I’m sorry, where was the plan?

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, June 26th, 2012 - 73 comments
Categories: welfare - Tags:

More than 20,000 unemployed people will be moved off the benefit within five years if the Government manages to meet its newly announced targets.”

Yes, but a target isn’t a plan.

Being out of work increases the risk of poverty, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said.


“Welfare reform will require more working age people to look for work”

But not that there will be any work for them.  There are 78,000 people looking for work at the moment and they can’t find any.  Forcing a few thousand extra young mums and sick people to look for work as well won’t help them find it any faster either.

You need to create jobs people.  That’s how you get people into work.  Not just magic them off benefits.

Key said some of the targets were “very aspirational” but were based on what New Zealanders wanted.

“These targets are not a wish-list, they are a to-do list. Some of them will be extremely difficult to achieve.”

But the Government made no apology for having high expectations, he said.

Or not having a plan.

73 comments on “I’m sorry, where was the plan?”

  1. r0b 1

    “These targets are not a wish-list, they are a to-do list” – hah!

    Remember Key on his 2009 Jobs Summit – “I don’t want this to be a talk fest, I want it to be a do-fest.” And the outcome of that? Nothing…

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Anyone know whatever happened to the cycle way?

      • True Freedom is Self-Governance 1.1.1

        Well, late last year I remember seeing work being done on it just south of Rotorua, so parts of the mystical cycleway really do exist. It looked like a pretty small stretch though, so I wonder where the rest of it is supposed to go, and how much has been built so far compared to how much has been spent.

        • xtasy

          The truth about the “national cycleway” is, that it was started with a hype, but then the costs started biting in. Hence they swiftly improvised along the planning and construction lines, so much of it is now simply along or even part of major state highways (that is ROADS), perhaps not even properly marked.

          There are only bits and pieces here and there, where the ‘national cycleway’ is an infrastructure of its own kind and identity. It is the biggest joke and con there ever was in the area of infrastructure building in NZ.

          But then again, what has not been a “con” of sorts under Key and Nat ACT?

      • Macro 1.1.2

        There needs to be more research by investigative journos into the cycle way and just who benefits from it. Some of the cycle way has been or is about to be completed here in Thames – the old railway line south. But from what I gather from the local paper, the B and B’s along the way and the cafe’s etc will have to pay a surcharge to someone – a sort of cycleway tax! Apparently unbeknown to the general public, the rights were sold off – to one of Key’s mates no doubt.

    • Georgecom 1.2

      No, sorry John. This isn’t a ‘to do’ list, it’s a wish list.

      You have had 3 1/2 years to deliver a to do list on unemployment. You haven’t. All thats left are vague wish lists and intentions.

      Bullshit and spin are best termed simply, as bullshit and spin.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    A target comes first. Then the plan. Otherwise we would never have got to the moon.

    • felix 2.1

      I agree.

      And good on them for coming up with the idea that having a job is probably better than not having a job. No really, I mean that. Good. On. Them.

      Big long slow clap for the bold and revolutionary thinking that came out of that FOUR-YEAR-LONG BRAINSTORMING SESSION. Graphs and everything eh?

      But seriously, you’re right. You’ve got to have a target first, that’s the first thing, so good on them for identifying a target FOUR FUCKING YEARS IN OFFICE I mean you’ve got to have a target so well done team.

      Plans later.

    • bbfloyd 2.2

      The moon…. So that’s where you are posting comment from… that explains a lot…. you got to be careful you get your oxygen mixture right little tiss, or the side effects will get worse than they are already.

    • Indeed. But if you announce ten targets at once, instead of one large target in one area with plenty of support from the rest of the country, then that smacks of trying to substitute targets for developing a plan.

    • Georgecom 2.4

      So when are we going to see a plan from this lot. 3 1/2 years and still waiting.

      Is it a 5 year plan? You have to wait 5 years for it to eventuate.

  3. Scott 3

    What jobs are the people on the dole going to do in a depressed economy?

    • Uturn 3.1

      You are right, Scot. I was just thinking to myself that although not many English speaking people know how to speak English, doesn’t this:

      The goal of reducing the number of working age people receiving a benefit for more than 12 months by 30 per cent, would see the number of jobseekers drop from 78,000 to 55,000 by 2017.

      Plus this:

      Being out of work increases the risk of poverty and the longer a person is out of the workforce the harder it is to re-enter, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said.

      Plus this:

      “Welfare reform will require more working age people to look for work and the Government is targeting those who can work but have been on a benefit long term.”

      Mean that NZ has entered an economic Depression? Someone needs to re-write Bennett’s media offerings or tell us what she really means, because bascially she’s saying the government has identified a Depression situation and is advocating everyone fend for themselves.

      • Yep. And they still don’t have a plan other than doubling-down on their stupid tax cuts and praying that cutting inflation will magically help the country.

    • bbfloyd 3.2

      Scott.. i fail to see where the problem is… there is a major growth industry developing rather well here in nz… it’s called “begging”… simple solution… put all long term beneficiaries through a short course in how to maximise the obvious physical symptoms of starvation, exposure, and social isolation created by extreme poverty, and then let them loose on unsuspecting shoppers, tourists, and even school children at every shopping center, and mall in nz….

      As the herald in it’s wisdom pointed out in a full page article years ago, one beggar working the streets for 8 hours can make upwards of a hundred dollars a day…..Buskers are beggars too, according to this article, so they should qualify for the training as well…

      I’ve yet to meet a beggar, or a busker who actually does make anything like that kind of money, but the herald said it, so it must be true…..

      I’m hoping this scheme gets traction, as i have travelled around a fair bit, busking to pay my way, so i should qualify for the training…. although the fact that most of the songs i played were my own compositions, i may fall through a gap in eligibility clauses….

      • bbfloyd 3.2.1

        footnote… long term, a few cold winters will thin out the numbers quite effectively as well.. killing two birds with one stone, so to speak…

        That could be one of the “win, win” situations johnny sparkles alludes to….

        • Vicky32

          long term, a few cold winters will thin out the numbers quite effectively as well

          Oh yes, that’s working well already! 
          (Yes, I know, comparatively speaking, Auckland isn’t cold, but it jolly well is to me! Maybe cos I weigh 44 kg, but who knows?) 🙂

    • Rusty Shackleford 3.3

      Day to day I see dozens of fit, strong young men who effectively disqualify themselves from the labour force through their own behaviour.

      -Tattoos on face, neck and hands.
      -Baggy track pants hanging around their arse.
      -Unshaven and unwashed.
      -Ridiculous haircuts and manner of dress.
      -Criminal convictions.
      -Shacking up with women with children from multiple fathers.
      -Can’t pass a drug test even though they know one is looming in their near future.
      -Are unable to construct a coherent sentence. Written or spoken.
      -Drive expensive, derelict cars.
      -Refuse to pay $10 a month for a cell phone so are uncontactable by potential employers.

      Many of these men, although they lack anything in the way of formal qualifications, are in no way unintelligent. Even if work were available for these people (which it is), they are wholly unsuitable for it through their own actions.

      Why should the rest of society be forced to support these men? They are perfectly capable of looking after themselves, but refuse to.

      • McFlock 3.3.1

        Ladies and gentlemen, I present the typical Work & Income case manager: “understanding and caring about your needs”.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Myself, and every single one of my coworkers, fulfill all of the criteria in your link, towards our clients.

          • McFlock

            Really? Becuase the people you describe there have communication issues and probably significant impulse control and addiction issues that are associated with any number of unobvious disorders. Yet you’re predisposed to just writing them off, because your comment showed absolutely no understanding.

            • Rusty Shackleford

              As I originally pointed out, and you chose to ignore, the vast majority are reasonably intelligent. Those that have genuine issues should receive the help they need.

              • McFlock

                Intelligent people can have all of the issues I mentioned and more. And the consequences of those issues can outlast the issues themselves. That’s your failure of understanding. 

                • Rusty Shackleford

                  If you don’t have experience with the situation on a daily basis, you must have some other form of info. How are you so knowledgeable about the average mental make up of the average 20-40 year old man who presents applying for unemployment benefit?

                  • McFlock

                    In a number of jobs I’ve had to know what outward signs could be symptoms (or covering behaviour – e.g. an individual deliberately wearing “ridiculous” clothing to flag self as having odd behaviours that are a consequence of e.g. autism spectrum disorders) for deeper issues. Never as a clinician, simply as someone who had to deal with a diverse range of people in a diverse range of situations, some violent/potentially violent.
                    Similarly, hygiene, communication and personal presentation issues might be associated with severe depression – something you should be looking out for in your role. The last thing you want is for someone to top themselves the day after you put the hard word on them to find a job. 
                    I also know that for many mental health service users, their teenage behaviours (including criminal) are only correctly identified years later as initial presentations of their eventual diagnoses.
                    I also know that intelligence and communication in a half hour interview can only be achieved for some people by days of anxiety beforehand.
                    all that, and wearing another hat I once thought a person with a petit mal seizure was a case of public intoxication. That was a big lesson not to just take people at face value and make arbitrary value judgements. The paperwork was quite extensive.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      The research being done into men who have been abused as children will also be very interesting and will no doubt show negative impacts for many.

                      It’s been interesting also over the years, as someone who was badly bullied at school, to see the impact of such bullying on many males. I’ve learned that my resilience is the exception or unusual. Many people who were bullied have had problems later with violence and anger management, imprisonment often follows as a result as does quite a level of dysfunction. It’s another area of research in NZ that should be looked at in more depth.

                      Of course people like Rusty see the dysfunction as a choice not a consequence, see that castigation will put it right, not encouragement, help and support and of course worry overly about it because it such a small group in terms of the population and wouldn’t employ them if they could.

                      Can’t let facts get in the way but if you count up everyone who has been on unemployment benefit in the last twelve months then add up the percentage of long term the figure is less than 1%. Most people don’t stay on benefit for long and seeing the numbers as a static group is just so wrong.

                      This was pointed out in the 80’s when I was an advocate and still the right use this false assessment of the situation and use those small numbers to bludgeon the mass. Tosses.

      • Uturn 3.3.2

        Well it’s hard for everyone, Rusty, and as you say, maybe it’s just your presentation. It’s not like the old days. You can’t hang around the carparks of the public toilets and proposition any bloke that wanders past. If all you get are grunts, you’re doing well. Have you tried a dating site?

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Gross. Lprent, if you leave up homophobic comments, then you need to be ashamed of yourself.

          • Uturn

            I’m here to support you, since you’re a working man, Rusty. You make noises like it’s your clients’ fault they won’t take up your services. There are no bad clients, just poor salesmen, Rusty. Whether a sex worker, like yourself, or a high-end furniture salesman. Remember your ABC’s: Always Be Closing.

            Think about your location, Rusty. Young men frequent public toilets, yes, but your frustration suggests you want an up-market clientele. What about a Newmarket a Café? Or even the Chancery? Dress up a bit, relax and smile. Angst will attract the wrong kind, believe me.

            If all else fails, maybe it’s for the best. You may have to find alternative means to make a living. But best of luck, I’m sure you’ll find a way!

  4. Blue 4

    I can almost see Key and his advisers planning this little bit of crapola.

    Key: The polls are shit! Help!

    Advisers: We need to make you look strong and competent and in control. Let’s release a To Do list.

    Key: Lists? Fuck! I can’t do that! There’s an election on in 2014 and everyone will see how useless I am!

    Advisers: Don’t worry, we’ll set the goals for 2017. That way you’ll never have to deliver on them.

    Key: Phew. So, what do we put on the list?

    Advisers: The more unrealistic the better. Be aspirational, John! They’ll eat this shit up!

    Key: What if they ask about a plan to achieve these goals?

    Advisers: Hahahahahahaha! Seriously, have you met any NZ journalists?

  5. Bill 5

    You simply don’t need a plan if your sole intention is to deny people their entitlements. So, short of outright privatisation with payments pegged to ‘benefit denial’, look for bonus payments for numerical results a la ACC.

    • TightyRighty 5.1

      Entitlements? That word, that one, right there, the reason the new Zealand public voted to keep out the left last election.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 5.1.1

        What, you mean when that low-life Sir Bludger Douglas claimed he was “entitled” to air travel like a slavering hypocrite caught at the trough?

      • North 5.1.2

        Enough of your sophistry Shitey Titey. Grow Up !

        • Rusty Shackleford

          I love it! Classic virulent leftism. No need to have a point. Just tell dissenting voices to shut up, or call them a name or spout a classic logical fallacy. Dust hands, then walk away congratulating yourself on a job well done.

          [lprent: In response a straight assertion by TR. What do you expect when a people start wanking on site? You get similar responses like yours.

          Actually I know what I expect. The project is getting out the door tomorrow. I’m chasing the irritating bug that showed up this morning and prevented its dispatch, and then I suspect we may have a behavioural enhancement session. ]

          • Rusty Shackleford

            “lprent: In response a straight assertion by TR. What do you expect when a people start wanking on site? You get similar responses like yours.”
            I’m not 100% sure what this means.

            Entitlement is a pretty loaded word. It implies that people have a claim on the resources of another.

            “Actually I know what I expect. The project is getting out the door tomorrow. I’m chasing the irritating bug that showed up this morning and prevented its dispatch, and then I suspect we may have a behavioural enhancement session.”


            [lprent: Moderation on a site like this is an ongoing project. The similar project in parliament (the speaker) is well into it’s second century. ]

            • Draco T Bastard

              It implies that people have a claim on the resources of another.

              Everyone has an equal claim on the resources of the community. The problem comes when a few psychopaths begin to believe that those resources are theirs (privatisation) and not the communities which, inevitably, results in poverty for the many and excessive wealth and power for the few. Wealth and power that is then used to take even more of the resources that belong to the community.

              • Colonial Viper

                What’s perplexing about Rusty’s position is that he completely ignores the top 0.1% who believe in their heart of hearts that the resources and wealth of the entire world rightly belongs just to them.

                What do you say about those people, Rusty? Draco labels them psychopaths; I prefer the term sociopath. What say you?

                Probably your heroes and rolemodels right?

                • Rusty Shackleford

                  Who ARE these people? Can you name a few of them? Will the people you name still be in positions of power a decade from now? Even a year from now?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    You deny they exist? Is that your line? I said you ignored them and you are still trying it on.

                    Look at their wealth and power Rusty, they are generational in nature, a very exclusive club. I’m not talking about the poverty stricken masses of multi-millionaires either.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      erm, who? It kind of sounds like you are getting into conspiracy theory territory.

                      Whilst I agree there are people who exist who use political advantage to gain monetary wealth, there are very few people who are able to persist at this in the long term. There is so much competition.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      “Conspiracy theory”

                      The catchphrase for those who insist that you look somewhere else, because there is really nothing of interest going on here.

                      Don’t you think that the wealthiest people in the world do long term planning to preserve their wealth and influence?

                      Its not a “conspiracy” Rusty ol’ boy, its prudence.

                      there are very few people who are able to persist at this in the long term. There is so much competition.

                      Shit dude, you seem to be talking individuals, I am not.

                      I’m also not talking about some bullshit CEO who earns a million or two a year. That’s slave wages.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      I agree that merely labeling something a conspiracy does not disprove its existence. Having said that, can you answer my original question and name some names?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Name names??? Not sure what that will prove. You know the obvious ones and the obvious power broking groupings as well as I do.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      There are groups (namely companies) that wield immense political power, but they are different from the groups that wielded power a decade ago. The only constant is the political power. The groups that wield it are the ones that change.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Companies don’t wield power, people do.

                      Come on Rusty, you’re missing the fundamentals here.

                      And don’t forget the CEO of even the largest corporation is just a paid lackey, usually there for only a couple of years these days before being moved on.

                      Mate you have to think generationally.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      In that case, I have no idea what you are talking about. You had better start naming names and citing references.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yes, because citations make the world a real place, and it clearly didn’t exist before citations.

                      So you thinking generationally yet? The Rockefellers and Morgans did.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      Well, citations are certainly more trustworthy than your blind assertions.

                      The descendants of John D. Rockefeller give away millions of dollars a year and are very much the exception rather than the rule when it comes to intergenerational wealth. Most vast fortunes are dissipated within a few generations.

              • Rusty Shackleford

                “Everyone has an equal claim on the resources of the community.”
                100% agree. People are free to engage in non-violent, mutually beneficial trade. Nobody should be permitted to infringe on this.

                “The problem comes when a few psychopaths begin to believe that those resources are theirs (privatisation) and not the communities which, inevitably, results in poverty for the many and excessive wealth and power for the few.”
                As far as I can tell, private property has been a major component of the ridiculous wealth that even the poorest person in this country enjoys compared with his ancestor 250 years ago. I would be wary of removing that component. To say the least.

                “Wealth and power that is then used to take even more of the resources that belong to the community.”
                Can you give an example?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Can you give an example?

                  Fuck this is laughable.

                  Can you?

                  • Rusty Shackleford

                    Of what? The onus is on you to back up your assertions.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      A waste of time. Enlighten yourself, don’t expect others to try and enlighten you.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      You are the one who makes blind assertions, refuses to back them up, then gets pissy and implores the person who points this out to “enlighten” himself.

                      That is not a valid form of argumentation.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      If you really believe that if you can’t (or won’t) cite it, it can’t exist.

                      You’re going to have to fundamentally relearn what you think you have already learnt.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      You aren’t even saying anything, beyond
                      “Accept everything I say at face value as the truth.”

                      Do you really expect me to do that? And do you feel intellectually honest when other commenters on this site do just that?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Intellectual honesty? Intellect is the beginning of wisdom, not the end. But, as I said, not my job to enlighten you. Good luck out there young padawan.

                • Macro

                  FFS Rusty – you don’t have to look hard to find them. Here is one – Gina Rinehart is one – she believes the whole of the mineral wealth of Australia is hers by right. That owning 19% of Fairfax gives her editorial rights so she can ram her opinions down every Australians throat every day. That she can pump as much CO2 into the atmosphere as she likes and never have to pay for the consequences, etc etc. That’s the sort of low life we are talking about here. Then there is the Kock Bros in USA, and the… but it sickens me to go on.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  People are free to engage in non-violent, mutually beneficial trade.

                  Can’t engage in trade if you don’t have access to resources because they’ve been locked behind legalised theft.

                  As far as I can tell, private property has been a major component of the ridiculous wealth that even the poorest person in this country enjoys compared with his ancestor 250 years ago.

                  Then you’d be wrong.

                  If the resources had been properly available (communal) and the legal restrictions that capitalism has enforced upon society (patents) hadn’t been there then the probability is that we’d be far better off. The increase in wealth over the last two centuries, and especially the last century, has been despite capitalism and not because of it. All that added democracy, increased workers rights from unions and, finally, high taxes on the wealthy so that the government could more properly use the communal wealth is what’s achieved it. If we’d left it to your preferred policies we’d be far worse off today.

                  People innovate because they can and want to, not because they’re paid. Capitalists know this and exploit the communal in most people through legalised theft to enrich themselves.

  6. xtasy 6

    Being out of work does not even lead to poverty, as Paula Bennett has suddenly discovered in her great moment of “enlightenment”, it is also very bad for your health!

    “Worklessness” is BAD for you and will make you SICK, claims staunchly “work ability” focused Principal Health Advisor for Work and Income, Dr David Bratt.


    (try to download the powerpoint presentation by Dr Bratt, given 18 March 11 at that workshop/forum!)

    So I am sure, in Bennett’s eyes NO job is too menial for anybody, as she also recently said in Parliament.

    Get off the bene, because even collecting and pushing supermarket trolleys will certainly be of some benefit for your health, yeah right!

  7. Roy 7

    Moved where? Into oblivion?

  8. Roy 8

    Also, does ‘very aspirational’ mean ‘really sucks’?

  9. xtasy 9

    A Dr David Bratt, Principal Health Advisor of WINZ and also since 2008 in charge for “training” designated doctors (GPs mostly, doing WINZ medical assessments), clearly states on page/sheet 27 of his powerpoint presentation to a forum or workshop of rural GPs on 18 March 2011:

    The benefit is really like a DRUG. And doctors issue over 300 thousand scribes a year for this.


    So the call is there, to not only get the ordinary unemployed off their backs and into jobs, but also the so far classed as “sick” and “invalids”, who in view of some are nothing but maligners.

    All this is pep talk, preparing the populace for the second tier of major benefit reforms coming up in the coming weeks! Watch this space!

  10. Ed 10

    “Welfare reform will require more working age people to look for work”

    That does seem to assume that
    1. There are a lot of working age people out of work and not looking for work, and
    2. That having more people looking for work will mean that more people will be in work (or that there are jobs going unfilled that could be filled by those in the category described in 1 above).

    Is there any evidence that either of these presumptions are true?

    Is this really just beneficiary-bashing in yet another guise?

  11. captain hook 11

    what this really shows is how many little fascists there are out there who want to kick people when they are down and National is just tapping into this nasty little undercurrent at work in our society.

    • North 11.1

      Yeah, little fascists until they or theirs end up having to wear the mocassins. Then there are all sorts of reasons why they should get the help.

      I recall seeing some scrawny old bitch on TV years ago loudly and crudely bemoaning the fact of state houses. When interviewer reminded that she and her family had lived in a state house – “Oh yes……but we needed it !”

      Horrible ignorant old bitch…….these are the types you identify Captain Hook. Socially illiterate and proud of it.

  12. smokeskreen 12

    Is it just a coincidence that Key has recently met with the British PM who is also proposing whacky welfare reforms in recessionary conditions?

    • rosy 12.1

      “Is it just a coincidence that Key has recently met with the British PM who is also proposing whacky welfare reforms in recessionary conditions?”

      btw The Guardian has been running an excellent series called Breadline Britain. It covers the plight of the working poor and jobs that don’t pay enough to live on are what these dudes are planning for, imo.

      Almost 7 million working-age adults are living in extreme financial stress, one small push from penury, despite being in employment and largely independent of state support, according to the most comprehensive study yet of the finances of employed households, commissioned by the Guardian.

      Unlike the “squeezed middle”, these 3.6m British households have little or no savings, nor equity in their homes, and struggle at the end of each month to feed themselves and their children adequately. They say they are unable to cope on their current incomes and have no assets to fall back on, leaving them vulnerable to something as simple as an unexpectedly large fuel bill.

      The findings challenge the argument made by the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, who said last week that parents should get a job to ensure their children are not brought up in poverty

  13. belladonna 13

    The Guardian is a splendid paper, shame we dont have an equivalent here.
    It makes me furious to think that people are subjected to such humiliation while the rich sit in their ivory towers throwing crumbs to the poor.

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