So Paula Bennett wants to force people on the dole to reapply after a year. At best, it’s a waste of money by adding more bureaucracy. At worst, it will leave people who are already in poverty destitute for weeks.
You can lose your dole already if you don’t meet the conditions. In particular, if you don’t apply for jobs you can lose the benefit. So, what is canceling someone’s dole and forcing them to reapply going to add to that? Nothing. If you don’t meet the conditions for getting the dole, you shouldn’t be getting it already. If you do meet the conditions for getting the dole, then you should continue to get it even if you are forced to reapply after a year. Under Bennett’s policy, the change in people getting the dole should be zero. Which doesn’t seem worth forcing the ministry to process thousands more dole applications a year.
It’s not a cheap process, approving a dole application. It takes at least three face to face meetings to get on the dole. The cost per application to the taxpayer will be in the order of hundreds of dollars. And it will all be for nought.
The other problem is that it can take weeks to get on the dole. If your dole is automatically canceled after a year and they then have to reapply and go through the meetings and stuff, you could be left without an income for a month or more. There’s a nice little kick in the guts for a person who is genuinely entitled to the dole, a month of destitution.
Let’s not forget we’re talking about a tiny amount of people. 6654 people out of 60,000 on the dole have been getting it for more than a year. Rather than expending effort and public money in a redundant attempt to look tough by targeting a few thousand people who are already subject to checks to ensure they are entitled to get the dole, Bennett should be working on creating work opportunities for the quarter of a million Kiwis who don’t have work but desperately want it.
But, as we well know by now, Key’s ministers aren’t interested in delivering policies that really matter. All they’re interested in is parading around, talking tough. Meanwhile, hundreds more Kiwis join the ranks of the unemployed every week.