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Deadly “social bonds”?

Written By: - Date published: 11:57 am, June 16th, 2015 - 56 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, welfare - Tags: ,

The Nats want to turn over social problems to the private sector for profit. This account from the UK should give them pause:

Welfare cuts deaths: 60,000 demand Tories reveal how many people died after being found ‘fit for work

The government is refusing to release the figures despite a watchdog ruling. Now campaigners are asking – what has Iain Duncan Smith got to hide?

Tens of thousands of people are calling on the Tories to reveal how many benefits claimants died after being found fit for work.

The government is refusing to release the figures despite being ordered to by a watchdog. A searing ruling by the Information Commissioner said chiefs had acted unreasonably after not publishing any figures for 3 years. But instead of giving in, the Department for Work and Pensions is fighting its own watchdog to get the decision overturned. Furious benefits campaigners now want to know what the government is trying to hide.

Ms Zolobajluk worked for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau for 7 years while the Tories were introducing their welfare reforms. The changes saw some people told to find work despite having chronic illnesses – some of whom died before getting their benefits back.

Watch this space.

56 comments on “Deadly “social bonds”?”

  1. Steve Withers 1

    The problem with this model is the provider and the government have every incentive to lie and there is little transparency.

    Meanwhile, governments sell this flawed model on the basis there is more transparency…which proves to be a lie.

    A bare-faced lie as it turns out.

    How can we trust them? They have a track record of lying by omission and lying by commission.

    GCSB law anyone?

  2. freedom 2

    Two quick questions, & apologies if I have missed any previous comment on this matter.

    We are still in the first year of this term of Government. Can anyone point to a single policy statement or press release or soiled napkin left on a table top prior to last year’s election, which suggests that National wanted to introduce such a major shift in how it delivers these critical social services?

    Aren’t little details like that the sort of thing the media used to make inquires about?

    • Kiwiri 2.1

      Good point.

      I do think that National ran a blank cheque/open cheque campaign that voters collectively, as a small enough majority, signed up to. It was a campaign that was effectively – trust me (National), thrust you.

    • Bastables 2.2

      The discussion of Social bonds pilots/ROI ( registrations of interest) were occurring in 2012-13 with Treasury per’s involved.

      They’ve had a Think tank/policy groups staffed with UK/SA imports and sundry NZ real estate agents joining the team within MOH for several years.

      Here’s Sarah Holden asking for more recruits in 2013: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4BnTIpVjBc&list=PLpEii3SYCu7dVjriyW78PPXZxgIaRYrrt&index=1

      • freedom 2.2.1

        So if a person was not directly involved in policy development or was not looking for employment relating to policy development, they wouldn’t have had a clue.

        Not exactly informing the voters then is it?

        • Bastables 2.2.1.1

          That’s sort of the whole point of investigative Journalism, the signs were pretty evident. Especially with the involvement of Delliote ect. ny one Journo with any contacts should have picked up on it. Instead we get lines fed by #dirtypolitics.

          • freedom 2.2.1.1.1

            what a crazy dream we share Bastables imagining a media actively informing the populace of issues that directly affect the society they inhabit

            and did you hear they are increasing the chocolate ration to twenty grams a week? Good news brother.

      • greywarshark 2.2.2

        Ms Holden is coming out with all the buzzwords – wanting people to have a good experience with the health service, wanting it to be the best it can possibly be.
        What a lot of hoo-hah.

        She did mention that it costs the country $14 billion or $40B, either are huge. She did mention that there the needs are always growing and that there is a growing older population. This refrain about having ‘the best’ of anything is a spurious goal, ultimately deliberately misleading, when a person can’t even get into the system.

        Having adequate, well-planned and devised systems and services and machinery so that more people receive the assistance that appropriate for their needs and age would be the goal to aim at I would have thought. That means that 90 year olds would not receive blood transfusions, their need would be care and nursing as they died. Little children would receive ear care which would enable them to match their age cohort as they move through their life stages of learning and growing. And simple housing with thermal lined curtains at the windows, and warm mats on the floor and polar and knitted blankets. Friends of the hospital groups of women and men who could make warm things curtains etc for the obvious needy patients would be more help than meeting standards expected by middle class officials.

    • Chooky 2.3

      where was the Herald on this?….they were quick to vilify and crucify David Cunliffe

      ….where was Morning Report?

      …real investigative journalists would have been scouting the horizons for trouble…particularly looking at what Treasury was up to

      ….and why was Labour on the back foot?…they should have been proactively warning voters what Nact was up to …and using it in their campaign for votes….surely they had an inkling of this?…surely they were not indifferent to these mooted policies?

    • Gosman 2.4

      Even when they do campaign specificially on a particular policy (e.g. Partial sell down in the State’s stake in selected SOE’s or National Standards) the left claims they don’t have a mandate. What policies do you think National could legitimately implement given they have won three elections in a row?

      • Stuart Munro 2.4.1

        Resignation would receive popular assent – as would surrender of stolen assets.

    • Grace Miller 2.5

      Not our MSM puppets!

      Armstrong, Young and O’Sullivan at the rag ‘the Herald’, laughingly referred to as a serious newspaper by the deluded all cheerlead Dunnokeyo and his band of robbers every chance they get.

      See Armstrong’s piece today about ‘king’ John, the fawning toady! It is, ostensibly, a criticism of Key’s handling of questions to Nick Smith. It ended up saying ‘… if Little could not make life difficult for Key on this most intractable of problems, he might as well pack his bags and go home for good. …’

      So, even when he’s trying to criticise his beloved US puppet, he manages to have a swipe at Little/Labour.

      Remember how they crucified Cunliffe for not remembering an 11-year old letter and its contents? These fuckheads can’t remember which lie they’ve told who, and they get a free pass from the lying press in NZ.

      • Tracey 2.5.1

        I am almost 100% sure that the part you quoted WAS NOT there when I rea dit a few hours ago. The last sentence read

        “Key’s reply could not be read as a vote of confidence in Smith. But the exchange revealed something else — that Little is capable of getting the better of Key.”

        And I thought it was quite an upbeat comment about Little. The sentence you now see as the last, was not there.

        Audrey Young’s piece is pure fawning…

  3. Al66 3

    Tories doing what tories do – deny, deny, deny – then admit, but deny any responsibility and blame the victim or the opposition

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    Now campaigners are asking – what has Iain Duncan Smith got to hide?

    Murder by the looks of things.

  5. Mike the Savage One 5

    This is indeed very “interesting” and extremely worrying, what is going on in the UK. We know they reported back in 2012 that in 2011 alone an estimated 10,600 persons died within 6 weeks of their ESA claims ending. That may have been for various reasons, but the perverted part of it is, that ATOS under contract with the DWP, were responsible for assessing very sick and impaired persons for their supposed “fitness” to work.

    There have been countless stories of persons lying in hospital beds, found “fit for work”, and also of persons committing suicide, as they could after wrong assessments not cope with the work expectations, the fear and stress caused by a totally perverted “work capability assessment” regime:
    http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/10/04/10600-sick-disabled-people-died-last-year-within-six-weeks-of-their-claim-ending/

    Another 2 good sources for what really goes on there are these:
    http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2014/08/31/more-or-less-on-the-esa-deaths-more-stupidity-less-accuracy/
    http://dpac.uk.net/2015/06/10484/

    So the DWP does not want to come forward with the figures. It sounds like they do have figures on premature deaths and suicides there, but we may not be so lucky to get any such information from Work and Income, as such information is kept in individual client files, as an OIA request recently confirmed. That gives MSD and WINZ the ideal opportunity to claim they cannot provide such figures on beneficiaries dying while on health related benefits, as it would require too much time and effort to collate such information, or search for it, from thousands of individual client files. Also once a “client” is referred to a contracted provider, then WINZ do not keep a record on the well-being of such a person, an OIA confirmed.

    Section 18 (f) of the New Zealand Official Information Act 1982 gives state service agencies the ideal, convenient opportunity to refuse such information.

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/mental-health-and-sole-parent-employment-services-msd-withholds-o-i-a-information-that-may-prove-their-trials-a-failure/

    The UK have had ATOS and still have this Work Capability Assessment (WCA), changed repeatedly, but still a nasty “test” for assessing sick, injured and disabled for work ability. ATOS has gone, but now the new provider is Maximus, working under the same system.

    Here in New Zealand no such one “test” does exist for WINZ beneficiaries (not yet), but that leaves WINZ and their “designated doctors” and “work ability assessors” a lot of discretion, as to how to assess persons “fit” for “suitable” work.

    This “social bonds” idea will simply add another dimension to the already fee paid contracted services, as yet another incentive, to participating providers and then also “investors”, to make some gains or profit on the backs of the mentally ill “guinea pigs”.

    It is disgraceful, just disgraceful, scandalous!

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/the-discredited-indefensible-work-capability-assessment-wca-in-the-uk-and-what-its-demise-must-mean-for-nz-welfare-reforms-part-1/

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/the-discredited-indefensible-work-capability-assessment-wca-in-the-uk-and-what-its-demise-must-mean-for-nz-welfare-reforms-part-2/

  6. AsleepWhileWalking 6

    FYI Work and Income already has the ability to overrule doctors (and frequently do) on who is fit for work – it is written into the Social Securities Act.

  7. Foreign waka 7

    This is so disgusting, words are failing. Astounding that the opposition seem to be blase about it. It really shows that those in power are only keen to have the snout in the trough and the taxpayer has the fund their extravagance. At what point is enough enough?

  8. The Chairman 8

    What is the risk factor of having employment experts in GP offices?

    What is the risk factor of forcing those considered to have “entrenched” mental health issues into the workplace?

    • The Chairman 8.1

      For example, a Taranaki dairy farmer with “anger problems” broke the tails of 46 cows.

      Ashburton Work and Income.

      • Ergo Robertina 8.1.1

        The cow tail case was also in Ashburton.
        I oppose schemes to force people with entrenched mental health problems into the employment market, but my concerns are not in respect of animal welfare.
        There are different shades of ”entrenched mental health issues”; people whose issues tend to keep them out of the workforce tend to be sensitive souls who would not hurt an animal.
        In fact, an ”entrenched mental health issue” makes people eminently suitable for some roles; like the psychopath mercenary doctors hired by ACC hires to do claimants over.

        • The Chairman 8.1.1.1

          If the guy with anger problems was working with people and not cows the situation may have been a hell of a lot worse.

          The point is, a number of people with entrenched mental health issues are not only a risk to themselves, but can also be a risk to others.

          • Ergo Robertina 8.1.1.1.1

            What are you implying? That mental health issues might have been the factor in keeping this angry guy from working with people instead of animals?
            You really think the Ashburton farmer was the kind of person who didn’t participate or participate fully in the workforce because of mental health issues?
            Your lack of understanding is evident.

            • The Chairman 8.1.1.1.1.1

              It was rather clear.

              A number of people with entrenched mental health issues are not only a risk to themselves, but can also be a risk to others. Meaning other people or animals as such was the case.

              • Ergo Robertina

                Oh, you’ve made it clear alright – your reactionary bigotry and lack of understanding.
                To serve your misinformed little agenda, you’ve bizarrely conflated the case of an Ashburton farmer thug with people whose ”mental health issues” you believe should exclude them from jobs.

                • The Chairman

                  Excuse me? Have you been drinking?

                  Anger issues are a mental health problem.

                  Mental health problems do exclude a number from working. And in some instances, rightly so.

                  A number can potentially be a danger to themselves and others while putting work place safety at risk .

                  It’s not bigotry or a lack of understanding, it’s a reality.

                • Foreign waka

                  Are you for real? Have you ever worked with a person that is agitated all the time? I would take the employer to court because this will not provide a safe working environment for me.

                  • Ergo Robertina

                    Did you read the whole thread?
                    I oppose moves to compel people with mental health issues into the workforce, while opposing discrimination against people with mental health conditions.
                    It’s pretty simple, really.

              • KJT

                A number of people without mental health issues are a risk to themselves and others. Maybe we should stop working with people.

          • Mike the Savage One 8.1.1.1.2

            Well, there are some risks, but they seem to be rather for the WINZ client, the mental health sufferer, than anybody else, I think. What was mentioned by Director for Welfare Reform, Sandra Kirikiri, in an interview on Radio NZ’s ‘Nine to Noon’ on 15 April last year gave some reason to be concerned about. But as they tend to “learn” as they go along (WINZ), they may by now have addressed this:

            “WINZ expands scheme to support unemployed with illness issues”
            http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2592666/winz-expands-scheme-to-support-unemployed-with-illness-issues

            An abbreviated transcript from the interview (from about 15 min 20 sec. onwards) can be interpreted like this:
            “Sandra Kirikiri then incredibly commented, that Work and Income do not discuss this (risk) with an employer! It was not their place to do that, she asserted. “If the client wants to disclose that that’s ok”, she continued. “What we’re trying to do is, to make sure, that from our knowledge of the employer, that it would be a good environment for the client”. Kathryn asked: “They don’t have to declare any medical condition?” And Sandra said, “no”, then continuing with an example where they had sent a short list of partly long very term unemployed people to an employer, and where the employer picked the ones they wanted, which included some that Work and Income had considered hard to refer. But “they’re the best people”, she added. An employer does not have a “pre conceived idea”, she said, and the employer takes the people on the basis of the short list and the interview, “and these guys are going, great!” Sandra said that the clients really want to prove themselves, when an employer gives them that “little bit of faith”. She said though, they do not need to do that (tell employers about the conditions of the clients). Sometimes the client wants them to talk to the employer, with them, she conceded, and they were happy to do that. But they were actually not doing that as a first instance.”

            See also:
            http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/work-ability-assessments-done-for-work-and-income-a-revealing-fact-study-part-d/

            So for WINZ to not declare a medical condition to a prospective employer, that is irresponsible, I would have thought. But they seem to leave this up to the client, or the provider and the client to sort out.

            • KJT 8.1.1.1.2.1

              Someone’s medical condition is absolutely no business of an employer’s unless it makes them unfit for the job.

              • Mike the Savage One

                Yes and yes, and there will be many employers expecting persons to fill out forms, or simply answer verbal questions, when applying for a job, stating their medical conditions, which may impact on their ability to perform the work.

                To not disclose a condition that may impact on the ability to perform work safely, can have negative legal consequences if something goes wrong, and if this is found out later. But an applicant must reasonably be able to assess whether a condition could impact on the ability to perform work duties.

                So there could be some space for discretion, but when we talk about many mental health condition, they can definitely interfere with work performance.

                The most horrible example was the recent intentional crashing of an airplane by a mentally ill German pilot in the French Alps.

                In view of that, it may pay to go on the safe side, I would think.

                • KJT

                  As against the hundreds of pilots who seemed otherwise healthy who have crashed with unexpected heart attacks.

                  The proximate cause of several crashes, or potential crashes, lately is locked cockpits due to the overreaction to, also rare, terrorist attacks.

              • Foreign waka

                That may be so, but god forbid you have a schizophrenic on medication deciding to stop…or a person with bipolar having a episode. Have you ever been in a situation like that? I have (it was a nightmare!) and I am not agreeing one bit with being made a guinea pig in the adventures of the experimental “researchers” – no thanks.

                • KJT

                  You had better stop flying then. And going to the Doctor, sitting in a bus or driving on Auckland motorways..

                  As at least one in four people have had, or will have, some form of mental illness some time in their lives, there are a hell of a lot of pilots who are living with a mental illness, safely flying every day.
                  As there are people in other professions.

                  Even if that crash was due to mental illness, debatable, as it seems to be more from a sense of entitlement and narcissism.
                  Almost all crashes caused by the pilots are caused by, supposedly, sane people.
                  Statistically, you are safer with a nutty pilot.

                  Someone with schizophrenia or untreated Bi-polar which affected their flying, would never last through flight school. and they would be unfit for a flying job anyway.
                  Did you know however, that one of the engineers who designed the Auckland flyovers was suffering from schizophrenia. A very decent talented guy.

  9. Mike the Savage One 9

    The libertarians and free market advocates are already working full power and over-time, to promote this innovative approach called “social impact bonds”.

    Eric Crampton has managed to get airtime on Radio New Zealand’s ‘Nights’ program some time ago, I noticed, and tonight he was quite favourable of SIBs, when chatting away with Bryan Crump until about 09 pm. Eric Crampton has also been a frequent post writer on Sciblogs, and he is associated with the New Zealand Initiative. He is a firm believer in the laissez faire approach and having markets solve problems.

    Here is what this “economist” (originally from the US, as far as I know) had to say:
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/nights/audio/201758682/right-thinking

    This morning Kathryn Ryan had a man from the UK on her show, promoting the SIB idea:
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201758573/social-bonds-can-private-investment-in-welfare-work

    RNZ summary of that interview:
    “The Government says social bonds – which are set to be trialled in the mental health sector here – are an innovative way to pay for social services that deliver results while critics say they are a massive experiment. The idea behind social bonds is for the private sector to invest in particular outcomes such as improved employment rates or reduced reoffending by people coming out of prison. If the agreed outcome is not reached, the investor doesn’t get paid, thus – the Government says – there is a very big incentive to make the programme work. Paul Riley is the executive director of Key Assets UK – part of a global company which specialises in placing foster children in homes and other social and family services.”

    Where is the MSM giving air-time to critics, I ask? It seems that RNZ is now firmly “in line” with what the masters in government expect. Time for the opposition to step up, that is if they do stand by their words and care! If this continues, the public will become lulled into thinking, all this is just ok, like anything else that has been going on under John Key and his government.

  10. The Chairman 10

    How would placing those known to have “entrenched” mental health issues into the workplace impact on employers responsibility to provide a safe workplace?

    • Mike the Savage One 10.1

      Perhaps a first aid kit and a 111 quick dial, should things really go wrong.

      But I think your concerns are probably directed towards the wrong party. If offered genuine support, and a proper, secure work place, with decent pay, and an understanding management and fellow workers, some persons may indeed manage and benefit from open employment.

      Going by the UK experiences, and also in some other places in the world, where sick and disabled have been placed into employment, this is rather more often attempted at low cost, with least efforts, and with at least implied pressures on the candidates. Jobs may not be what they seem, they are likely to be part time, marginal and precarious, also low paid, so causing more health hazards than benefits.

      So most would rather be in danger of self harm, I think, which is why all this is so high risk and dangerous.

      This idea of paying generous fees, of paying bonuses or dividends, that is an incentive for the “investor” and provider, rather than the “commodity” mental health suffering beneficiary. The costs the government faces are the incentives they offer for those contractors, not so much the person “supported”.

      The idea they follow though is, to get people off benefits, so they cost less in future, nothing more or less. That is the idea, but in practice it does not necessarily work like that, given unstable employment, and uncertain socio-economic conditions for too many, even the “fit” and healthy.

      I feel all this is also missing an opportunity for those who may wish to do some work, but will not manage on the competitive open job market. What about creating jobs that persons with mental health and other conditions can do, without the expectations and pressures that come with open employment on the market? There seems to be no consideration for such schemes.

      • The Chairman 10.1.1

        No doubt, with the proper care and support some may benefit. However, workplaces as such are few and far between.

        Moreover, a number may go postal. And when it comes out their potential to nut out was previously known, that may come back to bite employers and their branding if customers or other employees are maimed or killed.

        Current unemployment numbers suggests finding suitable and willing employers in general employment opportunities will be extremely difficult. Therefore, it’s only logical to assume investors will have something different and yet to be announced in mind.

        • Mike the Savage One 10.1.1.1

          I think you are having a too prejudicial view of persons with mental health issues. There are some few persons who may fit your risk profile, but most would hardly be noticed as being all that different to other persons, until perhaps they have a serious break down of sorts.

          We are more likely to suffer from a random road rage incident (by any angry driver), or be hit by a car, than be attacked or seriously harmed by a person with mental health conditions. And actually many people have periods of mental illness at some times in their lives, but recover afterwards, and live somewhat normal lives again.

          But I agree re employment, that the government should create jobs that would possibly be more suitable to persons with such and other illness, at least to try out before going back into open employment. There will be many that will struggle in many demanding, stressful “ordinary” jobs, especially those with certain mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. It seems though, as if the government is not interested in creating jobs in more stable, secure environments, as many labour laws have under National also been changed to make it easier to hire and fire, and to allow less secure, more precarious and even dangerous work.

          • The Chairman 10.1.1.1.1

            Currently, we may have more chance of being hit by a car, but with more people with entrenched mental heath issues being pushed to work , thus under more pressure, the chance of a number of them nutting out is likely to increase.

            Moreover, it’s rather common for those with mental heath issues to be on meds that can negatively impact upon their work performance, potentially putting them and others in the workplace at risk.

  11. Smilin 11

    Why have a Democracy the markets greater yeah right
    People dont need confidence in their govt
    “Dont ask what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country”
    Get rid of CAPITALIST govt for one that serves the the majority of the people not those who who have the majority of the money

  12. vto 12

    I genuinely do not see where the incentive/profit kicks in when you make an investment and are looking for the return……..

    Is it that you get a return when the specific person you have invested in returns to work?

    Or is it that you get a return when the specific person has been satisfactorily provided with a warm house and sufficient of life’s basic provisions while they are out of work?

    Whats the story? Sorry it is surely described somewhere – pointer anyone?

  13. Gosman 13

    If you don’t think people with a mental disorder should be encouraged and supported back to a position where they can contribute to society then argue that case. I think many voters disagree with you around this but best of luck pushing your case.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      encouraged and supported

      That’s what this is, is it? Encouragement and support? You fucking liar.

    • Tracey 13.2

      Can you post the detail of the policy so we can see exactly what “many voters” are agreeing with in your view?

      Can you explain the business model that will lend money to a venture targeting those with mental illnesses of the type making them difficult to employ and only getting “profit” if they successfully get those people into employment? Also please define “success”, under this model.

      TIA

  14. Kay 14

    I’m very curious as to where they are going to find these “employers”. As a general rule, most employers out there- both in the public and private sector- are pretty discriminatory towards people with a variety of disabilities, mental and physical, but especially mental illness, even if they’re the best qualified and suited for the job. If it comes up on the application or at the interview you can usually forget about about getting the job (although impossible to prove discrimination unless you’re told in writing).
    By definition, people with disabilities who have been on long term welfare have pretty major conditions to make their ability to work full-time, if at all impossible.

    And one time,( and I know it existed 10 years ago but no idea if it’s still in existence) there was a scheme through State Services Commission that placed people with disabilities into jobs in the public sector. The catch was the govt paid full wages for the 1st year and 1/2 wages for the 2nd. The idea was that the person would be kept on after that, some did but often the job vanished once the subsidy dried up. So they only took us on in the first place because their budgets weren’t overly affected. Since govt depts have been wound down I doubt that type of scheme is there any more.

    So back to employers- are the MSD/their contractors going to have to bribe any employers to give their clients jobs? Because I honestly don’t see how that will happen otherwise. Even admitting upfront that one suffers from depression is a pretty big turn-off for an employer (=unreliable). Say schizophrenia or Bipolar, no matter how controlled then forget it. Of course, one can not say anything, but what happens if the job is obtained and the subsequent stress of trying to be a “super employee” (a common phenomenon for disabled people in the workplace in order to keep their jobs) causes a relapse? Back in hospital then having to fight to get back into the benefit system? This whole thing is terrifying.

    • Tracey 14.1

      There is also the added stress of work testing people on a regular basis who are most likely unemployable.

      My brother-in-law with Cerebral Palsy (which is not a mental illness) got work tested three times during Ruth Dyson’s reign despite no cure fo rhis condition being developed in that time. The stress it caused his mother and the false expectation it built in him that he would get a job was hard on the family.

    • Mike the Savage One 14.2

      Kay, you raise valid concerns.

      That is what they put the persons with mental health conditions in, a situation where they face endless barriers, not so much in their motivation, but by having basically rather discriminating employers, fellow staff and in some cases unsympathetic customers to deal with.

      Where is the government’s drive to hold employers and members of society to account, to offer fair participation for disabled? I hear and see rather little of such efforts.

      The government is dangling a carrot in the way of fees to providers and “dividend” for social impact bond investors in front of those parties, but leaving the “clients” in a risk territory, where they may be desperate and full of hope, but very vulnerable, should things turn sour in the effort to get and keep a job.

      So some state subsidised employment schemes for such persons makes more sense, where jobs are not open to competitive market pressures, but where persons can at least contribute somehow, in their time, space and within their capability, also being respected for their honest effort.

      It is in short, a major, rather dangerous social experiment, with some of the most vulnerable in society.

      And re Gosman, I have no comment to make to persons like that, always just trying to play the troll here.

      • Kay 14.2.1

        Mike, it’s really just a continuation of the theme that everyone on a benefit is responsible for their situation, ie it’s their fault and having gainful employment is the answer (and alleged cure) to everything, don’t you think? In short, a variation on beneficiary bashing dressed up to pretend they give a shit.

        So the fact that there are so many actively discriminating employers and work colleages out there doesn’t come into it. After all, they’re in gainful employment and not a welfare statistic that needs to be got rid of, right? (Boy, my cynicism level is through the roof today…)

        As for trolls- well karma is a great thing. I’ve seen serious mental illness take hold of some very deserving people over the years. What goes around and all that.

        • Mike the Savage One 14.2.1.1

          Yes, I do more or less agree with your assessment of this idea and intended approach by the government. It is all about sophisticated “beneficiary bashing”, and I remember well how Judith Collins (then opposition spokesperson on welfare) did in 2007 and 2008 repeatedly go on about doctors signing off people as “sick”, to go on the sickness benefit, while they were according to one or two doctors she spoke with, not really that sick. There was NO proof for doctors doing this, and little proof of them being pressured to do so. It was pre election propaganda.

          They do really think that there are too many “malingerers”, and hence we have a rather hard-line, nasty WINZ Principal Health Advisor, who likens benefit dependence to “drug dependence”.

          So it is beneficiary bashing in that sense, a drive to pressurise those on benefits for health reasons and disability, to “prove” they really are sick and disabled. The “hatchet doctors” they use are collaborating, and the rest is all about cost cutting, as there is no proof of additional health spending and so for treatment and rehabilitation (as the last Budget showed yet again).

          “Wrap around services” and “supports” means only “more intensive case management” (pressurising and harassing), nothing else.

        • Foreign waka 14.2.1.2

          I appreciate your point of view and employment of disabled people should not even be an issue. Talking about mental illness is a different issue altogether. To put both into the same sentence can be offensive for a i.e. paraplegic – how many people are talking laud and as if the person is a child speaks for itself.
          It is equally dishonest to everybody inclusive the patient to pretend that mental illness is something one can overcome just by kindness. I am not saying that people should be locked up but in most cases they need a structured environment, stress free and supportive with assistance for issues such as hygiene (depending on type and severity of illness). Being in a upswing for a bipolar affected person whilst having job interviews will have some surprises for the employer in store.
          To be honest, I would test the law to its fullest extend if WINZ would not disclose that a person has a health condition that can potentially endanger the person and/or everybody around them.

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