You can’t ‘force beneficiaries back into work’ by ‘giving them a kick in the pants’ if there’s no jobs for them to go into.
People on the dole already need to show they are looking for work to get the dole. Forcing them to reapply after a year is simply a wasteful and arbitrary restating of that existing policy.
People on the DPB are encouraged to find work. Back when Paula Bennett used to be able to get a grant to help them into work training to get off the DPB, but she canned that. Forcing DPB parents to try to find work won’t get them off the dole when there’s no work to find.
Giving them a ‘kick in the pants’, to use the phrase of multi-millionaire John Key whose mum had the security of government support when she was raising him, would only work if two conditions are true: there are jobs to have and beneficiaries currently prefer to be on the benefit than in work.
On the first, there aren’t the jobs to go around. The economy is still losing jobs, 2,ooo in the last quarter. We don’t have enough for those who have jobs, let alone those who have lost their jobs during the recession, and young people entering the workforce.
On the second, just by looking at the facts you can see that most beneficiaries would prefer to be in work. Most people get off the dole in less than a year. Only 10,000 out of 66,000 have been on the dole longer than a year.
If these 10,000 were bludgers, they would be on the dole regardless of the economic situation, eh? But before the recession, that number was just 5,000 and just 1,700 had been on the dole longer than four years.
Clearly nearly everyone who is on the dole moves into work in time when there’s work to get. And why wouldn’t they? It’s not like living on $200 is an attractive ‘lifestyle choice’. You can’t blame people for being stuck on the dole when there’s no jobs.
The only thing that will get people off the dole is the creation of new jobs. When the work is there, people will take it every time rather than scrap by on $200 a week. If the government was serious about getting people off benefits, it would be investing in job creation, which is a cheap option compared to leaving people to rot on the dole.
On a deeper level, this is the capitalists’ old trick of turning working people against each other. The Nats set us fighting among ourselves, bitching about benefits and competing against each other for jobs which brings our wages down.
Meanwhile, the attention goes away from the real bludgers – the tax cheats, the big corporates, and CEOs on their massive salaries who avoid paying their fair share of the cost of government and stand to win big from the Nats’ tax cuts.
This supposed ‘get tough’ approach won’t get people off the benefit. It’s a cynical exercise in political marketing – paint everyone getting a benefit as ‘bludgers’ then hammer them. It is no coincidence that this policy was released a day after the mining policy.