.1.1.4

              That’s how I was brought up TVOR. It might sound pompous to you but to me it sounds rude to refer to people by their last name or to make a derogatory reference about somebody’s name.

              Felix and PB seem to have forgotten that this is a post about bullying. Perhaps they don’t spot the irony that they frequently operate as a tag-team with ad hominem attacks on me when I comment here. I’m not complaining, I’m just observing the irony.

            • Daveski 2.1.1.1.1.5

              TVOR

              I think Mr Floppy is very disrespectful of Phil Goff. I don’t like Phil-in or Goofy either. So Mr Goff is most likely the best option.

            • Pascal's bookie 2.1.1.1.1.6

              “I am not saying whether it is right, but it does put Labour’s claims of outrage in a hypocritical light.”

              “So I suppose you concede that Labour have little credibility in hamming up this issue, since they did it as well?”

              See Tim. Those are ad hominem arguments. It’s pretty much all you bring to the discussion. I’ve tried on many occassions to discuss issues with you, but it always comes down to Labour’s motives or hypocrisy.

              You’ve even said yourself that you aren’t here to converse with other commenters, because you don’t think you could change their minds; so instead you aim your comments at the lurkers.

              That to my mind, is far more disrespectful and dishonest than being called a few names on occassion.

              Your mileage obviously varies.

            • toad 2.1.1.1.1.7

              Good point, Tim. Makes me proud to be a Green.

    • Indeed Tim – the names of Trevor Mallard and Erin Leigh come to mind

      • snoozer 2.2.1

        And you supported Mallard’s actions?

        No?

        Do you support Bennett?

        Yes?

        Contradiction?

        Yes

        • SJ Hawkins 2.2.1.1

          Not that I support Bennett’s behavour snoozer (although I think waiting for the privacy commissioner to rule would be appropriate) I think the quote from Erin Leigh at the time sums it up nicely:
          “I would invite Trevor Mallard to say those comments outside the safety of parliament and I would be very happy to meet with him to hear these statements outside of that arena,” says Leigh. http://tvnz.co.nz/content/1460528

          Paula Bennett isn’t sheltering behind parliamentary privilege.

          • Craig Glen Eden 2.2.1.1.1

            No because because she is to stupid and loves the lime light. Normal Tory practice would have used a leak or third party organization out side of the chamber to launch the attack. Not Bennett she thinks she is bullet proof. Watch me watch me I sort this out.

            • SJ Hawkins 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Fantastic rebuttal craig. I’m sure you mean “too stupid”. And according to the media it was normal Labour practice to leak information. Further the use of parliamentary privilege amounts to cowardice, especially in the Mallard and Leigh case.

  3. tsmithfield 3

    The woman from Invercargill has already said she has no problems with the information being released.

    The second woman has already made a lot of her benefit information public anyway, and has been happy to have her financial circumstances released by politiicians previously as the link to the Herald article shows:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10587498

    Looks to me that Bennett has a very strong argument for implied consent in both cases. It is looking increasingly likely that the woman from Hamilton is another Labour Party jack-up along the lines of the Choudray woman etc. Why can’t Labour
    find a real victim to make their point?

    • Ianmac 3.1

      TS: I believe that there will be over 3,000 people who will loose the entitlement. If you were thinking of publishing your predicament, would you now go ahead knowing the “outrage” that would be visited upon you? Brave are you Tim?

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        To be honest I think I would. And I would dare Paula Bennet to make my details public, followed up by immediately saying she doesn’t have implied or active consent to do so.

        Just to see what happened.

        • SJ Hawkins 3.1.1.1

          By daring her to make them public you’d likely erode your defense that she didn’t have implied consent. In fact it could probably be construed as active consent.

    • snoozer 3.2

      How is it a Labour jackup? The women went public alone, Labour just cited them in the house.

      The invercargill woman was calling it very rude and initimidation, then she shut up when Bennett called her. Looks like more bullying to me.

      So what if Fuller once gave permission for her information to be used publicly? She didn’t this time, there’s no way you can construct implied consent from the fact she gave express consent on a different matter two eyars ago.

  4. Macro 4

    The sad fact of the matter is that NZers by and large are very comfortable with bullying! That’s why it is such a predominant culture in our schools and on our playing fields, and in our talk back “whinge” radio. Its so endemic in our society that many think that it is the right way to behave. How are schools to eradicate it’s evilness when our Prime Minister and his cabinet employ it as standard practice?

    • Ianmac 4.1

      Sadly too true Macro. Perhaps the bullying/violent attitude in society is responsible for the 88 children who died from abuse between 2001 and 2006. Of course 48 were Pakeha but hey everyone knows that it is a Maori problem not a Pakeha one.

      • Macro 4.1.1

        Yes it’s also behind the up coming referendum – some of us just want to be able to bully our kids in peace!

      • sweetd 4.1.2

        Ianmac, what are the abuse numbers per ethnic group per head of population? I think you will find that as an ethnic group, incidents of child abuse are higher amongst Maori than Pakeha, that is why it is considered a Maori problem more than a Pakeha one.

        • Ianmac 4.1.2.1

          Sweeted:Yes. I know. About 18% of the Population is regarded as Maori and the proprtion therefore of abuse is higher. So in the minds (or mindless) of some, it must be their problem and the 48 pakeha kids should be ignored. Interesting to ask to name the children known to have been so killed and most will recall only the Maori ones. Try asking friends and relations “How many of the 88 kids who died 2001-2006 are Maori?” I have and there is usually strong refusal to believe the figures.

  5. Pat 5

    The complainant Ms F seems to have some form and enjoy a bit of limelight. The Benson-Pope disclosure, the Fair Go complaint, the Trademe boards etc. I’m not sure whether the Privacy Commissioner takes these things into account, but it is an interesting debate as to where one’s privacy begins and ends when one is sharing her life on the blogosphere. Certainly her own disclosures will not help her cause in the court of public opinion.

    It is very wishful thinking to think Bennett will lose her job over this.

    • IrishBill 5.1

      You’re right Pat. In fact seeing as you have written so much across so many blogs would you care to explain why you should have any right to privacy?

      • Pat 5.1.1

        Blogs seem set their own individual privacy standards. Personally I don’t expect a “right to privacy” just because I post (occasionally) on a blog. If you wanted to “out” me, well frankly, who cares and it would be rather boring.

        • IrishBill 5.1.1.1

          I have no interest in outing you and it’s clearly against our policy anyway (which means we have a higher privacy standard than the MSD!).

          My point is that you have made regular public political comment and according to your logic that should give any minister the right to release any information the state holds on you that they consider relevant to the issues you write about.

    • Ianmac 5.2

      Pat: Are you saying that anyone who has the spirit to speak up on issues and even complain to Fair Go, there-fore becomes open to scrutiny? I guess that since Paula Benifit has spoken out on issues we have the right to pry into some of the shadier areas of her life because she told us that she had been on the DPB. Now what is your real name Pat? I need to know.

  6. grumpy 6

    So, it now appears that Annette King has been talking to Natasha Fuller over the last few weeks and has been orchestrating the campaign.

    Who set up who on this? If King used the woman as a political point scoring exercise, then she must bear responsibility for the consequences.

    Even sillier, if Fuller knew she was likely to be used in this way, then why did she set herself up by not telling the whole truth about her circumstances.

    Having dropped Fuller in it, King is now trying to use the mess to further attack Bennett. Impressionable idiots should think twice before allowing themselves to be used by Labour.

  7. Paul G. Buchanan 7

    I hate to say it, but I think bullying crosses the aisle and is endemic not only in NZ politics but the society at large, be it in academia, government, unions or corporations. Helen Clark openly called for my dismissal from Auckland University when I raised questions about the Zaoui case. She also vilified Deborah Manning, who is one of the more courageous Kiwis I have met. After it was all over and Zaoui won his appeal, Deborah moved on to an international job and Helen got her wish with regards to me.

    • The Voice of Reason 7.1

      Thanks, Paul, it’s good to hear from someone with inside knowlege of what it feels like to be on the receiving end.

      However, you are clearly better equipped to deal with the shots from the Beehive, both intellectually and financially, than the two women Bennett is bullying. They are both relatively powerless in comparison and it really looks to me like one has buckled under the pressure. Kudos to you for not giving in, but your circumstances are very, very different IMHO.

      • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1

        I’m not keen on splitting hairs on this stuff.

        James K Baxter had a fair bit to say about the nasty streak through the nz character, can’t find much on line, but it cuts, as Paul says, across all lines. It’s a partly a flip side to the dour, strong and silent stereotype I guess. But who knows?

        You also see it in the stated desire for ‘strong’ leadership, and the mockery of consensus or other approaches.

        Even the rhetorical treatment that list MP’s get as being seen as somehow ‘unelected’ can be viewed through this lens. (But I admit you have to squint a bit to get it to focus).

      • ben 7.1.2

        I think you underestimate the women on the benefits. Their response to the Minister’s publication has been impressive. Perhaps you could try being a little less condescending.

  8. grumpy 8

    Paul,

    You are, of course, correct.

    And Erin Leigh and ……….

  9. She didn’t mind Benson Pope giving out her info, but she has a problem with national, I call shenanigans.

    This is another dirty labour party trick.

    • snoozer 10.1

      What’s it got to do with Labour?

      Plus, she gave her permission for Benson-Pope to use her info, she didn’t give Bennett permission. See the difference?

      • grumpy 10.1.1

        Because Annette King has been working on this with one (or both) of them for weeks.

        • Luxated 10.1.1.1

          Even if Annette King had asked these women to step up and complain (not that I’ve seen any credible evidence to support this) what difference does it make?

          The fact of the matter is that two women were opposed to a government decision and Paula Bennett decided to bandy about their personal details. It wouldn’t make a difference if the National Front asked them to complain, it might affect the validity of the complaint but it does not excuse Paula Bennett’s actions.

          • grumpy 10.1.1.1.1

            If Labour were in power and if the National Front had asked them to complain, then The Standard would be 100% in support of the minister!

            • lprent 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Surprisingly, you are probably correct. Read the About. We’re serious about privacy and have been since the site started.

            • grumpy 10.1.1.1.1.2

              Jesus! I’m probably just as shocked as you are!

              Don’t let it happen again.

            • Luxated 10.1.1.1.1.3

              lprent could you clarify that last statement?

              Just that if you’re replying to grumpy then supporting a minister who breaches someones privacy is hardly being ‘serious about privacy’. But if you are replying to me the sentence doesn’t really work in my mind.

  10. SJ Hawkins 11

    While it seems Bennett hasn’t handled this particularly well I really think it’s up to the privacy commissioner to make the final call.
    I have to say though that Fuller certainly appears to have opened the door herself (and unfotunately tainted Johnston by association)

    This was posted on trademe last week when it all kicked off. While I am in favour of helping people out, this does seem a bit beyond the pale:

    1. THOSE ON DPB. DO U WANT $1000 a week??
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=203816790161 come join our group and fight back. by thehappyhocker
    on 08:47 am, 23 Jul

  11. Corruption For Dummies 12

    [deleted]

    [lprent: Haven’t seen such a wingnut doctrinaire rant for a while. Must have had at least 20 or 30 auto-moderation hits. Someone who hasn’t read the policy. ]

    • Lew 12.1

      Lynn, care to post it anyway, as a museum piece?

      L

      • lprent 12.1.1

        It was still in the browser cache… I count 12 auto-mods, a *lot* of appalling spelling mistakes, and it is pretty incoherent. Not to mention the caps lock issues and excessive punctuation.

        Interestingly Shroff failed to bat an eyelid as Liarbour used the PSA to harass members and the public into voting labour “or face the consequences’ through pre-election PSA driven telesales campaigns.

        This politically corrupt election activity is also Illegal in the fashion of privacy breaching considering approximately 40% of the recipient bullied voters had withheld numbers!

        Have Liarbour not learned a lesson from Worthgate?

        Have they not realised that Komrade-Klark was rejected because New Zealand is tired of sorry, cancerous and corrosive muck and corrupt politics?

        NO ONE WANTS SLEAZY CORRUPT POLITICS!

        NO ONE EVEN ONE OF THESE SHINING WELFARE EXAMPLES CARES ABOUT THE PRIVACY FARCE

        SOCIALISM HAS AND IS A PROVEN, IRRELEVANT AND FLAWED CONCEPT.

        So, becomes outbursts and demise of the social rot crew comprosing of Liarbour, Bradford, King and Goof.

        This lastest hate fueled campaign on Bennett, using the tragic guise of privacy as the theme this time, typifies the ingrained bitterness and hatred expunged by the poltical criminal Mr H Klark all which flows through their parasitic viens. They know no different.

        But, what a truely miserable way to eek out the remaing days of your totally derlice political purpose and accordingly totally irrelevant political life surely?!

  12. JaneW 13

    Paul, notwithstanding your Employment Court victory, were you not originally sacked by Auckland University for the bullying E-mails you sent to a student?

    Seems to be the pot calling the kettle black.

  13. SO let me guess this right then, in the past 24 hours it has came out that.

    MS Fuller received ten grand for a failed business

    She lives in a very two story expensive home.

    Benson Pope had released details of her past.

    There was some calls made by MsFuller to Annette King before Paula’s released her information.

    MsFuller was getting over $700 a week.

    Now just today, the good people at scoop.co.nz have released that Fuller has been on some message boards, under three different names, talking about her misuse of her ex’s credit card and admitted to have been living off her ex’s credit card (paying for her rental property) while receiving a benefit.

    She says “I know its wrong”

    Surly the police have to look into her actions?

    • NickS 14.1

      Keep digging that hole Brett.

      Also, sources, again, please. Since looking through both the front page a politics page of scoop.co.nz, I can’t seem to find this revelatory article you mention. And posting a url really isn’t that hard, especially since you already run a blog…

      And you have no real idea about benefit entitlements either, since Fuller’s amount is rather normal for a single mother of two on the DPB + child support payments and what ever other benefits she’s eligible for. So complaining about it, without c o n t e x t is a bit foolish, though on par for the talk-back style whining and dole bashing seen thus far.

      Likewise, we don’t know the circumstances of why her cleaning business failed, so touting the 10 grand grant as a black mark against, without context her is also inept. And if one might vouch, somewhat hypocritical if your defending Bennett’s disclosure on the basis of “balance” and/or “context”.

  14. Paul G. Buchanan 15

    VoR: I generally agree with your differentiation of the cases, but you would be surprised to know how powerless mere teaching/research staff (as opposed to academic managers) actually are. The real issue in this instance is the invasion of privacy and attempt to stifle contrary opinions on the part of elected officials in ministerial roles, aided and abetted by professional bureaucrats. As has been discussed over at kiwipolitico, the notion of “implicit” or “implied” consent opens the door to a myriad of problems. Would the argument of “implicit” consent hold up in a rape case? What does “implied” actually mean–a wink, short skirts, the inability to say no? What about medical consent? Do surgeons operate based upon notions of “implied” consent? If such a construction of consent is dubious in rape or medical cases, then it certainly is dodgy in this instance as well.

  15. Paul G. Buchanan 16

    JaneW: Lets not try to equate the two things. My email was rude and intemperate, for which I quickly and voluntarily apologised and made amends that allowed the student to pass the course. What happened afterwards was an orchestrated jack up that among other things invaded my privacy and violated my rights under employment law. Specious comparisons of this sort do you no justice.

  16. vto 17

    pot

    kettle

    black

    more hypocrisy on the standard

  17. Ianmac 18

    To those who asked where are the others who are disadvantaged by the cut toTIA: The front page story on the Marlborough Express today, written by Angela Crompton, is about Gina Anderson who was keen to gain a qualification by being accepted for a Polytechnic course in Blenheim. Then the axe fell on the TIA and she has lost the opportunity to get off the DPB. She is saddened by this.(Like most on the DPB, they see it as a short term safety net and the TIA as a hand up.) She said “Taking on a Student Loan would be putting myself backwards instead of forwards.”
    ( She is game because Paula might be watching her.)

    • vto 18.1

      “She said “Taking on a Student Loan would be putting myself backwards instead of forwards.’ ”

      Must be a qualification with very low returns then and not worth doing.

      • Ianmac 18.1.1

        The Course was for Hairdressing but the point is that on a DPB with a small child she can no longer access help to climb upwards. You cannot have a Student loan and a DPB.
        Your next step VTO is to attack Gina for being a bludger on a DPB and it serves her right. Ready? Go.

      • Clint Heine 18.1.2

        Errr, everybody who takes on a student loan puts themselves backwards initially… why should somebody on the DPB be any different from the hundreds of thousands of other students who are also in the same boat?

        • lprent 18.1.2.1

          If they are on the DPB – are they able to get student loans? People on unemployment cannot. I’d expect the same for the DPB. Try raising children on student loans.

          You’re making a *lot* of assumptions. In fact I’d say that you’re just being a idiot. Why not use that brain you were gifted with. So far it looks like it is pretty wasted.

  18. Di78 19

    She has not “lost the opportunity to get off the DPB”. She simply has to look for a job that does not require an academic qualification.

    • toad 19.1

      Ah, you mean a shit job. Like working in New World?

      Some future for our economy if that is the vision for where intelligent people should end up!

      • SJ Hawkins 19.1.1

        I would expect many of those working at New World would find that to be a very bigoted comment. I’d love to see the Greens tied to that comment in the media, would you? Are you also suggesting intelligent people deserve better outcomes than others?

      • Di78 19.1.2

        Yes Toad, she could join all the immigrant Accountants, Engineers and Doctors that have to stack supermarket shelves at New World for a living because the Labour Government allowed them to come here without ensuring they could practice their profession.

        • Eddie 19.1.2.1

          Although that was a problem in the 1990s, I understand it’s more of an urban myth these days.

          The Immigration Department isn’t stupid, they’ve sorted recognition of degrees from most places.

          I understand it’s refugees who have the main problems – they are often highly qualified (it’s the intelligensia who get out when trouble strikes) but there is often no way to confirm their qualifications.

  19. Boris Klarkov 20

    (Like most on the DPB, they see it as a short term safety net and the TIA as a hand up.)

    No.

    The undeserving bludgers on the DPB see it as a long-term alternative to being productive, contributing members of society.

    • You seem to know a lot about people on the DPB Boris. Where do you work Bennett’s office or have you spent a lot of time on it your self?

    • NickS 20.2

      /sigh

      Yeap, because it’s not like a getting a degree doesn’t put you in any debt what so ever, no siree…

      Oh wait.

      Even with interest free loans, which National and ACT don’t particularly like, and may cut for the usual excuses, it’s still going to take 6+ years to pay off my BSc. And that’s not taking into account the fun I’ve had the last three years with insomnia, while trying to get onto post graduate study.

      Which, when thinking about it, even a simple poly-tech degree isn’t going to be that quick to pay off. Thus it’s somewhat rational to avoid getting into further debt.

      Also, student allowances pay less than the DPB…

      But hey, who cares if people want to further their education, why should they when they can get a _great_ job at McD’s or other low-paying places?

    • Ianmac 20.3

      Right on cue Boris. Good on yer mate! Gina had suffered from post-natal depression but with much help she was climbing out. So go for it Boris. It probably makes you feel better to attack her and others on DPB. Most on DPB are so for about a year though with increasing unemployment its going to be tougher.

    • Eddie 20.4

      The DPB is for single parents raising children, so it is to be expected that people will be on it longer than the unemployment, for example. Yet, most people are on it a surprising short time. 30% have been getting it less than a year, another 36% 1-4 years.

      They’re not bludgers Boris, most are single mothers in financial trouble often after leaving abusive relationships, in need of a bit of help to raise their kids for a short time. What would you rather happened? That the kids starve?

    • Kevin Welsh 20.5

      So Boris, was Bennet; undeserving, a bludger, unproductive, non-contributing member of society while on the DPB? Or all four?

  20. dave 22

    I have no interest in outing you and it’s clearly against our policy anyway (which means we have a higher privacy standard than the MSD!).

    How so? It wasnt the MSD who released the information.

    • lprent 22.1

      You have to access the SWIFT system to get that info. They guard the system access and it is a bit of a kludgy system that you have to know to navigate around. Typical mini/mainframe computer system interface. It makes bank systems look like user-friendly systems.

      Of course she had to obtain the info from a MSD employee. Paula looks like a functional computer illiterate to me (using my standards). I don’t think that she would have navigated to the correct place herself.

      • BLiP 22.1.1

        Yep – it was an MSD employee on secondment to the Minister’s office. Its actually not that clumsy these days. The mainframe has a PC-like interface which allows search by all sorts of criteria. Its not that klunky but, yeah, only MSD employees have legitimate access. Even the SIS has to get an MSD employee to give them information.

  21. Maybe with this Paula Bennett case that we may need all beneficiaries to face a character test such as why should ACT,National,Libertarianz,etc voters who say that all beneficiaries are subhumans be themselves entitled to a benefit.We must also remember that the former Work and Income NZ ceo Christine Rankin supported the Employment Contracts Act in that all who did not take paycuts,reduced living/working standards, and who exercised freedom of expression by talking to journalists,writing letters to the Editor,were union members,etc were to be sacked and face a punitive 6 month benefit standdown regime.

    • Lew 23.1

      CBM,

      we may need all beneficiaries to face a character test such as why should ACT,National,Libertarianz,etc voters who say that all beneficiaries are subhumans be themselves entitled to a benefit.

      That would do nothing but render true their common assertion that the state is discriminatory.

      L

  22. Cameron 24

    Socialist Aotearoa has organised a protest against Paula Bennett’s beneficiary bashing this Saturday.

    1st August at 1pm to say
    “Paula Bennett must go”
    429 Great North Road in Henderson

    See
    http://socialistaotearoa.blogspot.com/2009/07/paula-bennett-must-go-protest-this.html for more details

    Love to see you all there!

    • Johnty Rhodes 24.1

      I am sure the phone box in Henderson shopping centre will be large enough to house the protest meeting. Has it been booked yet?

      Paula is a god send, at least she does not need a ‘H2’ to do the dirty work, she does it herself.

      I bet most westies like her more for what she did. There are a lot of blue collar people there who help pay for the DPB.

  23. just another student 25

    Interesting reading.

    But I just can’t resist correcting some facts. TIA didn’t stop people needing a student loan. A loan is available to beneficiaries to fund fees, and up to $1000 a year for course costs. No further loan assistance is available.

    I will proudly admit that I am extremely grateful for the TIA I have received while completing a degree. Before you pick on my use of the word proudly, hell yeah, I have completed a 4 year management degree while simultaneously raising 3 children, it has been no easy task.

    I still have a student loan of approx $20k. The TIA barely covered my childcare costs. The loan covered my fees. Without TIA to cover those costs, I would not have been able to undertake study at this level, as my first responsibility is to ensure my children receive adequate care.

    Should those of us intelligent enough to achieve this level of education be relegated to NCEA level courses? (I skipped all of that when I left school for employment at barely 16 yrs of age). By assisting us with a small amount to fund these expenses, the government can look forward to the higher tax revenue from our future earnings, not to mention the savings in benefits, in work payments and additional assistance that low income earners are ALL entitled too.

    • Kevin Welsh 25.1

      Well done JAS.

      You just need to bear in mind that while you were on the DPB and studying, according to those on the right, you were one of the:

      …undeserving bludgers on the DPB see it as a long-term alternative to being productive, contributing members of society. (Boris Klarkov)

      I know of quite a few people who have been in your situation and the DPB is no luxury income. Be proud of your efforts.

  24. Alone in my electorate 26

    How about we scrap the DPB altogether, put the children in orphnages, and put the mothers in workhouses. That should make the redneck ‘s ” comfortable”.

  25. just another student 27

    Thankyou Kevin.

    and to those that see me as an “undeserving bludgers on the DPB see it as a long-term alternative to being productive, contributing members of society.”

    I have completed this degree in order to fulfil my dream of working in the area of Non profit organisational management where I can give back to society.

    Those wishing to receive TIA for tertiary level study are not the problem, the problem is those that don’t want to get out there and do something productive (ie: study or work). Those are also the people more likely to waste time doing courses under level 4. (that still qualify for TIA) Anyone undertaking a tertiary degree while raising kids is putting up with the stress, sacrifices and struggle because they see it as a way OFF the benefit forever.

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