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National enters panic mode and goes tough on beneficiaries

Written By: - Date published: 8:38 am, September 8th, 2017 - 27 comments
Categories: bill english, crosby textor, democracy under attack, drugs, election 2017, national, Politics, same old national, spin, Steven Joyce, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

So Steven Joyce thought he was onto a winner.  Just like 2011 and 2014 he would jump up and say that Labour had stuffed up its costings and was not fit to lead and hey presto National would have a fourth term.

We have been here before.  As noted by Vern Small (h/t Idiot Savant) similar events happened during the last two elections.  From that radical left wing publication the Dominion Post Small noted the following:

July 2011: Steven Joyce attacks Labour’s fiscal plan, saying it would leave a huge hole over the next 15 years and add $18.4 billion to debt.

August 2014: Steven Joyce claims reckless Labour spending of almost $18b.

Let’s just say that even before this week National campaign manager and finance spokesman Steven Joyce has form.

By comparison with his attempts in 2011 and 2014 the “hole” he claimed to have found in Labour’s 2017 plan – $11.7b – was relatively small.

So same old, same old.  Accuse Labour of fluffing its economic analysis and wait for the press to fall behind and support National.

But this time it is different.  Labour presented as pristine a budget as you can imagine and had the perfect explanation for Joyce’s claims.   And Joyce’s release was lazy, typical of a third term Government, and full of holes.  And when the media was persuaded to investigate those holes they saw that Joyce was indeed talking through a hole in his arse.  Sorry for the language but I get upset when right wing parties try to influence our democratic choice by feeding us shit.

The media have seen through it.  And National is trying to change the nature of the debate into one concentrating on left over funds in 2020 and 2021.  They are clearly desperate.

So what does a right wing party do?  What they have done basically for ever and beat up on beneficiaries and criminals.  Preferably both at the same time to maximise the effect.

From Stuff:

National’s getting even tougher on beneficiaries – in particular, the young ones who have been on the unemployment benefit for six months.

If they refuse drug rehabilitation, training or work experience, their benefits will be chopped by half.

“They need to take some personal responsibility,” National leader Bill English said at the policy announcement.

Mr English wants new obligations and sanctions for the 16,000 young beneficiaries he claims are at risk of becoming welfare dependent.

“The longer you’re on, the longer you’ll stay,” Mr English said.

His plan works like this: If you’re under 25, don’t have a child, and have been on a job seeker’s benefit for more than six months, you’ll have to take up work experience or training that’s offered to you.

Or if you have a drug problem, you’ll have to get clean.

Otherwise benefit payments will be halved after four weeks, and eventually cut altogether.

Labour’s not impressed and advocates say it’s vote-grabbing beneficiary bashing.

This is so cruel. People with drink or drugs problems have complex needs. Aggressively cutting their benefit every time they relapse is a sure fire way to increase the crime rate.

The justification according to Anne Tolley is that

… one in five beneficiaries tell us that drug use is a barrier to them getting a job – so we are increasing the support we give them to kick drug use and get work ready.”

How reliable is this one in five figure?  As far as I can tell it is utter bunk.

And the evidence?  Well National has been spending large amounts of money drug testing beneficiaries and the failure rate has been less than 1%.

For instance in 2014 the failure rate was 0.27%.  From a post I wrote at the time:

The first batch of results are in and the figures are shocking.  Of 8,001 beneficiaries sent for testing only 22, yes 22, either failed the test or refused to take it.  This is a fail rate of 0.27%.  It appears that the state has paid in the vicinity of $1 million on testing beneficiaries who have given clean results.

Bennett with typical spin says that the result shows that the policy is working.  Not knowing what the figure was before and having done no analysis whatsoever has not stopped her from coming to such a conclusion.

The CTU and beneficiary advocacy groups are calling for the policy to be scrapped.

The scheme is a colossal waste of time and money.  Our taxpayer money is being burned so that Bennett can look like she is being tough on beneficiaries.

And in 2016 the figure was even worse, with only 55 beneficiaries sanctioned for failing a drug test out of 31,791 referrals.  It may be that as noted in the article some beneficiaries had turned to synthetics because they were not detectable but even if this is true it shows the futility of the policy.

Bernard Hicky asked Tolley’s office where the one in five figure came from and tweeted the response he received.

The policy is desperate and the justification lazy. Its time to get this lot out of Parliament before they cause even more damage.

27 comments on “National enters panic mode and goes tough on beneficiaries”

  1. Delia 1

    Terror tactics. I despise it.

  2. Pat 2

    gone and they know it

  3. If you’re under 25, don’t have a child, and have been on a job seeker’s benefit for more than six months, you’ll have to take up work experience or training that’s offered to you.

    But, uh, only if you don’t have a child, huh? Just when the teen pregnancy rate was falling nicely, too…

  4. UncookedSelachimorpha 4

    Beneficiaries are almost universally already in poverty and have zero disposable income. While the nats love the visceral pleasure of beating on these people, they need to explain in practical terms what the plan is for someone with zero disposable income losing half of their total income? What are they expecting to happen there?

  5. gsays 5

    Who the dickens do they think they will attract with this tosh?

    Soft or swing voters will not be attracted by this.

    They may take a few votes off act or maybe nz1st, but not enough to stop Bill’s slide.

    New leader time bill, that is taking responsibility.

    • ScottGN 5.1

      They’ve given up on the soft swing voters gsays.
      National are in a deeply defensive position now. Desperate to shore up their base and stop votes fleeing to the minor parties.
      They’re losing this campaign and their path to government is narrowing by the day. The public have stopped listening to them and it’s entirely possible the broad coalition across the political spectrum that kept Key in power is about to fracture and fly off in all directions.

      • gsays 5.1.1

        I spose you are right.
        I wish I had an interest in a popcorn business.

        I have stopped being graceful around Tories I know and have been giving it to them mercilessly.
        Needless to say it has been a quiet kitchen today.

        • ScottGN 5.1.1.1

          I’ve got a rusted-on Nat supporter at work too. He’s up to Bargaining on the 5 stages of grief!

  6. David Mac 6

    I think the dope consumption across our population would be pretty much the same between all of us, regardless of where our income is derived. If the stats are to be believed…. if I know 5 beneficiaries that smoke dope, I must know 2890 beneficiaries. This is of course absurd.

    The National concept that stopping an income will benefit you, me or them is horribly flawed. The chance of a quality life slips further away, crime will spike and we will push those we should be embracing further away.

    People attaining skills and making a positive contribution to our society is of course a good thing. We need to be led there, not pushed. Pushing doesn’t work, it’s a waste of money and effort.

  7. The gnats go to the bottom of their box and pull out their hate – every single time – and this is why this toxic scum must be kicked out – fuck them and their lies.

    • Liberal Realist 7.1

      The Nats don’t just need to be kicked out, they need to be held to account.

      I’m not talking about a witch hunt, but holding the nasty bastards to the same standard as the rest of us. The Nats have abused power and broken the law time and time again. Had any of us done half of what they’ve gotten away with we’d be locked up.

  8. David Mac 8

    I guess it’s a National ploy to win the “When I was a boy” vote off Winston. It irks me because it is so fundamentally wrong. Nobody ever achieved anything of note because someone else was forcing them. The joy of life is discovering our own path.

  9. Gowan Duff 9

    They attack Labour’s policies as they don’t have any of their own.

  10. tc 10

    Door : Knock knock
    Blinglish : Who’s there ?
    Door: the ghost of 2002
    Blinglish: I’ll be right out after a few more dog whistles

  11. Penny Bright 11

    SIX years ago – I was advocating for a review of ‘corporate welfare’.

    Nothing’s changed.

    https://www.google.co.nz/amp/s/m.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1111/S00095/wheres-nationals-corporate-welfare-reform.htm

    PRESS RELEASE: Independent Candidate for Epsom Penny Bright:

    “How many billion$ of public monies could be saved by ‘CUTTING OUT THE CONTRACTORS’?

    3 November 2011

    Where’s National’s ‘corporate welfare’ reform?

    Which of the maor political parties are pushing for ‘corporate welfare’ reform and shrinking the long-term dependency of the private sector on our public monies?

    Where is the ‘devilish detail’ at both local and central government level – which shows EXACTLY where our public rates and taxes are being spent on private sector consultants and contractors?
    ….”

    Penny Bright
    2017 Independent candidate for Tamaki.

  12. The only ones all this beneficiary bashing Tokyo Rose crap dished up by the National and ACT partys is appealing to these days is the Leighton Smith Newstalk ZB morons , – and even then , – they are now part of a dwindling minority.

    Let em rant and rave on. They know they are on the downhill slide and even those who voted Nats are leaving them.

    No one seriously believed all that anal retentive crap anyway. They only ever phoned up to feel part of the ‘ Im so tough I wear the same underpants for a month ‘ crowd. Meanwhile ZB gets all orgasmic because its good for ratings. Their ratings,… no one else’s. And even then they probably pissed themselves laughing at all the willing stooges.

    What a bunch of wackers.

  13. Sorry for the language but I get upset when right wing parties try to influence our democratic choice by feeding us shit.

    I get irritated when any party feeds us shit. I get even more so when the media don’t call them on it. This is how we end up with shit like this and the Party responsible still in power when they should actually be in jail.

    So what does a right wing party do? What they have done basically for ever and beat up on beneficiaries and criminals.

    But how much effort will they expend on the people who are actually doing us damage to the tune of several billion per year? You know, the rich.

  14. tracey 14

    Let us not forget that economists like English chose low i flation over full employment as a system mechanism. Havibg done this he then attacks the unemployed, who are needed to keep inflation down for being, well, unemployed.

    • Ed 14.1

      Yes they bash the beneficiaries they created.

      • tracey 14.1.1

        Not just created though Ed. They need them to ensure their low inflation cash grabbing by the wealthy

        • Nic the NZer 14.1.1.1

          Well put Tracy. The current target according to the PERFU is no lower than a 4.25% unemployment rate until 2021.

    • eco Maori/kiwi 14.2

      I agree with you tracey every action has a equal and opposite reaction and nationals
      actions have fucked up our country .
      And national are spinning lies to us to try cover there stuff ups

  15. Michael 15

    So where’s Labour’s condemnation of the Nats’ beneficiary-bashing then?

  16. Tanz 16

    Fake news, fake polls, in reality Nats miles ahead. English by far best debater, solid, experienced, full of true facts and figures., is not hesitant with answers. Would never go and ask the UN for a decision, not lightweight, is not shady on Tax. Seymour best on tonight’s debate. National helping people with a hand up, not out, good on them, roll on the big day!

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  • Govt increases assistance to drought-stricken Hawke’s Bay farmers
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  • Investment in New Zealand’s history
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  • Driving prompt payments to small businesses
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  • Rotorua tourist icon to be safeguarded
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  • $14.7m for jobs training and education
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  • Is it time to further recognise those who serve in our military?
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  • Paving the way for a fully qualified early learning workforce
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  • Sport Recovery Package announced
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  • Major boost in support for caregivers and children
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  • Great Walks recovery on track for summer
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  • Māori – Government partnership gives whānau a new housing deal
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  • Legal framework for COVID-19 Alert Level referred to select committee
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