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John Key’s brighter future is not for everyone

Written By: - Date published: 1:43 pm, August 20th, 2015 - 46 comments
Categories: class, john key, national, same old national - Tags:

Key blighted future

It has always troubled me how recently beneficiary numbers have been dropping at the same time that unemployment is increasing.

Anthony Robins wrote this in January of this year and it is clear that his analysis is increasingly true.

What we do know for sure is that National have created an environment for beneficiaries that is so nasty and so distorted, that doctors are being advised to consider welfare a “debilitating drug“. Make a system punitive enough and of course the numbers using it fall.

And this week he noted National’s crowing about a further reduction in beneficiary numbers and Anne Tolley’s celebration of the strong downward trend.

National’s hostility to anyone receiving a benefit, as long as they are under the age of 65 years, has been demonstrated time and time again. For instance policies adopted earlier this year to cut benefits if there was an arrest warrant in existence has the potential of making families lives really grim.

And the evidence that the system is not working is becoming very evident. From Radio New Zealand this morning:

In the year to the end of June 2015, 46 Work and Income staff were seriously assaulted, and 413 beneficiaries trespassed for threatening behaviour, figures released under the Official Information Act reveal.

In the 2013/14 financial year, 22 WINZ staff were assaulted and 163 beneficiaries trespassed.

Last September, Ashburton Work and Income staff members Peg Noble and Leigh Cleveland were killed and another was injured when they were shot at their workplace.

A 49-year-old man, Russell John Tully, is facing charges.

Since the Ashburton attack, an extra 250 security staff have been employed at Work and Income offices, and a tougher line taken towards abusive and violent behaviour.

Is this increase in unruly behaviour a random occurrence or evidence of increased stress and pressure on those at the bottom of the pile? Carmel Sepuloni has injected some realism into the debate.

Labour Party social development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni suspected the increase in attacks was a sign of desperation.

She said the minister had underestimated the pressure beneficiaries were under.

“They’re going in, they’re feeling like they’re not getting the support they need, and so the tension between the client and the case manager has risen, and you’ve got clients who are under stress but also case managers that are under stress.”

And one symptom is an increase of homelessness and the appearance of homeless pregnant women. Again from Radio New Zealand this morning:

Rhys Abraham, who helps run a group distributing food and essentials to people living on the streets, said volunteers had helped some women who are eight months pregnant.

Though there are no official figures, he believed the number of pregnant women sleeping rough in Auckland had trebled in the past 18 months.

“There are places that will take in pregnant women in an emergency who are otherwise homeless, but a lot of women either…don’t know about it, or…can’t get there, and some of these places are just full.

“They don’t have any more space, they’re doing the best they can, but it’s still not enough.”

The story is a familiar one for Corie Haddock, emergency crisis response team manager for the agency Lifewise, which is currently looking after two pregnant women.

“I’m aware of situations in the past where we’ve worked with other organisations that people have been heavily pregnant – eight, eight and a half months.

“So as the need of New Zealanders grows, those falling into homelessness or needing access to accomodation grows.”

Reducing beneficiary numbers at the same time as homelessness and desperation is increasing shows that something is terribly wrong.

John Key’s brighter future is obviously not for everyone.

46 comments on “John Key’s brighter future is not for everyone ”

  1. Andrew 1

    “It has always troubled me how recently beneficiary numbers have been dropping at the same time that unemployment is increasing”

    Really? We have record levels of employment, unemployment is increasing as we also have record levels of immigration. Instead of loosing people overseas and out of the job market, more and more people are lining up to move here and work. I don’t think that benefit numbers dropping at the same time is very puzzling at all.

    • Macro 1.1

      “We have record levels of employment”
      We have record levels of people in the work force (which includes those seeking work) – that is actually a very different figure than record numbers in employment. We also have around 43,000 more unemployed than when National took office. Those figures are taken from the Household Labour Force Survey Dept of Statistics.
      http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2015/08/43000-unemployed-under-national.html
      Furthermore – the figures for “employed” are spurious – when one is counted as being in work if one works for 1 (one) hour or more a week. Try living on that!

      Hours worked in employment is the total number of hours worked in employment per week by all people meeting the definition of employment given in the standard for labour force status, that is, all people aged 15 and over who during the survey reference period:

      . worked for one hour or more for pay, profit or payment in kind in a job, business, farm or professional practice
      .worked without pay for one hour or more in work which contributed directly to the operation of a farm, business or professional practice operated by a relative
      .had a job or business they were temporarily absent from.

      http://www.stats.govt.nz/methods/classifications-and-standards/classification-related-stats-standards/hours-worked-in-employment/definition.aspx
      Furthermore, as has become increasingly obvious to anyone who is involved in social justice and working with those who for what ever reason find themselves in desperate economic circumstances, many who are entitled to assistance from the government are just opting out as it becomes too difficult and stressful to deal with an abusive WINZ.

      • Andrew 1.1.1

        “We also have around 43,000 more unemployed than when National took office”

        We also have about 100,000 more people in work than when National took office.

        http://nzdotstat.stats.govt.nz/wbos/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=TABLECODE7051

        Edit:

        “when one is counted as being in work if one works for 1 (one) hour or more a week”

        Employed figures have been calculated this way through successive governments. So you could equally argue that the record low levels of unemployment over the last governments tenure were rubbish as well. Not that I’m going to.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1

          Lazy. The household Labour force survey provides information on precisely this topic going back years.

          So you could argue it, only to be confounded by someone who had the minimal time and energy required to dig into the figures a bit further.

          Foolish, no?

          • Andrew 1.1.1.1.1

            No. I was only bringing it up as you only seem to get the “1 hour or more a week” argument now that national is in government. I can’t recall howling of outrage when unemployment was lower about, but, but, 1 hour a week … underemployment …

            Yes underemployment is a thing, and yes it’s bad, but it’s not like it’s a new thing.

            • Macro 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes underemployment is a thing, and yes it’s bad, but it’s not like it’s a new thing.

              Oh! its a new thing for those who were born before 1970. You could argue underemployment was also a feature of the 19th C, but in terms of NZ employment conditions, its is a relatively recent phenomena, and its getting worse as we slip further and further back to employment laws reminiscent of the 19th C.

              • Draco T Bastard

                +1

                The more capitalism we have, the worse off we are.

              • McFlock

                The days when a prime minister claimed he knew the names of the half dozen or so unemployed people in NZ never happened, honest, it’s all a left wing myth. The only way for a society to exist is with tens of thousands unemployed, thousands in prison, and hundreds of thousands in poverty and hardship. That is the nature of things, there is no alternative, yadda yadda invisible hand, and so on

                – the High Priest of Neoliberal Economics and Goatfucking (possibly apocryphal) 🙂

            • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1.1.2

              You get the argument more, perhaps because the phenomenon is more prevalent, as shown in the link.

              The facts will still be there when you’re done howling about it: National’s track record is worse by every measure you care to mention.

        • risildowgtn 1.1.1.2

          The unemployment rate peaked at 10.7 percent in 1992, at 7.7 percent in 1998, and fell to a low of 3.7 percent in 2007.

          As economic growth declined throughout 2008 and the first half of 2009, unemployment rose. The annual rate in 2008 was 4.2 percent, rising to 6.9 percent in 2012 and again falling to 5.8 percent in 2014.

          http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/snapshots-of-nz/nz-progress-indicators/Home/Economic/unemployment-rate.aspx

          so No youre wrong + u r posting shit

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2

      We can’t house the homeless because demographics.

      Of all the callous, gutless, lame excuses in the world…

    • mickysavage 1.3

      Que?

      More people unemployed but less people on a benefit. Normally works the other way around.

    • Brian Smith 1.4

      ‘we also have record levels of employment’… Employment is recorded as anyone working for 1 hour or more per week. Remember that! And remember also that we have record numbers of casual, zero-hours, and part-time jobs. Most of the people in these jobs barely earn enough to live and many of them are better off being unemployed, with an accommodation allowance. Why are people migrating? To flee the growing problems in their own country and add to the growing problem in this country. They also bring their parents who have never worked in this country but still get a pension, a Gold card, and free public health!!! Maybe that’s why more people are lining up to move here…Duhh!!

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    the HLFS–Household Labour Force Survey has its weaknesses as to what actually constitutes ‘work’, but even it has shown for several years now the disparity in numbers between those in receipt of “jobseeker support” and those classed as unemployed

    thousands of kiwis are not getting the support they should be entitled to because a decision has been made to treat WINZ ‘clients’ as hostile, “Catch 22” is a term rather out of favour now but most applicable to the current situation where people needing support deal with case managers who are rewarded for denying them support

    if you treat people like underclass beasts, denying even toilet facilities as some WINZ offices do, making a visit more like going to Serco Mt Eden then that is how some will behave, add in Kafkaesque bureaucratic sadism and something is going to give

    bennie bashing middle class people should take no joy from “glad its not me” because you could be next if you need two incomes for the mortgage–if one partner in a couple say is made jobless they are not entitled to jobseeker support–who you sleep with still decides eligibility, stiff abatement rates need abolishing too, so bring on a UBI and put this divisive department out of its misery for good

  3. mac1 3

    “Building a Benighted Future.”

    A future of pitiful and contemptible intellectual and moral ignorance.

    “Building a Beknighted Future.”

    A future built for us by people speaking with royal authority. /sarc

    Both very true of this honorific-centred PM and government.

    A future based on emotional response, greed and social irresponsibility.

    Today, before this post, I heard in the news of a knife-wielding man robbing a shop, and my thought went immediately to the possibility that this form of desperation might be the sort driven by poverty, lack of opportunity and the denial of the Kiwi way of life, both spiritually and financially.

    • Tricledrown 3.1

      Has anyone noticed the increased number of beggars and buskers.
      Making it harder to access benefits is cresting more desperate people(customers Bennett speak formerly clients Shipley speak)
      Now with a massive loss in Dairy jobs around 30% of Dairy workers expected to loose their jobs,then farm service sector jobs then rural service sector jobs.
      This govts laissez faire approach to the economy is coming home to roost.
      The bullying approach by WINZ is going to exasperate the way clients /customers/people deal with them.
      Under nationals sinking lid policy no extra staff will be needed so a bigger backlog will form more frustrations occure.

      • Clemgeopin 3.1.1

        “Has anyone noticed the increased number of beggars and buskers”

        Wealthy people living in their massive mansions or gating communities are shielded from all that,

      • mpledger 3.1.2

        This morning there was a homeless man on Lambton Quay with a sign “Stopping friends from voting National – Legend”. I had to laugh.

  4. maui 4

    Harrowing. This is what happens when we have pyschopaths running the country and it being passed off as how you run a society.

    There was also that report the other day that 305,000 kiwi kids are now in poverty. Up from the 275,000 or whatever it was previously. This Government has and will continue to make things worse, a lot worse.

  5. New Zealander 5

    You know you think you can’t be shocked but pregnant women being homeless. This is disgusting.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    Last September, Ashburton Work and Income staff members Peg Noble and Leigh Cleveland were killed and another was injured when they were shot at their workplace.

    A 49-year-old man, Russell John Tully, is facing charges.

    The last time I recall someone getting killed in a WINZ office was under the last National government in the 1990s and it was for the same reason – the person wasn’t being helped as he needed. This, of course, brings up the old saw about insanity:

    Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

    National are insane and probably psychopathic.

    • Mike the Savage One 6.1

      No they are just cold blooded, calculating bean counting accountants and free market ideologues, who believe that all is better left to be resolved by “market forces”. Getting the state out of welfare, and expecting the public servant foot soldiers to do the coal face tasks, that is where they are simply the cold-hearted, “firm” manager, wanting to get the job done. I grant them they actually believe most of what they preach, but that does not make it any little bit more acceptable or excusable.

      As for Tully, they seem to be doing all to deny him justice, by dragging the case out endlessly, the trial was meant to begin in May, then July, and now they are talking about the end of the year. That is disgusting, totally disgusting, how they even interfere into the judiciary.

      Nats are crims in suit and tie, with a grin on their face, while they hold the whip or stick behind their back.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        No they are just cold blooded, calculating bean counting accountants and free market ideologues, who believe that all is better left to be resolved by “market forces”.

        Yeah, that’s what I said 😛

  7. Clemgeopin 7

    ” He believed the number of pregnant women sleeping rough in Auckland had trebled in the past 18 months.

    “There are places that will take in pregnant women in an emergency who are otherwise homeless, but a lot of women either…don’t know about it, or…can’t get there, and some of these places are just full.

    Reducing beneficiary numbers at the same time as homelessness and desperation is increasing shows that something is terribly wrong”

    That is heart breaking and deeply distressing.

    I think EVERY MP from EVERY PARTY should immediately use their collecting wisdom and serious effort to solve this shocking state of affairs now. That is why they have been elected as the representatives of the people. If they are not up to the task, they should resign now.

    • Olwyn 7.1

      I think EVERY MP from EVERY PARTY should immediately use their collecting wisdom and serious effort to solve this shocking state of affairs now. That is why they have been elected as the representatives of the people. If they are not up to the task, they should resign now.

      I wholeheartedly agree. However, I can’t help wondering about the force behind this attitude. For instance, is “reducing dependency” an orthodoxy we are obliged to uphold in order to stay in the “club”? If so, how far are we willing to go before decency demands that we break ranks with the club? It looks to me as if decency should have demanded that long ago, but instead we have Paula Bennett, mooted as a future National Party leader, regularly wheeling out reasons for indifference, with a smug insider’s expression on her face.

  8. Ad 8

    What is particularly frustrating is that the story this afternoon is not about the actual unemployment numbers, but about the ANZ survey of business employment confidence, and an increase in job adverts of .1%.

    These are simply commercially cherry-picked stats, limited to ANZ clients, measuring how good or bad employers feel rather than anything concrete, and bears no reality to actual people losing their jobs, trying to get work, grinding through the wreckage of a social welfare system, and otherwise not being a privileged ANZ business leader client represented on the news by an ANZ-paid economist.

    Complete misdirected joke.

  9. Kay 9

    I’m not an angry or violent person. And I’ve had to deal with WINZ for 25 years (Invalids and can’t change my situation). Until 6 years ago when the “reforms” started and the constant financial stress got even worse – until recently it was actually reasonably manageable on Invalids but not now- dealing with WINZ was pretty routine, and it helped seeing the same person each time.

    But now- following the massive panic attacks before even getting into the office- I find myself going on the defensive right away, trying to justify my existence. And without realising it I’m getting louder and louder, shouting and screaming, then sobbing. I’ve had a security guard heading my way on more than one occassion, and I’ve had to walk out several times before I blow my stack completely. On top of that the stress now aggravates my medical condition so badly it’s potentially life-threatening for me to go anywhere near a WINZ office.

    So while they can’t sanction my core benefit (no work obligations) I’m missing out on some extras that Im’, entitled to because it’s too dangerous for me to do the paperwork and deal with them.

    I head some of this on RNZ this morning, and first thought after “this doesn’t surprise me in the least” was great- another beneficiary bashing story press released to distract from all the Govts present messes. Nothing changes.

    • Macro 9.1

      Good God Kay that is a shocking story and situation for you. Thank you for your comment here – it helps to bring some reality to the otherwise esoteric discussion that we tend to indulge in here.
      Kia Kaha

      • greywarshark 9.1.1

        If anyone didn’t understand why many of us were giving it in heaps to Labour for their bloody mindedness in not talking to Greens, not following every possible legal step to get into a winnable position, then Kay’s story illustrates the reasons. We knew that things could only get worse with another three years of Notional. It was unbelievable that they were waiting to see how voters would place Labour BEFORE they would act and talk with their fellow travellers.

        It is very sad to see NZ go down this cruel poverty-inducing road. The smooth smiling faces of pollies determined to stay in power, the only thing they care about. The traitors to our country’s legacy to the people, and to democracy, helped by the quislings who vote for them.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.1

          It was unbelievable that they were waiting to see how voters would place Labour BEFORE they would act and talk with their fellow travellers.

          Competition is expensive. Wonder how long before Labour actually realise that.

    • tc 9.2

      I really feel for you Kay they tried the similar processes on my mother, a great way to treat someone who’s paid tax all their life.

      If we weren’t around to support and expend many hours supplying documented evidence (which they already had) and getting the same medical folk to re-write the same letters it wouldn’t have been resolved.

      We sorted it relatively quickly because we were ready for their games as national always does this, it’s as predictable as night following day and indicative of the nastiness in treating members of society whilst they throw many many millions at corporate welfare.

    • Augustus 9.3

      We are in a similar situation to you, Kay, with 2 disabled people in the family. For me, the most hideous part of all National’s rules is the “discretion” awarded to case workers. They have these draconian regulations, from which your individual case worker can deviate if s/he so deigns. In my case, that usually means they won’t, because I can’t bring myself to be nice to them.
      Entitlements should be entitlements and written down as such, not discretionary help depending on which foot your particular mini-fascist got up that day.

  10. Clemgeopin 10

    An example of the plight of the homeless :

    Lewis Stanton, also known as Hone Ma Heke, was attacked with a solvent as he was sleeping in the entranceway to the Nelson City Council offices, on the corner of Halifax and Trafalgar streets, about 6:45am on Wednesday.

    He received solvent burns to his lips, mouth and throat and stayed in Nelson Hospital overnight.

    Police have been reviewing CCTV footage of what they described as a “cowardly attack”

    Stanton said he saw a person wearing a red jersey running away from him following the attack.

    He was discharged from hospital on Thursday and said he had a safe place to stay for a few days while he recovered.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/71295652/police-release-cctv-image-following-chemical-attack-on-lewis-stanton

    Recently I read about building owners installing water sprinklers to deter the homeless from sleeping in front of their buildings.

    New Zealand is fast descending into third world conditions. But hey, no worries. We can vote on a new flag soon.

    • Wensleydale 10.1

      Check out photos from the UK, where they actually embed spikes into the pavement outside shops to prevent homeless people from sleeping there. It’s draconian in every sense of the word.

      • Clemgeopin 10.1.1

        If only these businesses, the corporates and other wealthy bastards would build some decent night shelters for the poor and homeless as a small service back to society for the exploitation and huge profits they make from society in the first place! That wouldn’t break their bank, would it! May be they could afford to even offer the poor homeless a bowl of soup and a few slices of bread if there is a little kindness in their hearts.

        The arse holes do not think twice about buying a private jet plane for themselves at the drop of a hat!

  11. Mike the Savage One 11

    “Anthony Robins wrote this in January of this year and it is clear that his analysis is increasingly true.”

    Also quoted from above:

    “What we do know for sure is that National have created an environment for beneficiaries that is so nasty and so distorted, that doctors are being advised to consider welfare a “debilitating drug“. Make a system punitive enough and of course the numbers using it fall.”

    Yes, and then they go on about supposed “evidence based” findings and approaches, repeated like some mantra for solving all health, disability and social ills, promoted by MSD’s infamous ‘Principal Health Advisor’, who gets backing despite of misleading claims in his many presentations and media comments. WORK is the salvation for all, and “cures” sickness and helps living with disability, that is for most, we heard.

    It is always astonishing and disturbing, how the MSM is limping behind of what others have found out long ago, but that just proves how low the journalistic profession has sunk, certainly when it comes to investigating, seeking OIA information and reporting on social security matters.

    Here is stuff that was available LONG ago:
    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/

    Here is how they discretely changed the Medical Appeal Board hearing process:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/the-medical-appeal-board-how-msd-and-winz-have-secretely-changed-the-process-disadvantaging-beneficiaries/

    And this post reveals that much of the supposed “evidence” is at best inconclusive, if that, yes much is based on hand-picked data from reports that do not quite deliver the medical scientific “evidence” that is so often talked about:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/msd-and-dr-david-bratt-present-misleading-evidence-claiming-worklessness-causes-poor-health/

    An OIA response hiding more than answering to a request:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/msd-o-i-a-rqst-re-dr-bratt-presentations-contacts-anon-16-01-reply-by-ce-27-02-14.pdf

    A follow up response after the not really all that helpful Ombudsman was involved:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/msd-o-i-a-rqst-re-dr-bratt-presentations-contacts-anon-16-01-further-reply-12-11-14.pdf

    And a not that more helpful provisional decision by Ombudsman Paterson, who then send a final decision that was just “bizarre”:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/ombudsman-complaint-o-i-a-to-msd-dr-bratt-publ-int-prov-dec-compl-hilit-22-05-15.pdf

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/ombudsman-complaint-msd-o-i-a-rqst-16-01-14-dr-bratt-presentation-info-hilit-dec-23-06-15.pdf

    Read the whole background and some revealing correspondence and details under this link (again):
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/msd-and-dr-david-bratt-present-misleading-evidence-claiming-worklessness-causes-poor-health/

    (All from a reliable, trusted source!)

  12. linda 12

    its deliberate and despicable whats happening but assault and murders will continue
    it you push people so far its logical that there will be a negative reaction i just wish the anger was directed at the right people key ,benett and the gang

  13. Smilin 13

    I heard from a reputable public source that in Keys days as a derivatives seller it was an environment of about 2 hours work a day to sell their crooked deals for about 60gs per million dollars return to them of their worthless junk
    Can their be some sort of regulation that can kept these people from corrupting our democracy
    And what right other than conning ignorant voters do they have to expect us to believe any of what they say or do in governing this country
    Their rockstar economy is nothing more than a junkies body shot full of holes

  14. millsy 14

    If a pregnant woman cannot get a roof over her head, then what hope is there for the rest of us?

    Really.

  15. Glenn 15

    There are a lot of unemployed who never appear in the statistics.
    For instance there are a quite a number of over 60s who are living on diminishing capital and savings to get through to the super.
    Too old to find anything in the way of jobs, often not in good health but not sick enough to be considered for sickness benefits and not willing after a lifetime of work to put up with the shenanigans of WINZ these folk just struggle on until the magical age of 65 (that’s if they survive that long).
    Not recorded and in no statistics they are right where the government wants them.

  16. Mike the Savage One 16

    While people hear are very “politically minded” and want a progressive change, I fear some still fail to understand the damned seriousness of what is going on in this country.

    Further to my comments above (see 11 and 11.1), I have today been informed by that OIA requester, that a letter from the Ombudsman was now received. Believe it or not, they simply are REFUSING to investigate the deletion of numerous emails that MSD’s Principal Health Advisor exchanged with a leading advisor to MSD and the government on the recent, draconian welfare reforms!

    These were ALL deleted, as “many of them were private”, was the earlier OIA information they gave in response, thus “excusing” that the records were not held. And the Ombudsman commented in his last response, they could not assess records and their types when they would not exist.

    Now they advise, they will not conduct an investigation under the Ombudsman Act, as prior to that the matter should be raised with MSD. Also they claim, due to the lack of resources, they will not accept any further complaints from the complainant.

    So that is how far we have got, the government holds the key to funding the Ombudsman, so the Ombudsman has no resources to deal with many received complaints. Hence the Ombudsman throws out complaints, saying they have no resources to investigate more.

    In other countries this may be called something close to corrupt practices, in New Zealand it is “acceptable” and is called “lack of resources”.

    So is this not coming close to silencing those applying independent scrutiny and dissent, just as they do in dictatorships?!

    What a “brighter future”, when will more people wake up?

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