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Know your Nat: Judith Collins

Written By: - Date published: 3:36 pm, April 30th, 2008 - 45 comments
Categories: families, same old national - Tags: , ,

If National were the Government, Judith Collins would be Social Services Minister. That should be enough to send shudders down the spine of anyone who is worried about ensuring there is a safety net for the most vulnerable members of our society. Collins is rabidly anti the welfare state and a nasty piece of work. Whereas her predecessor as National’s Welfare spokesperson, Katherine Rich said ‘I’m not your DPB-bashing sort of person most of the people I meet on the DPB are pretty motivated people who have the same dreams and aspirations as the rest of us. Beneficiary bashing is a most unsatisfactory practice. It doesn’t really take you anywhere’, Collins agrees with Key who spoke of women ‘breeding for a business’

Collins’ latest attack on our most vulnerable citizens, ‘Labour gives up on long-term jobless‘, claims 60,000 people have been getting benefits for being ‘jobless’ for more than ten years. She’s being deceptive and she knows it. Yes, 60,000 people, 2.3% of adults, have been getting benefits for 10 or more years. But 38,000 of them are invalids that is, they have an ongoing physical or mental disability that prevents them from being part of the workforce. Of the rest, 16,000 are parents raising kids on the DPB, that’s not a task that’s over within a couple of years. 5,000 have a long-term sickness. Only 1,000 are on the unemployment benefit, and less than 300 have been on the unemployment benefit for the whole 10 years [data here].

What Collins doesn’t want you to know, because it wrecks her anti-welfare state argument, is that the number of long-term beneficiaries is decreasing rapidly (down 20% since December 2003).


A day after a report reveals that the only children left living in poverty in New Zealand are in beneficiary households and the Minister says we should aim to eliminate child poverty, all National can come up with is more hollow beneficiary bashing. Pathetic.

45 comments on “Know your Nat: Judith Collins ”

  1. roger nome 1

    “A day after a report reveals that the only children left living in poverty in New Zealand in beneficiary households and the Minister says we should aim to eliminate child poverty, all National can come up with is more hollow beneficiary bashing. Pathetic.”

    When I point these things out at kiwiblog all I get is the totally irrational slogan “welfare causes poverty”. Of course no facts are ever presented in support of the argument, it’s merely backed up with more welfare dependency rhetoric.

    Following this I usually direct them to some OECD research papers, showing that lack of welfare/income inequality creates a poverty trap, with low levels of social mobility.

    See the graph on page 46 of the following report:

    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/27/28/38335410.pdf

  2. mike 2

    Youre not talking about the underclass that dear leader said didn’t exist are you?

  3. r0b 3

    Youre not talking about the underclass that dear leader said didn’t exist are you

    Interesting Mike, would you mind pointing me to the quote where HC makes such a claim? Thanks.

  4. roger nome 4

    Mike:

    Yes, an underclass exists, but is shrinking with Labour’s policies (working for families, increasing minimum wage, cheaper doctors visits, cheaper day care and lower unemployment).

    Yes, the problem will be made worse by cutting benefits (what Collins seems to want).

  5. Ben R 5

    It’s great that unemployment has dropped & overall long term beneficiaries is decreasing, but the DPB figures are surprising.

    16,000 are parents raising kids on the DPB” for over 10 years? Surely they’re abusing that benefit? It seems they’re using it as a long term way to fund having a large family, something others don’t have the luxury of doing.

    Also between 2003 and 2008 those receiving an invalid’s benefit numbers have increased by 14,000, while sickness beneficiaries have increased by about 8,000. When I was duty solicitor it surprised me the number of people who seemed able bodied enough to commit various offences, but who were on invalid’s or sickness benefits. Why has the number on these gone up so much?

  6. Daveo 6

    Ben R – if you think life on the DPB is a luxury you truly have no idea.

  7. mike 7

    “Yes, an underclass exists, but is shrinking with Labour’s policies”

    More likely that as real after tax incomes continue to fall under Cullens watch (bracket creep/inflation) the underclass is absorbing more of the middle class. Soon we will all be dependant on the state and Labour will be happy campers.

  8. r0b 8

    Why has the number on these gone up so much?

    I’m not an expert, but my understanding is that it is partly to do with NZ’s growing population and ageing demographic. I recall also reading somewhere that there was an increase in the number of obesity related issues appearing in these benefits. Someone better informed than I may have more to say on this…

  9. Steve Pierson 9

    Ben R. You really have to look deeper into the figures. you can’t just assume that because some has been on a benefit for a long time that they are abusing it. You have no evidence that they are having larger families than others.

    Bare in mind that only 16% of DPB beneficaires have been on benefits longer than ten years. Also, those figures are for people now on the DPB who have been continously on any benefit for 10 years – many of them would have previously been on the invalid’s benefit and were moved to DPB when they had kids.

    the number of invalid’s and sickness beneficiaries are increasing because our population is aging – you have more people that are still of working age but are more likely to have developed a health condition that means they can no longer work.

  10. r0b 10

    So mike – re your post of 4:26, do you have a source for that claim please?

  11. roger nome 11

    Ben R:

    “When I was duty solicitor it surprised me the number of people who seemed able bodied enough to commit various offences, but who were on invalid’s or sickness benefits”

    Would you also be surprised to find out that there’s a correlation between criminality and various mental illnesses?

    “16,000 are parents raising kids on the DPB’ for over 10 years? Surely they’re abusing that benefit? It seems they’re using it as a long term way to fund having a large family, something others don’t have the luxury of doing.”

    So you want kids to be growing up in poverty with all the associated consequences – i.e. increased likelihood of behavioral, educational and criminal problems and the subsequent poverty trap. Or didn’t you look at the link that I supplied?

    Mike:

    “More likely that as real after tax incomes continue to fall under Cullens watch (bracket creep/inflation) the underclass is absorbing more of the middle class.”

    “median personal income” in New Zealand rose at an average rate of 1.4% during the decade of 1991-2001 (roughly National’s time in power) and 3.26% during the period of 2001-2006 (roughly Labour’s time in power so far).

    http://rogernome.blogspot.com/2007/10/median-personal-income-over-time.html

  12. Pete 12

    Ben R –

    Due to recognition of a number of conditions and illnesses, previously not considered factors in determining whether someone qualifies, the number of people on invalid’s benefit has risen. This is in line with international research, you can do an internet search for this if you care enough to.

    Mike –

    It’s always preferable to debate the facts, not the political rhetoric devised to garner support. Robust debate is better than finger pointing, especially when it’s off on such a tangent. Just a thought

  13. James Kearney 13

    Disgraceful behaviour from Judith Collins but sadly expected. National’s ‘New Zealand Sucks’ campaign strikes again.

  14. Matthew Pilott 14

    Soon we will all be dependant on the state and Labour will be happy campers.

    Na Pete, mike has it all wrapped up. y’see, when we’re all on benefits, we’ll all vote Labour, according to the RWNJ lobby. The money from benefits will come from… underpants! Step one – we collect underpants; enact step two, and step three is profit. An author from The Standard covered it on a post a few months back. Or wait – was that John Key’s productivity/tax cut schtick?

  15. roger nome 16

    Ben R-

    “Due to recognition of a number of conditions and illnesses, previously not considered factors in determining whether someone qualifies, the number of people on invalid’s benefit has risen. This is in line with international research, you can do an internet search for this if you care enough to.”

    I’ll take your word on that. But why is it a bad thing to provide a basic minimum quality of life for those who are unable to fend for themselves? From memory this spending accounts for about 2-4% of government spending. Now you can say that it isn’t worth it, but my instinct is the most New Zealander’s would think you cold-hearted.

  16. higherstandard 17

    To quote Collin’s

    “If you don’t collect the data, if you don’t know who these people are, how can you help them? Is Labour giving up?”

    “With low unemployment, the time was never better to start targeting those long term beneficiaries and helping them into paid work or training.”

    Just how is that “Hollow beneficiary bashing” ?

  17. Ben R 18

    “Would you also be surprised to find out that there’s a correlation between criminality and various mental illnesses?”

    No, and certainly in some cases people did have serious mental illnesses, while others needed drug/alcohol counselling. I just am curious as to why the number has increased so much over the past 5 years. It may well be that an ageing population explains part of it, I concede that I have just skimmed over it.

    “So you want kids to be growing up in poverty with all the associated consequences – i.e. increased likelihood of behavioral, educational and criminal problems and the subsequent poverty trap. Or didn’t you look at the link that I supplied?”

    Interesting report (will try to read more of it later), I’d actually read some of Herb Gintis’ stuff before in a book called “Origins of Wealth”. I know that growing up in poverty has many unfortunate consequences. I’m not saying scrap the DPB. I’m saying that once on it, people should try to use contraception so they don’t stay on it indefinitely. I thought it was introduced to support vulnarable people who already had dependent children.

  18. Lyn 19

    Ben R – let’s say you were a cleaner by trade with three children under five. Your marriage dissolves and you become sole parent for most of the time. Your parents live in another country, and your partner is effectively not able to help you financially.

    After five years all the children are in school, but the money that you would get from going back to commercial cleaning is very similar to what it would cost for childcare to cover the evenings when you’d have to be in paid work and so you don’t go back to work.

    After 10 years the youngest is still in primary school and the oldest still isn’t old enough to legally babysit, and in any case you want the best for your kids so even when the oldest hits 14 you try and encourage them to keep going to afterschool sports rather than babysitting their siblings. Like a good friend of mine you head to polytech with the government’s blessing and study part-time around your children’s schedules, knowing that when the time comes you’ll be better placed to get work.

    After 14 years all the kids are legally able to be left unattended, but they benefit from supervision and care from a parent who isn’t exhausted and has the time to cook meals from scratch and maintain a reasonable relationship with them. After 15 years the youngest has got their first NCEA and doesn’t look like they’ll be ending up in trouble and you finally are able to breathe a sigh of relief after keeping it together alone all these years and get a day-job to help your oldest pay their university fees.

    This is not to say that all those on the DPB are in a similar position, but merely to sketch out a possible timeline in which 10 years on the DPB is a responsible and reasonable thing to do and which doesn’t involve promiscuity or bludging. One of the reasons we have this benefit is because the state recognises that making more citizens is a really important job, and there are inevitably reasons why a sole parent might not be able to work and parent at the same time.

  19. Policy Parrot 20

    I’ve previously posted over on NewZblog about what I think Judith Collins as a Minister would be like.

    Dawns raids for beneficiaries – to be dragged out and put to work on chain gains digging ditches, picking up rubbish, and cleaning up graffiti.

    Surely this type of work would be more appropriate to those sentenced to periodic detention – which, I’m sure Collins wouldn’t object to.

    Essentially, she is equating beneficiaries – many of whom through misfortune struggle to survive on a state-funded stipend, with small time criminals.

  20. randal 21

    nah she just loves beating up on people who cant fight back…typical of tory women…dominance for pleasure, extortion for profit.

  21. higherstandard 22

    And what’s typical of the women on the political left then Randal ?

  22. Hillary 23

    Lyn, I agree with you re a possible scenario for being on the the DPB long term, except about keeping kids in afterschool activities. On the pittance that the DPB is paid at, I suspect sole parents would be lucky to be able to afford them.

    Shame on people who are so grudging about supporting sole parents. What about the much larger slice of Government spending that goes on paying a universal entitlemnet of Government Super – including to Bob Jones and other millionaires over the age of 65? I bet Judith Collins doesn’t have a problem with that.

  23. Lyn 24

    Agreed – my friend has one child and good family support so that made it much easier for her.

  24. stargazer 25

    well i saw ms collins at the launch of the “left behind” report on wednesday night. i can’t believe she sat through that presentation and was so unmoved as to respond in this way. the main point of the presentation was that it wasn’t enough just to get beneficiaries into work. improving child poverty means increasing the level of the benefit. it seems that none of that sunk in at all.

  25. Dave 26

    Firstly most of the 38,000 invalids should be on the sickness bnefit, and some on the dole, like the friend of mine who got a highpaying job after two years on the invalids benefit studying for a PhD. If invalids are so invalid, why are there so many being transferred FROM invalids to unemployment and then back to sickness?

    I know for a fact that if you are on a benfit for 10 years you are shunted onto the sickness benefit if at all possible. Thats why less than 300 have been on a benefit for 10 years.

    Bare in mind that only 16% of DPB beneficaires have been on benefits longer than ten years. And the rest that have been on a thedpb benefit longer than 10 years had breaks when their cycle was started again. If you keep up this rhetoric I`ll set Lindsay Mitchell onto you to sort you out.

  26. Draco TB 27

    we will all be dependant on the state

    We’re all dependent upon the state and society anyway so what’s your point?

  27. Draco TB 28

    I know for a fact that if you are on a benfit for 10 years you are shunted onto the sickness benefit if at all possible.

    Got proof?

  28. Felix 29

    I know for a fact that he fucks pigs.

  29. Ben R 30

    “One of the reasons we have this benefit is because the state recognises that making more citizens is a really important job, and there are inevitably reasons why a sole parent might not be able to work and parent at the same time.”

    Yes, I think most people support it for that reason. But, once receiving it don’t you think there’s some responsibility to use contraception so you don’t stay on it indefinitely? Many people delay having children until their 30’s because they can’t afford them. I think it irks them that others have several while receiving a benefit.

  30. Hillary 31

    Ben R, where is the evidence that people on the dpb are having furter children while they are on it, and are not using contraception?

    There are no doubt some people who rip off the welfare system, just as there are some people who rip off the tax system or cheat the share market by insider trading or rip off their employees by not paying them properly or not providing them with a safe work environment.

    Not sure what Felix was adding with his comment about pigs. Atleast Robinsod is funny when he is being obnoxious.

  31. Lyn 32

    Ben R – the example I gave was an indication of how a person could be on the DPB for 10 years, never have sex in that time, never get pregnant and still qualify for the benefit. I’m always wary of arguments about people getting pregnant in order to get more money because it’s so complex. Mostly I’d ask – how many of them are there actually? Why do they think this way? What real opportunities do they perceive they have? What real opportunities do they actually have? How much control do they have in real terms over their contraception? It’s impossible to know these things and the assumptions are just tarring everyone with that bludger brush.

  32. Steve Pierson 33

    Ben R. Can you see how small those numbers are?

    Even if (IF) there are some people abusing the system the numbers using it are very small, the cost is small, and any absue must be even smaller. And the DPB makes sure that children have some money to support them to give them a chance in life. It also allows women in desperate circumstances the opportuntiy to leave abusive relationships.

    Because some mythical abuse of the system that you just assume exists you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. That’s just dumb.

  33. Ben R 34

    Lyn,

    I agree it’s more complex than people simply getting pregnant on purpose. You mention that they may not have much control in real terms over using contraception. That’s part of my point, as a corollary of expecting people to use contraception it should be more easily accessible. Getting contraception can be embarrassing.

    As for how many, I have no idea. I do know though that if you work in family law (or with social workers) you will see many people on the dpb who keep having children. Like you say, I doubt it’s motivated by money & they often have few opportunities.

    Steve,

    Where have I suggested scrapping the DPB? If you read what I said above, you’ll see I agree that it is necessary for women who are financially vulnerable. I’m suggesting that once on the DPB people should try to use contraception so they don’t have to stay on it indefinitely.

  34. Ari 35

    Ben R- if we want people on the DPB to be using contraception more regularly, we should be making it easier for them to get access to it, and making sure that everyone gets good sexual education that covers using many different types of contraception. This is clearly a case where carrot is far more likely to be effective than stick, especially any “stick” policies regarding welfare tend to throw the baby out with the bathwater by denying welfare to people who really need it if they’re to have a positive effect on society.

  35. Ben R 36

    Ari,

    I agree.

  36. Lyn 37

    Ben R – I’d say that contraception isn’t just embarrassing – it’s expensive. It can require a visit to the doctor and even a box of 12 condoms from the chemist can cost over $10. From my days as a beneficiary I remember when that was a lot of money.

    As you and Ari agree, education is very probably the key – the world over, women are less fertile the more educated they are. Education is empowering, it opens up choices and probably makes women better able to access contraception and (dare I say it) discern men who are likely to knock them up and leave. It does – after all – take two.

  37. Takes two Lyn, but men do all the paying. Ask Judith C about the child support deadbeat dad club.

  38. When I was duty solicitor it surprised me the number of people who seemed able bodied enough to commit various offences, but who were on invalid’s or sickness benefits.

    Doesn’t surprise me any. Back when I was a munter, I knew a cunt who parlayed a minor injury on his job with the railways into a sickness benefit. He was a fucking scary prick and if I’d been his doctor I probably would have signed the papers too. Presumably he wasn’t the only one to think of it.

  39. AncientGeek 40

    Lyn: Well there is always celibacy – the ultimate contraception technique. Of course there isn’t a lot of fun in that.

    Seriously though. I remember living with my little sister when she was on the DPB with two small kids. Having my income around was a great help with the shared expenses. Even so, she had to scratch around to try and make basic expenses meet. Minor luxuries were definitely for the uncles domain.

  40. Lyn 41

    AG – I reckon – and this is just me – that ideally as a society we should be paying out enough for someone on the DPB to raise kids who can participate fully in things like afterschool activities and camps and painting class or whatever and thus imagine a future where interesting things happen – and there should be at least a teeny bit of money in that for happy things for mum like a sex-life without fear of accidental conception. Parenting is really really important.

  41. AncientGeek 42

    I completely agree. From what I saw living on the DPB was no lap of luxury. I’d describe it at that time as being very close to the edge. Watching my sister agonizing between buying the kids shoes or getting safer tires wasn’t any fun. I’d hate to see someone do it without having a supportive family.

    In the end what the critics of the DPB seem to deliberately misunderstand is that it is paid to help bring up the children. For some reason they seem to think that it is done for the parents benefit.

  42. Lyn 43

    AG – that sounds really pretty painful. Agreed on all counts.

  43. Sa Paulo 44

    Gosh the woman is truly terrifying isn’t she? Judy that is.

    As for contraception you can get it free from Family planning yeh? And you can get anonymous private apointments and that kind of stuff?

    If you add up Judith Collins, Allan Peachey and the others who have sidled into this front beach you are looking at benefit cuts, vindictive and irational anti-welfarism, a return to bulk funding and attempts to crush the ppta and inject managerialism back into high schools. And if you have a long memory on John Key (the proposed finance minister of an incredibly right wing Brash party) you are looking at individual contracts, asset sales and ham fisted foreign policy. Particularly something as important as Iraq.

    This is not the friendly National party even with bovver Bill in the 2IC.

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