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Labour and the Greens on welfare

Written By: - Date published: 10:48 am, May 27th, 2020 - 79 comments
Categories: benefits, greens, labour, marama davidson, poverty, welfare - Tags:

Marama Davidson on RNZ,

The Greens have accused Labour of breaking a core promise to overhaul the welfare system, a commitment made in 2017 during negotiations to form a government.

Full-time workers can apply for $490 a week – roughly double the regular Jobseeker Support.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson told RNZ the new offering was a “very clear” admission that base benefit rates were not enough to live on.

“Everybody should be able to access the support, regardless of whether they are recently unemployed or longer-term unemployed.”

Davidson said she had heard the frustration of beneficiaries who felt they had been deemed the “undeserving poor” by the latest move.

The Greens had pushed for all benefits to be increased to the new Covid-19 level, she said, but had so far been unsuccessful in getting that over the line.

“We’ve been consistently clear that this needs to happen urgently and desperately. It hasn’t happened yet, but we won’t give up,” Davidson said.

“Both New Zealand First and Labour need to come to the table on this.”

You know what would change all this? The Greens having enough of the party vote in September so that they can make welfare a bottom line for a coalition agreement*, including Davidson holding the Social Development portfolio. Carmel Sepuloni and Labour appear wedded to a neoliberal view of welfare as a necessary evil that paid jobs will solve, rather than social security being the basis of dignity and fairness, kindness and wellbeing for all of society. It’s very clear now that despite occasional, vague hints at change Labour have no intention of mending WINZ or welfare generally, so let’s put people in charge that will.

For those that still think the Greens don’t have anything to bring to the table, have a read of their new Income Support policy (ratified February 2020). Not just the synopsis page, but click through to the full policy (PDF). It’s not perfect, but this is the solid framework for redesigning welfare that both centres people and is fit for going into an uncertain future.

* The Green Party kaupapa is that social justice and the environment go hand in hand, it’s not an either/or.

79 comments on “Labour and the Greens on welfare ”

  1. That_guy 1

    Clicks "Submit" on "Application to Candidate pool for the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand"

  2. perhaps one day we will have a Parliament where the Greens and Mana are the major "left" parties and Labour is seen as "establishment" or "right".

    let's shunt the Overton window more to the Left; For the many, not just the few

    (NZF/ACT gone, Nats hovering around 5%)

  3. bill 3

    I can't share in your apparent faith of the Green Party. While some Greens might be making the right noises, the party's leadership played a major part in throwing Metiria under the proverbial bus when she called a spade a spade with regards NZ's welfare system.

    Shaw has essentially driven the Green Party up the liberal backside of NZ Labour, and I suspect those Greens within parliament still talking to welfare are being tolerated much more than being encouraged or helped by their colleagues.

    My vote's up for grabs, and any party is free to make their case as to why they deserve it.

    • KJT 3.1

      Bill. You are underrating James.

      And the push from within the membership and MP’s for a revamped welfare system.

      Many of us, well off people, in the Greens, a very aware of how unfair the current system is, and have been pushing for improvement for decades, now.

      An effective leader is not always the one who makes a lot of noise.

      In fact choosing the noisy males as leaders, is why we often have such poor, male leadership.

      And think you are failing to understand, how the roles are split amongst the Green MP’s.

      • bill 3.1.1

        I may or may not be getting the wrong end of the stick when it comes to Shaw (obviously I believe I've got it about right)

        As for where members of the Green Party stand on social justice, and what the parliamentary wing of the party prioritise or compromise on…it's the parliamentary wing and evaluating their actions that matter in terms of where any potential vote I may cast goes.

        I don't have to have any understanding of internal Green Party machinations to figure out whether they're committed to policies that align with me.

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          it is important to understand that they function differently from other parties though. Even within caucus as I understand it.

          Scratching my head how you come to the conclusion that Davidson isn't committed.

          • bill 3.1.1.1.1

            Scratching my head how you come to the conclusion that Davidson isn't committed.

            I didn't question Davidson's level of commitment (or sincerity for that matter).

            • weka 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Do you discount her leadership then? She's co-leader, holds the Green portfolios on Economic Development, Housing, and Māori/Pasifika issues, and is standing in the Māori seat of Tāmaki-Makarau (I'm assuming you understand the significance of that in this discussion).

              Or maybe just say what you are basing this on?

              "I suspect those Greens within parliament still talking to welfare are being tolerated much more than being encouraged or helped by their colleagues"

              • bill

                I'm basing the quoted text on the fact that welfare as a prominent (ie- very public and pushed) plank of policy 'disappeared' with Metiria's demise.

                The rest of your comment comes across as gas-lighting or some such. The only Green Party member I've singled out for mention by name is Shaw.

                • weka

                  You've clearly implied that Green MPs (multiple) aren't supportive of the welfare position.

                  Context then. I explained the post-Turei speech context below. Here's a report of one of Davidson's rallies the week leading up to the 2017 election.

                  https://www.teaomaori.news/green-party-leads-rally-end-poverty

                  After the election Labour locked the Greens out of the welfare portfolios. This isn't rocked science. I'm sure NZF was part of that, as well as Labour. Neither of those parties wants the kind of reform that the Greens have as policy.

                  Nevertheless, there is clear intention from the Greens in their agreement with Labour to pursue welfare reform. They didn't drop it. The following year the party members chose Davidson to be co-leader, during the time that she was working on welfare issues (maybe you missed that?).

                  More recently there's been her work on housing, child poverty and WEAG.

                  I could go on. None of that speaks to a party trying to sideline welfare. I don't know where you are getting your impression from.

                  • bill

                    You've clearly implied that Green MPs (multiple) aren't supportive of the welfare position.

                    I suspect that's the case, yes.

                    And I don't believe Davidson's in that camp.

                    edit – Political parties are comprised of factions. At different points in time, one or another faction will be in the ascendancy.

        • Sacha 3.1.1.2

          what the parliamentary wing of the party prioritise or compromise on

          A realistic view of the power balance within the governing coalition helps when making guesses about that.

          • bill 3.1.1.2.1

            A realistic view of the power balance within the governing coalition helps when making guesses about that.

            Or/and a look at their public statements in light of legislation passed and their platform.

            Or/and a look at how they publicly elevate and relegate aspects of their policy platform.

            • Sacha 3.1.1.2.1.1

              You are acting as if they alone determine what happens between idea and execution in this coalition government. I can't see anything useful to political discourse coming from such a fundamental misconception.

              • bill

                You're comment makes no sense.

                Information in the public sphere, and put out by a political party within a given political context is important and relevant information voters can use to discern what the priorities of a party may or may not be.

                If that's a "fundamental misconception"…then what's to make up peoples' minds? Faith?

                • Sacha

                  I have said all I need to say here. Readers can make up their own minds about who is not making sense.

                • weka

                  Context matters.

                  Parsing what the Greens are saying through an understanding of how the coalition govt works means that we understand why things are being done, not just taking superficial views on the words said out of context.

                  • bill

                    Are you suggesting I have a superficial view or dishonestly take words out of context?

                    If what the Green Party says should be subject to a different interpretative framework that what's applied to other political parties working in the same environment (that's what you're implying), then I guess the Green Party will only ever be capable of messaging to some strange faithful coterie.

                    • weka

                      No, I think your position is honestly held. Sacha pointed out that the context matters. You appeared to say that you work more off the face value of what MPs are saying. If I am wrong about that, happy to be corrected.

                      In this specific instance, the GP, Lab and NZF all need to be understood in the context of how MMP government works generally, and this one in particular.

                      For instance, you say it's the parliamentary wing's actions that matter. They got locked out of the main MSD portfolio, Davidson has no Ministerial position so she is free to speak out against Labour policy, she did so today, and yet here we are arguing over whether they are adequate enough, when they've actually just stepped up again on welfare.

                      You can say she's not doing her job properly, but you can't blame the Green caucus for not holding a portfolio that they had no power to gain.

                      If you believe that the Greens should be prioritising welfare differently, please explain how, the details, taking into account the agreement with Lab, the agreement between Lab and NZF, the need to maintain working relationships with both parties in order to get policy gains, and the limitations of having only 8 MPs, three of whom hold full Ministerial positions (multiple) in other areas.

                      Fwiw, I think critique of their messaging is warranted, but it still needs to be context of real world constraints.

                      I still don't know what you are basing your belief on that the rest of caucus doesn't support Davidson's and Logie's work or the welfare position generally.

                    • bill

                      Sacha pointed out that the context matters

                      Sacha presented a narrow context that I broadened with a few "and/or" s.

                      I haven't critiqued Marama Davidson's stand on welfare. I haven't said 'jack' about Jan Logie either.

                      What Marama Davidson says or doesn't say has to be (surely!) seen in the context of overall Green Party messaging? That messaging will either act to mute, amplify or echo what she or anyone else is saying according to which faction is in the ascendancy and so exerting most influence on that over all messaging.

                    • weka

                      don't know what you mean there. Davidson and Logie are the ones doing the messaging because that is their job. You won't see other MPs speaking out on this much because it's not their job, and some of them are bound by their Ministerial roles. Twitter is where I see more of the off-portfolio stuff, maybe it's on FB too?

                      What MD and Logie have done this week, plus the formal Green Party social media accounts, is the messaging. I still don't get what you are basing your implied idea on. If you are working off face value, then clearly the Greens just stepped up again on welfare in a way that reflects their policy and values.

                      If you are saying there is pressure from the rest of caucus to not be stepping up, then you'd need some evidence to support that. Especially against what party members are saying, the ones that go to meetings and are involved in policy development. I mean I guess it's technically possible that the party went through the long process of policy development and ended up with a policy that some of the MPs are against, but it seems odd to assume that without evidence.

                    • KJT

                      Definitely on Facebook.

                      There a some party only threads, but most is public.

        • Ad 3.1.1.3

          The Greens just got creamed in Cabinet yesterday about the water quality rules.

          More will come out soon on this.

          • Sacha 3.1.1.3.1

            I'm sure they did.

          • bill 3.1.1.3.2

            No doubt there will be a strongly worded response from the Green Party then, that if needs be, condemns in no uncertain terms the back-stepping or whatever of NZF/Labour and unequivocally front foots the principles of the Green Party.

            Or do you think we should expect some squelchy tosh that would suggest losing is winning?

    • weka 3.2

      Shaw stood by Turei and the welfare position throughout the election campaign after Turei's speech.

      The party developed the policy. That's members as well as the exec and caucus. If there wasn't support for that policy it wouldn't be there. Maybe take some time to learn how the party works. Shaw doesn't get to decide what happens, and framing it that he does marginalises Davidson and her work, as well as misrepresentting the way power actually works in the party. It also shits on Turei's legacy. The Greens just stepped up and upheld that legacy.

      But hey, why not write off the party as the white guy in the suit instead of supporting the Māori wahine speaking up for poor people.

      If lefties want a more left wing Green Party, they should vote for them while they still can. The more the Greens are dependent on the mainstream the more they will mainstream. This is the best welfare policy I've seen that has some chance of being enacted and a clear pathway to that. The ball is in our court.

      If you want someone you can culturally relate to, try Ricardo Menéndez March, #10 on the list, that needs close to 9% of the vote.

      • Sacha 3.2.1

        Some people do not realise how firmly their worldview cleaves to a past where leadership meant a lone loud bloke telling everyone else what to do. Takes humility to change.

      • bill 3.2.2

        Shaw stood up and, and instead of doubling down and pushing, he squelched the momentum that had come from Metiria's stand by apologising to "all and sundry" in the immediate aftermath of her resignation.

        Even the journalists present were bemused over who or what he was apologising over.

        And then in stepped Davidson who said/signaled some okay things, but who has not been elevated to the level of or afforded anything like the exposure of Metiria.

        The bottom line is that if I don't vote for the Green Party, it will be because the Green Party has failed to convince me they're worth voting for. Green Party supporters setting out to hector or lecture people for any supposedly "incorrect" way of seeing things certainly won't help the Green Party's cause.

        • That_guy 3.2.2.1

          Davidson is the leader and a real chance to be the only Green to get an electorate seat in Tamaki Makarau. I don't see her as being low profile.

          • bill 3.2.2.1.1

            When media are mentioning the leaders of the Greens or interviewing either of them, my distinct impression is they focus on Shaw and that Davidson has nothing like the media profile Metiria had.

            That's not the same as saying she has a low profile within the party.

            • That_guy 3.2.2.1.1.1

              She's high profile in the media that matters in Tamaki Makarau. Anyway this is all very nice, and we've all expressed our point of view, but if the Greens campaign in 2020 is dominated by talk about Turei in 2017 and not the many achievements of the Greens in government right now, that's just crap and unfair.

        • weka 3.2.2.2

          I'm not here for the Green Party cause, I'm point directly to the best welfare policy on offer at the election. Your argument seems to be that the Green Party 2020 isn't 'something' enough to warrant voting for that policy.

          I think you are conflating the Greens' damage control after the MSM and right wing bashing they got post-Turei's speech, with Shaw somehow not being supportive of her or the welfare position. It's *really clear when you listen to Shaw's own words during that time that he supported both MT and the position. He also had to work with the rest of the Greens to get them back into government, including after the mess created by Graham and Clendon.

          That was straight out pragmatics, but it wasn't throwing Turei under the bus nor ditching the welfare policy. I know you wanted them to double down on what Turei said, but there was a real risk of them not being in parliament at all. No-one can force middle NZ to accept radical welfare reform in the middle of that kind of display of chaos. It would have been disastrous to try.

          But here we are now, they're stepping up on welfare again, because that's always been the plan and this is why Davidson is co-leader. Second chance for us I guess.

        • roblogic 3.2.2.3

          agree about the moral scolding; that's how Bradford got people's backs up, and Golriz is indulging in the same thing over Muller's conscience vote

          • weka 3.2.2.3.1

            People will vote how they want to vote and no party can be all things to all people, nor set their messaging to suit all. I'm less concerned with a good cultural fit for me personally than I am with strategy, direction and policy.

            I think in a political forum like this it's valid to challenge the ideas people bring. There are a number of lefties here who diss the Greens based on feeling. Which is fine, but it's not the basis of good political debate.

    • That_guy 3.3

      My understanding is that Metiria wasn't thrown under the bus, and if there were problems it wasn't because of calling a spade a spade. Nobody disagreed with that bit. It was the tactical stupidity of admitting to fraud while leaving some details out.

      • barry 3.3.1

        It was the stupidity of admitting to fraud while being dark and female.

        • Sacha 3.3.1.1

          Admitting to fraud while being a politician during an election campaign would do.

        • Bg 3.3.1.2

          Has she been charged?has she paid it back?

          Looks like being "dark and female" allowed her to get away Scot free from stealing from the tax payer, not to even her electoral fraud?

          • KJT 3.3.1.2.1

            Just like being "white and male" allowed English to get off Scot free, eh?

            • Herodotus 3.3.1.2.1.1

              What did he get off ?
              Are these MP’s also getting off from a penalty for being white ??
              https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=166277

              There are some extremely shallow who hate white, male, certain faith/belief, for no other reason than fitting into 1 or more of these classifications. Perhaps it is that it is so easy and lazy to place people into cubby holes.

            • Bg 3.3.1.2.1.2

              Double Dipton paid it back. I'm quite sure Meteria hasn't, nor has she apologized.

              I'm not ok with someone ripping off the hard working tax payer, just so they can 'play' student politics and then have the audacity to play the victim.

              • Tricledrown

                Paula Benefit was on the DPB while in a longterm relationship renting her house illegally while getting the mortgage subsidy.She threatened the whistleblower with legal action but never did.The whistle blowers post on YouTube is still available.

  4. I don't discount the state of parts of our public service in much of what's going on in politics since the 80's reforms. It's compounded when there are weak Ministers, or even just Ministers that are probably just too 'nice' when confronted with policy advice that is fundamentally anti-reform/anti-change.

    For example, everything MBIE touches turns to shit as does much of what goes on in MSD .

    As things stand, and as quite an ardent supporter of JA and what she has accomplished, I can't, in all conscience party vote Labour after a lifetime next election unless there is a clear commitment to reform. I'll probably have to opt for Greens hoping Labour support remains high.

    It's become pretty clear some Labour Ministers are either too weak, or too 'nice' to push back against some of the real damage to people MSD/WINZ, MBIE/INZ have been responsible for. And then there's things like Media/Broadcasting/the Public Sphere when there's just constant kicking of the can down the road.

    Dr Geoff Betram did a reasonable summary of the system the other day – and there have been others. As things stand though, kindness and transformation is a bit like pushing shit uphill – and that's no reflection (mostly) against the worker bee public servants, but more about some of their leadership and the cistern they work in

    • weka 4.1

      I think about the public service aspect a fair bit too, but feel like I am blind to the detail. It makes sense to me that the managerial and CEO level are largely on board with neoliberalism and many still to the right of Labour. Which makes things hard especially with NZF's position. I don't know if Sepuloni is weak but I think the welfare position of Labour reflects her own values and ideology.

      • OnceWasTim 4.1.1

        "the managerial and CEO level are largely on board with neoliberalism"

        Except for a few, my experience of it (in and out of it over 40 years) has been exactly that.

        Edit: And in many ways, its probably quite convenient for politicians.

        The other thing is that if you cast your mind back to when the coalition came to power, moving on reform (or at least STARTING on it) could have been possible. Hipkins recognises the need for reform, the Greens I think, and Shane Jones (much as I dislike the guy) was throwing shit around about the state of it.
        Missed opportunity.

    • weka 4.2

      "Dr Geoff Betram did a reasonable summary of the system the other day"

      Looking for this now. Was it in the webinar?

      • OnceWasTim 4.2.1

        Maybe Newsroom?? or Spinoff? But then there are also one or two others up at Vic Uni that have serious concerns about things as they stand.

        I mean to say! Even in the past couple of days we've had INZ being sprung (yet again) over PR trying to get back to NZ (prepared to go into quaratine, pay all expenses, etc.) being rejected out of hand and within 10 minutes of their application.

        And then over a contract for the disabled (the deaf).

        We have what amounts to weasel words about how the use of Thompson and CLark is unacceptable or 'demographic profiling' yet the people responsible for it all are STILL in place.

        And surely Labour politicians are by now aware of what is quite cruel behaviour towards some beneficiaries.

  5. That_guy 5

    Greens have been very good at initiating discussions about steady-state economics, labour representation, and the future direction of the economy. There's Shaw's podcast, Thomas Nash has been running zoom town halls, they got some very credible speakers and I found the standard of discussion to be excellent. So they have lots of ideas and intellectual activity going on. Never seen anyone from the National party talking about this kind of thing, ever.

    • weka 5.1

      I caught one of the Town Hall meetings, that was really good. Hard to keep up with them, I suspect they're not even on the radar for many people (maybe there's more connection with the FB crowd).

      Have bookmarked Shaw's podcast to listen to today.

  6. KJT 6

    I had a think about the framing.

    Robertson, that "it is not an acknowledgement that current welfare rates are inadequate" is unfortunate.

    If it was framed as a substitute for the private redundancy payments that no longer exist for most workers, and the start of necessary welfare reforms, it would be acceptable.

    In one way I think it is a good thing. Because whether Robertson admits it or not, it does show that the "Doublespeak" jobseekers benefit, is grossly inadequate to keep people out of poverty traps.

    The people who were out of work before Covid, are going to have an even harder time finding jobs, so are likely to be even more disadvantaged than before.

    I hope it turns out to have been a well intentioned, misstep, from the Government that has done so well overall. Rather than an indication of a continuation of an underlaying "deserving and undeserving poor" attitude.

    • weka 6.1

      so many ways that Labour could have rolled out exactly the same policy but presented it differently in a way that didn't shit on beneficiaries. But they didn't, instead they just rode over the top of them and then added insult to injury with the denial.

      Labour have done good things. They've done very well with the acute covid response. No more benefit of the doubt for me on welfare, they will have to re-earn that trust. Roberston pointing to a permanent two tier welfare system yesterday was the end for me. I think they are heading for entrenching neoliberalism even further because they just don't know how to do it differently and probably don't want to. Which is why getting the portfolio out of Sepuloni's hands and with the Greens is the only way I can see things changing. Labour will continue with the dribs and drabs, tinkering polices for welfare and front foot their job creation work. It's all about the jobs (hence no policy for people who can't work or who do unpaid work).

      • OnceWasTim 6.1.1

        " ………… because they just don't know how to do it differently ………. "

        Well some of them do, and I suspect JA would like to – even though she's never been alive long enough to have experienced anything other than neo-liberalism during her adult life.

        They've got one helluva lot of shit to push uphill, but really – they should have realised that from word go 2016/17, and they should have been prepared. But you know ….. cudda shudda wudda and we are where we are – with one or two standouts and a fair bit of dross that I'd happily kick up the arse given the chance. (Except most of them will probably be sipping Chardonnay in Martinborough at the next post-election getaway/shindig and pontficating over ……… best not go there!!!!)

        I mean if Max Weber were alive today, he'd probably have got a gig running Bauer Media whilst preaching the virtues of the Protestant work ethic, all the while professing a caring/sharing attitude to various minorities and finding reasons for making people redundant and discriminating against others (mainly brown or black people)

        We are where we are and if EVER there was a time to fix a few things, it's now

        • weka 6.1.1.1

          I tend to agree. Labour are Labour, lots of good people in there, and under different conditions I think they'd be a different party. But I think it's also true that there is still a hard core of dedicated neolibs and the only thing I can see that will change that is a L/G govt with the Green MP numbers back to what they were. That's on voters. I'm really open to a different plan, I just don't see it myself personally.

    • Sacha 6.2

      I can picture Robertson deliberately pitching a message to the right to shore up against Nats who have consistently demonised beneficiaries.

      Sepuloni is more of a worry if that's the best practical compassion her party can manage. Do we know what her own religious beliefs say about work and welfare?

    • miravox 6.3

      Yes, Robertson's comment was ill-thought

      I also agree that the the payments should have been framed picking up the employers' responsibility for redundancy. I think we need to change our labour laws and employee rights so these types of payments are no longer required and that people can keep their jobs.

      I don't thing this should be seen as a two-tier welfare system, otoh I do think it's important to know Grant Robertson's and Carmel Sepuloni's thoughts on that sort of set up.

      I do think the government should be pressured to present a roadmap, let us know the work they've done on this, give a timeframe for change. If they have been working on it as they say, there should be something they can release to show what they're planning.

      I do think the position of beneficiaries is urgent, they should not have had to wait this long for change. I understand their frustration.

      I don't think advocates should be using this to have a go at the people who will be getting this payment. Some of the recipients will end up being long-term beneficiaries and I hope this transition is made easier by this extra funding, but eventually they'll be in the same boat. And no, they're not all middle-class as some have suggested.

      Solidarity is crucial to get real change.

      • KJT 6.3.1

        I don't see anyone grudging the extra payments.

        Just saying that they should be extended to all unemployed. . Who, normally get 13 weeks standown, after they've used up any holiday, redundancy or leave pays. Almost the opposite.

        (Even 12 weeks at a higher rate would help anyone who is newly unemployed).

        Not sure that making employers responsible for statutory redundancy works. Pretty hard to get out of a bankrupt company.

        If WINZ has to apologise,and pay people, who they've refused benefits until redundancy is used up, I suspect it will go back decades.

        • miravox 6.3.1.1

          "I don't see anyone grudging the extra payments."

          You and I must move/read in different circles. This is one of the notions that has left me gobsmacked. I'm not sure where we are as a society when read people saying that the middle class should have to go on basic benefits so they can see what it's like.

          But yes, totally agree they should be exended to all newly unemployed. I think that is a different issue to comparing this payment to the income of long-term beneficiaries. That's a whole other crucially important problem that needs to be resolved. We need to know where the government is with this.

          "Not sure that making employers responsible for statutory redundancy works. "

          This could be included in some form of social insurance? A bit like ACC is? Surely if Grant Robertson is working along a social insurance line for unemployment benefits he'll be looking at this.

          "If WINZ has to apologise,and pay people, who they've refused benefits until redundancy is used up, I suspect it will go back decades."

          Ain't that the truth!

          • KJT 6.3.1.1.1

            It is more a hope, as I think I've expressed myself, that as more people experienced being on welfare, they would be more empathetic.

            Some of it is kick back against the callous and unthinking statements that are commonly directed at "Benes". That anger is justified.

  7. roy cartland 7

    The Greens having enough of the party vote…

    ↑↑↑ This.

    That's why I think the tactic of constantly bagging them and repeating the smear lines (as on some other blogs) doesn't actually help matters. They can't enact their policies OR get proper media coverage without teh votes, and dissing them doesn't encourage votes imo.

  8. We have an election to win in the midst of a crisis. That is a priority. We get Nat/Act in and we have even more woes.

  9. Andrew Miller 9

    The great Amartya Sen was once asked a question that made some comment about ‘neoliberalism’, he replied that the only thing he understood by the term was that the person using it didn’t like the thing they were describing.

    The more I hear it used, the more I realise he was right.

    Max Rashbrooke‘s take was at least insightful and went beyond merely preaching to the choir.

    • left_forward 9.1

      Really?

      You don't think there is any value in trying to encapsulate what is / was an international economic and political movement to reduce the size of state, reduce welfare, reduce taxes for the very rich, and increase corporatism and globalism at the detriment to everyone but a small massively wealthy minority?

    • KJT 9.2

      Wrong.
      Neo-liberalism is a school of economic though that has influenced much of the detrimental changes, in Western societies over the last several decades. Exemplified by “Economists” like Von Mises and Freidman and imposed by politicians including, Thatcher, Reagan, Pinochet and in New Zealand, Douglas!

      http://notquitesteinbeck.blogspot.com/2010/08/wtf-is-neoliberalism.html

      "Neoliberalism is the theory that an economy and state have the ability to function the most effectively when there are no market barriers in place. There are five main points in the theory of neoliberalism. The first is establishing a market that is completely free of regulation. The second is the eradication of public spending for social services. The third is the deregulation of any government intervention that imposes upon the gain of profit. The fourth is the privatization of all government run services. The fifth is eliminating the idea of the “public good”.

      In the eighties, a new economic theory emerged called neoliberalism (sometimes called neoconservatism or reaganomics or teabagger craziness). Anyway, this new policy basically said lets make the only role that the government has on the economy is make sure that no one tries to regulate any kind of trade. Some examples of trade regulation are tariffs for imported goods, making it so companies can’t outsource, or having a country charge taxes to a corperation that wants to operate in their nation.

    • Nic the NZer 9.3

      Your comment might give the impression that Sen was ambivalent to neo-liberalism.

      If fact he was a strident critic.

  10. MartinC 10

    Does Labour want to be in government come Christmas? As this stands I see no reason why. A two tier welfare system is a scintillating kick in the crutch to those at the bottom of this society.

  11. Macro 11

    Lest we forget.

    The govt has made a huge difference for the many homeless and rough sleepers. These were the people at the very bottom of society, and perhaps our most vulnerable. I know a few of them in our town, and I have to say they are now well housed and more happy than they have been for a long time. One guy has been sleeping rough for about a year now, since his release from prison. He has been very withdrawn, reluctant to seek help, and much preferred his independence, and we respected that. But it was always a concern that he had sufficient to eat, and was safe in his chosen spot. Now he is happy and enjoying life in a motel unit, which the govt provided with the funding announced in April. This funding will be there until April next year. With him is a one of ScoMo's deportees who arrived here from across the ditch with $40 in his pocket. When we came across him wandering down the main street of town he had not eaten in a week. He too is now safe. There is still a long way to go, but a great deal has been achieved. It is a shame that it took a crisis to ignite the response from Govt to start to address the real needs of the many rough sleepers, but at last there is now hope.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/415165/government-announces-100m-for-housing-homeless

    • weka 11.1

      Thanks Macro. It probably would be useful to draw up a list of what Labour and the Greens have done. And NZF.

      The problem is, this is what Labour does. They do good things. Clark did too. Then they do some fucking shitty things. I just can't see how they will shift out of the position of deciding to leave lots of people behind. They'll save those they can and the rest are collateral damage.

    • Macro 11.2

      Further to the above comment – here is an article I just found on the Guardian

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/27/new-zealand-sheltered-its-homeless-during-covid-19-but-can-it-last

      “People who have never been housed are now temporarily in housing,” said Chris Farrelly, the chief executive of Auckland City Mission, a social services charity in New Zealand’s largest city. “They’re saying to us, which they’ve never said before, ‘Please, can you keep me in this place?’”

      The government has expressed similar optimism that those who have been staying in motel units since New Zealand’s national shutdown began on 25 Match will not be forced back onto the streets. An extra $100m has been pledged to keep 1,200 motel rooms available for the homeless until next April and this month’s Budget included a promise to build 8,000 more social housing places.

      The year-long motel booking gave the government “the breathing room that we needed to bring on the transitional housing places that we’d announced” as part of an action plan on homelessness in February, Megan Woods, the housing minister, told the Guardian.

      She had been adamant that “something for everyone” would be found during the lockdown.

      “We all had a shared determination that we weren’t going to come out of lockdown and have people just put back onto the street again,” she said, adding that some of those housed had “really complex needs” and advocates had been trying to find them homes “for years” without success.

      • KJT 11.2.1

        A very good move by the government.

        And a cause for optimism that they may look again at welfare rates and housing.

  12. SPC 12

    The government has already increased mainline benefits by $25 a week – and doubled the power income supplement.

    The only thing wrong with the higher 12 week payment is that it is temporary – it should be made permanent. But I fear all those bleating about it being two tier may have killed off that prospect.

    The 12 week scheme includes partners – and this component should be extended at the standard dole rate for 6/12 months.

    We have for too long lacked a transition payment between work income and benefits – and this is a good place to start. A state Sickness Disability Insurance (those excluded from ACC) scheme would reduce a lot of future poverty (as would a disablilty benefit at the super rate).

    • KJT 12.1

      Why would highlighting the inequity, kill off further work?

      You think anything was obtained for the poorest, by silence?

      • SPC 12.1.1

        Well there is the editorial view in the Dom that the inequity is tolerable because it is not permanent …

        So all the complaining is having an impact – and so it less likely that future laid off workers will get this support and instead they will go straight onto the low permanent rate.

        • KJT 12.1.1.1

          I doubt it will have that effect.

          Not when so many are soon to get a first hand view of what it is really like, to depend on welfare.

  13. greywarshark 13

    Edit
    Welfare not farewell. I am sure that Greens will do all they can to do better and if they can stay on track and not get side-tracked onto other issues than helping the poor get to a better level of living and learning and working then they will be doing great. At present the Labour coalition concern seems to fall into the critical and cold charity that is as comforting as last week's cold porridge. Labour seems stuck in that up-themselves, we know best, trickle the crumbs down to you crummy lot viewpoint.

    If Greens can do the grassroots thing and encourage people to expand and assist them do it, expand their abilities, their education, plan and carry out goals, take small steps under their own agency, that would be really helpful. The madness of doing the same thing repetitively and knowing it is mostly unsuccessful doesn't matter to today's welfare management, because they don't intend it to be successful help. It is just to keep 'those people' off the streets, and 'contain' them to their side of the tracks. Very nasty attitude from the preachy superior who think their way is the only way to be and live. So a Green approach that helped people find their way and both receive and contribute to society would be a game change.

    And that would also be of benefit for the environment as people committed to society and vice versa can work together better. Indeed caring for the environment would create jobs which if the needs of the workers were assisted with decent accommodation and perhaps team work with small buses providing travel to the job and decent wages that would be a big step up. They would have to help themselves by limiting their resort to drugs and alcohol but that's easier when there is a better present and future to look forward to personally.

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